Fall Course Offerings

Fall classes will be published very soon. Make sure to sign up for our mailing list to stay in the loop.

Welcome to the Fall session of Belfast Senior College which begins Thursday, September 20. Classes run for six consecutive Thursdays, ending October 25. All classes are offered at the Hutchinson Center on Route 3 in Belfast. Please register early for the classes you would like to take to avoid disappointment and be sure to order your text(s) or materials at least two weeks in advance. You may register: 1) online; 2) by submitting a printed form by mail, or 3) in person at the Senior College Office. All messages will be forwarded to the registrar.

Annual membership is $25.00, Sept. 1 thru Aug. 31 (fee waived in summer). Six-week courses are $35.00; four-week courses are $30.00, and one- or two-day courses are $20.00. Please note that you are now responsible for purchasing the text(s) or materials, if required for your course.

Note: If in doubt about classes being held due to inclement weather, please call the Hutchinson Center main desk at 207-338-8099. There will be a recorded message shortly after 6:30 a.m.

You must be a member of a Maine Senior College to take a course. The membership year runs from Aug. 1 to July 31, so last year’s membership is expired and the membership fee is required. Take a look at all the classes, and after you’ve decided on the ones you are interested in, fill out our quick and easy registration form. No login necessary.

Morning Classes

Homer’s Iliad

Instructor: Juliet Baker and Deirdre Good

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class Limit 35
  • Materials Required

In the Iliad, Homer tells the epic story of Troy (Ilium). The poem explores the consequences of “force,” of rage, avarice, warfare, and love and their effects on individuals and nations. To many, the Iliad is the greatest anti-war poem ever written. With the Odyssey, the Iliad serves as a foundation of western culture, in particular, the epic story. In Mediterranean cultures today, the Iliad is as alive as it was to the Greeks 9,000 years ago. Homer’s characters, including the gods, are as fully human as we are. The turmoil around Troy is mirrored in our own time as a reflection of warfare and the ways avarice and rage provoke or even sanction force. In this six-week class, we will focus on the text, beginning with Book 18, “The Shield of Achilles.” From the entire text, we will review selected readings. We will encourage dramatic readings of dialogue among Greek, Trojan, and divine characters. We will look at artistic depictions and archeological discoveries from the time of the Greeks to our own time, and we will compare and examine various translations of the poem. By the end of the class you will be familiar with an ancient epic narrative and be able to recognize Homeric themes as they play out and resonate in modern culture.

Class limit 35

Required text:Homer’s The Iliad,” translated by Robert Fagels (Penguin Paper Back, 1990). Amazon- $17.00. Used copies described as “very good” are usually clean copies and much cheaper. ISBN978-0-14-027536-0

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Beginning Conversational French: Starting Over (Part III)

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class Limit 15
  • Class closed

This course is a continuation of beginning French conversation, but if you missed the first two courses, handouts are available, and it will be easy to catch up at this stage. It’s a very supportive class, and we go at a gentle, slow pace with lots of time for questions and laughter. We focus on basic sentence structure and vocabulary, and building your confidence so that you will want to continue speaking French.

No text is required, but should you like a reference text, “Essential French” is available at bookstores and Amazon for $16.99. ISBN No. 978-981-268-569-8.

Class limit 15

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Developing the Skills and Practices Leading to a Meditation Habit

Instructor: Judith Simpson

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class Limit 15
  • Materials Required

By learning about, experiencing, and practicing at least three secular forms of meditation as well as additional ways to rest the mind, you will become able to incorporate the practices into your life. Practicing daily for the duration of the course will provide the experience and background you need for them to become a personal habit.

There will be individual handouts at each meeting, punched to fit into a narrow three-hole notebook, which you will provide. While there is no reqired reading, you might find Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. helpful. Please bring a one-inch spiral notebook, a yoga mat, and a small cushion for sitting or lying down.

Class limit 15

Required materials: A one-inch spiral three-hole notebook, a yoga mat, and a small cushion for sitting or lying down.

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Intermediate/Advanced Drawing

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class Limit 14
  • Materials Required
  • Class closed

In this course, our focus will be expanding the basic drawing skills we have and experimenting further with various drawing media. Students will work independently on weekly drawing projects to hone their skills in specific areas of particular interest to them. Black and white drawing will be emphasized but you can work in color if you so choose. We’ll talk a bit about our work each week as this kind of dialogue always helps in the creative process. Homework assignments will also be given out.

Note: This course is designed for students who have a basic knowledge of drawing, either through taking prior classes or by having developed drawing proficiency on their own. It is NOT a beginning drawing class for those who have never tried drawing before.

Class limit 14

Required materials: $5.00 per student art materials fee will be collected the first day of class to be used for special art materials we will need for this class. Please bring your own sketchbook to class on the first day.

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Visual Thinking with a Camera (Part II)

Instructor: Jim Kosinski

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Digital camera & laptop required
  • Class Limit 12
  • Class closed

Developing your visual dialogue continues with a more in-depth approach to camera use along with post camera editing and creating a project. In this engaging workshop, you’ll become more comfortable in capturing meaningful photos, and photo software will be demystified (using the free getPaint.net program for the PC platform, or any program you may have that includes similar tools, and the features of curves, levels, saturation, layers, and history).

