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PRESIDENT'S CORNER: April 21, 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Spring term: looks to be off to a good start. It is always great to see so many of you chatting, happily going to classes and learning new things. I’m kinda bummed out because I can’t take rabbi Joe’s class because of the Literary Group I lead at the same time, but that’s life, eh?

Met Opera in HD: If you somehow missed “Eugene Onegin” last time around, you can catch it tomorrow at 1 at the Regal Hollywood cinema. It features Anna Netrebko and Peter Mattei in the title role.  It is a gorgeous production. And coming up on May 13 at 12:30 PM, is “Der Rosenkavalier” with Rene Fleming in, perhaps, her very last appearance in a staged opera. A New York Times piece a week ago suggested that she may be giving up the stage to do recitals and work with Lyric Opera, et al. Her co-star is Elina Garanca, who made such an impression as Carmen some years ago.

Old age is like climbing a mountain. You climb from ledge to ledge. The higher you get, the more tired and breathless you become, but your views become more extensive. [Actress Ingrid Bergman]

The Fee Structure Debate: OK, I hear that some of you are not at all happy with the fee change and that’s how a democracy works. If I could share my take on this, here it is: It has been really difficult to reach our required 500 minimum members. In the very large OLLIs, a low membership fee seems to guarantee that many more people will join, some just to give support and take no classes.  The other harsh reality is that we MUST have added revenue to survive. Trust me, among all OLLIs, we are a bargain, even with the change. For most of our members, having the flexibility to pay either in one lump sum or over 4 quarters may be helpful on the budget. The Executive committee will be considering an idea to place before the Board that would not require all those who go to our interest groups to pay all four terms…stay tuned.

Follow your bliss! Social pressure is the enemy! I’ve seen it happen. How in heaven’s name are you going to find your own track if you are always doing what society tells you to do? I also spent a year teaching in a busy prep school, and that was a crowd that was trying to make up their minds, you know? I’ve seen them since, and those who followed their zeal, their bliss, they have led decent, wonderful lives; those that did what Dad said they should do because it’s safe found out it’s not safe. It’s disaster. [Scholar Joseph Campbell]

Happy Spring!

Jim Held, President