Class Limit: 12

Required materials: A digital camera and laptop

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Historic Mid-Term Elections in Recent American History

Instructor: Bob Rackmales

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

At a time of widespread speculation over whether 2018 will produce a “wave” election, potentially changing control of one or both chambers of Congress, it seems timely to review the outcomes of previous mid-term “wave” elections. These have occurred under both Democratic presidents (Roosevelt in 1938, Truman in 1946, Clinton in 1994, and Obama in 2010) and Republicans (Eisenhower in 1958, Bush in 2006). The impact in each case was profound and underscores that it is not only Presidential elections that affect the course of history. Each of the above elections will be examined to identify similarities and differences with each other and with the evolving 2018 election.

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A Course of Luminous Things: Incandescent Poetry

Instructor: Ellen Sander

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class Limit 16
  • Text Required

This course is open to those with little or no prior exposure to poetry as well as those who already enjoy a long-term relationship and want to savor the poems collectively. Continuing with Ellen Sander’s unanimously and vigorously praised Modern Poetry courses, we unravel approachable works of great immediacy, positioned in or emerging from the artistic explosion of Modernism. We’ll explore them through multimedia and, anecdotally, through audio, video, collaborative close reading and lively discourse. This course will begin in Fall and possibly continue in Winterim. “Language waits to be released in poetry…. Poetry enacts the possibilities and powers that lie dormant in the nature of language itself,” from Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder. Great poetry invites and rewards interpretation, discussion and interaction. The course takes its name from the textbook which is a lively anthology of international zesty, engaging, poetry. It is available from most online booksellers used from $5.78 to $12.09 at the time of this writing, May, 2018.

Class limit 16

Required text: A Book of Luminous Things, ed. Czeslaw Milosz, online booksellers used from $5.78 to $12.09.
ISBN-13: 978-0156005746
ISBN-10: 0156005743

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Present-Day Security Challenges: Thinking Outside a Much Bigger Box

Instructor: Dick Topping

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class cancelled by instructor

The international system has been undergoing a generational change for over a decade, and U.S. national security issues are far more numerous and complex today than when President Truman created the National Security Council (NSC) in 1947. Although the list of major geopolitical challenges remains much as it was 20 years ago, the potential threats to our well-being now go well beyond those traditionally on the NSC’s agenda. Among the “new” concerns meriting our attention are climate change, future pandemics, scientific-technological advances, and the like.

Each session will review the state of play regarding some traditional concerns – resurgent Russia, the rise of China, uncertainty on the Korean peninsula, unrest in the Muslim world, and divisions among our European allies, to name a few. Each session will also offer a free-wheeling discussion about whether potential natural disasters, devastating epidemics, etc., deserve as much attention as more traditional worries get from U.S. national security experts today. Job-one is, of course, to get our domestic house in order.

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Afternoon Classes

Senior College Chorale

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

From the highly successful “Gospel Sing and Shout” course this past Winterim, sprang the notion of on ongoing Senior College Chorale. This course is open to anyone who loves to sing! Knowing that some participants are comfortable reading music, and others are not, most of the class time will be filled with singing gospel, rock ‘n roll, and folksongs, but basic rhythm and interval relations will also be taught. All music will be provided so come join the fun and make your voice heard!

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It’s Greek to Me: An Overview of Greek Mythology

Instructor: Nancy Perkins

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class Limit 30
  • Reading Optional
  • Class closed

It’s Greek to Me will present an overview of Greek Mythology and the stories explaining the creation of the world and the lives of the gods, goddesses, heroes and heroines. Beginning with the birth of the world from chaos, Greek myths include passionate love stories, adventure stories, superhuman tales, fairy tales, magical stories, tales of gods and monsters, beasts, and stories of witchcraft and sorcery. We will explore these fascinating myths and legends that have inspired the artists, writers, and composers from the Renaissance through the present day of Western culture.

Class limit 30

Optional reading but well worth the cost: Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. Available on Amazon for $8.00.

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Native American Culture and Literature

Instructor: Wendy Kasten

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class Limit 25
  • Materials Required

In this course, participants will read three of six possible books by the top, award-winning, contemporary Native American authors Sherman Alexie, N. Scott Momaday, and Louise Erdrich. Sessions will consist of discussion
groups on the books, presentations on Native American issues and cultures in general, learning about Maine Wabanaki cultures and history, with a possibility of a guest speaker from an indigenous nation.

Class limit 25

Required texts: Students obtain books on their own from local or online booksellers in print or Kindle editions. Each participant should choose three books (any edition) by each of these three authors:

1) Sherman Alexie: The Absolute True Story of a Part-time Indian, ISBN 978031, $9.99-$12.00 OR You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir, (non-fiction), ISBN 031627075x, $6.29-$9.83
2) Louise Erdrich: The Birchbark House, (historical fiction), ISBN 00786814543, $7.00 OR The Round House, (contemporary fiction), ISBN 978-0-06-206525, $13.00
3) N. Scott Momaday: House Made of Dawn, ISBN 13978-0061859977, $8.00 OR A Man Made of Words, (non-fiction), ISBN 0-312-18742-4, $14.00

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Watercolor Workshop: The Colors of Your Life

Instructor: Nancy Blatz

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class Limit 14
  • Materials Required
  • Class closed

Everyone has certain colors that speak to them. This will be an individualized workshop that explores different color combinations. Some colors make us happy, some make us sad. Everyone is different. All levels welcomed.

Required materials: You will need 140 lb cold press paper, tube paint, brushes, palette, water container, and paper towels. Please let me know if you need me to supply any of these items. All supplies will be available for purchase the first week or bring your own. Estimated costs are: Brush $10; paper $5; $6, and palette $8. If you have a ceramic plate, you can use that for a palette.

Class limit 14.

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The Beatles

Instructor: Neal Harkness

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

More than 50 years after the beginning of the phenomenon of Beatlemania, the Beatles may still be the most popular musical group in the world. In the span of less than a decade, four young men from England revolutionized not just Popular Music, but made a tremendous impact on film, fashion, politics and cultural mores.

In this course, we will examine the lives and career of the Beatles, from their humble Liverpool origins through their rise to unprecedented critical and commercial success. We will look at their influences in early rock and roll and how they transformed the genre into a respected art form. Through music and video we will follow their musical journey and their personal growth as unique individuals who changed the world through their music.

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Everything You Want to Know About Wills, Trusts, and Probate

Instructor: Randy Mailloux

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Everyone likes to think that their affairs are in order, but how sure are you that you have charted a sensible plan? In this eminently practical course on estate planning, we will look at the history of the general probate process, including protecting persons (guardianships and conservatorships), will, and trusts.

We will also explore a variety of strategies for making sure your wishes are carried out without burdening your survivors. We will open with a review of the probate process, and then move into an explanation of just what wills and trusts are, what they can accomplish, and how they are disputed. We will explore specific types of trusts, their purpose and possible uses, e.g. Medicaid planning, general estate disposition, and special needs. We will also consider the various ancillary documents essential to a proper estate plan, including advanced health-care directives, powers of attorney, and personal property disposition memoranda. Remember, it is not if…but when!

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After Capitalism

Instructor: Paul Kando

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class Limit 20
  • Class closed

A review of some of the societal factors exposed by the 2016 election confirms long standing suspicions that the 2009 “Great Recession” was indeed a systemic, rather than a financial crisis, which had been developing for some time. This course poses the questions: “How well does the current economic system serve the basic human needs of every member of society, and if it does not, what can we do?”

We will explore the many systemic problems and crises facing us and the latent opportunities for beneficial change many of these problems present. We seek, most of all, understanding of the factors that contributed to our finding ourselves in the predicament we are in. We explore belief systems, economics, science – both natural and behavioral – as well as history in our search for better answers. It is a disturbing lesson of history that when failing systems are exposed, in the absence of a clear idea of the new world we wish to live in, a demagogue inevitably fills the idea-vacuum, promising salvation, based on fixing the blame on “the other.” In the end, nature itself seems the most promising model based on which a new and better economic system (and world order) may be built. Class limit 20

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Telling Your Family Stories

Instructor: Jane McLean

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class Limit 15
  • Materials Required

We all have family stories that deserve to be told. But where do we start? Who do we tell them to? And how do we get our stories out there? Creating a family story can be as simple as writing a few notes on an index card for the next family reunion, or as high-tech as setting up a website for collections of photos, genealogy records, and articles. In each class, we will practice techniques for telling or writing short family stories and shon our work. We will explore platforms for passing on our stories to family members or the community via oral histories, print publications, memory books, and online journals (blogs) or websites. We will have opportunities for guided research and writing through optional assignments. We may submit three projects in a variety of media for personalized written feedback from the instructor. The instructor will provide an extensive handout at each class, display relevant books and artifacts, and give specific written comments for three projects submitted by each student. Class limit 15

Required materials: Handouts provided by instructor. Students may want a 3-ring binder to hold and organize handouts. Students should bring writing materials—pen-pencil and paper or laptop.

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One-Day Classes

“In jest, there is truth.” –Shakespeare’s King Lear

Instructor: Nick Turner

  • Tuesday, September 25, 2018
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Text Required
  • Bring a bag lunch

“The weight of this sad time we must obey,
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.”

–Shakespeare’s King Lear

King Lear in a day. Students will read, discuss and enjoy King Lear, and be encouraged to attend the NT Live broadcast at our theaters (including The Grand) starring Ian McKellen.

Required text: Any copy of Shakespeare’s King Lear

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Figure Drawing

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Thursday, November 1, 2018
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Class limit 15
  • Materials Required
  • Bring a bag lunch

In this class, you will have the opportunity to draw all day, working with a nude male model. If you’ve never done any figure drawing before, then here’s your chance to give it a try.

Required materials: A minimum of 10 students is needed for this class to only pay a $10.00 modeling fee per student, payable to the instructor. If fewer than 10 students sign up, the class will still run, but the modeling fee will be increased. Class limit 15

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