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Course Listing

OLLI Steel Drum Band – ADVANCED
If you have a long history of musical experience or have participated in the Beginning OLLI Steel Band for several sessions, this class is for you. A level up from the Beginning OLLI Steel Band, this class moves at a fast pace and focuses on learning the different styles of music that can be played on pan. Latin, jazz, calypso, reggae, rock, and even show tunes are all offered in this class. There is a strong emphasis on proper technique and learning the subtle nuances behind playing the steel pan. The class is highly music oriented and the participants will learn several songs each session, working towards a final recording that you can share with family and friends. Students will be placed according to their preference and the availability of the desired instrument. The Beginning OLLI Steel Band class is a required prerequisite unless instructor permission is granted through a short audition.

Instructor:  Alli Puglisi, Director, OLLI Advanced Steel Drum Band
Dates: Sundays, March 24, 31; April 7, 14, 21, 28
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, 2400 Blakemore Avenue
Fee: $100

OLLI Steel Drum Band – BEGINNER
Take a weekly musical “Cruise to the Islands” by joining the OLLI Steel Drum Band. No musical experience is needed to join this very hands-on class. If you enjoy island music like Harry Belafonte, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, calypso and reggae, this class is for you! The amazing history and construction of the steel drums will be presented through mini-lectures sprinkled throughout the classes. Listening and video examples of calypso music as well as discussions of Trinidad culture past and present will give you a taste of the Caribbean and an understanding of how the steel band art form developed. The instruments are made up of melody, upper harmony, lower harmony, and bass steel drums (much like a choir). Students will be placed according to their desire to learn a particular instrument and their individual strengths.

Instructor: Mat Britain, Director, OLLI Beginner Steel Drum Band
Dates: Sundays, March 24, 31; April 7, 14, 21, 28
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Location: Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, 2400 Blakemore Avenue
Fee: $100

The Medieval Spains: Fifth Century to 1492
This course explores the complicated and compelling history of Medieval Spain, from shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire until 1492, when Ferdinand and Isabella reunified Spain by conquering the Kingdom of Granda, the last surviving Muslim polity on the peninsula. As one scholar has put it, Medieval Spain was a “society organized for war,” where armed conflict was a constant fact of life. And yet, the high culture that developed from this maelstrom of violence, a culture that blended Islamic, Christian and Jewish elements, helped pull Europe out of the Middle Ages and into the Early Modern period.

Instructor: Howard Miller, Associate Professor & Chair, Department of History; Politics and Philosophy, Lipscomb University
Dates: Mondays, March 25; April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Location: St. George’s Episcopal Church, 4715 Harding Pike
Fee: $60

Religion in Prison
Religious lawsuits in prison have jumped drastically in the last twenty years. In this course, we will discuss some of these lawsuits (both frivolous and non-frivolous) and we will explore inmate religious rights and practices. The course will be co-taught by an attorney who is the retired Director of Religious and Volunteer Services for the Tennessee Department of Correction and by a former inmate at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution who is now a doctoral candidate in religion at Lipscomb University. After reviewing the historical, constitutional and legal bases for inmates’ religious rights, we will look at religious practices in prison; how inmates, administrators and volunteers view and use religion; and how religion can help inmates heal and hinder their healing. We will conclude with a discussion of what the future likely holds.

Instructors: Dr. Ronald G. Turner, J.D., PH.D, Retired Director of Religious and Volunteer Services at the Tennessee Department of Correction and David W. Phipps, Jr., D.Min., Re-Entry Supervisor, Tennessee Prison Outreach Ministry 
Dates: Tuesdays, March 26; April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Location: The Temple, 5015 Harding Road
Fee: $60

A Voracious Appetite for Words - Memorable Food Moments in Spanish Language Literature
“For those that love words and those that love food, the combination is heaven”, to quote Elizabeth Knauss. How are food and drink used beyond being a seasonal food guide in The Book of Good Love? What did Don Quijote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza eat before embarking on their adventures? How does the homeless street urchin Lazarillo de Tormes use his wit and street savvy to obtain food for his survival? In what ways does Tita use food as a magical spell in Laura Esquivel’s novel Like Water for Chocolate? How are common, every day food items found in our kitchens elevated into poetic expression for Chilean Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda? Throughout literary history, writers of all cultures use the metaphor of “food and eating to symbolize cultural issues of acceptance, resistance, and preservation of culture, as well as symbols of memory, emotions, narrative history, relationships, power, and consumption” (Burcham-Whitt). In our class, we will discuss the literal and figurative presence, use and meaning of food as we answer those questions by exploring selected works in English translation from Medieval and Golden Age Spanish literature as well as modern Latin American literature. So, what books are you ready to devour next?

Instructor: Cynthia Wasick, Senior Lecturer, Department of Spanish & Portuguese at Vanderbilt University
Dates: Tuesdays, March 26; April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Location: The Temple, 5015 Harding Road
Fee: $60

Great Decisions, Foreign Policy Discussion
Great Decisions is America’s largest discussion program on world affairs. The program model involves reading the Great Decisions Briefing Book and meeting in a discussion group to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today. The eight topics chosen by a panel of experts are: Refugees and Global Migration; The Middle East – Regional Disorder; Nuclear negotiations – Back to the Future?; The Rise of Populism in Europe; Decoding U.S.-China Trade; Cyber Conflicts and Geopolitics; The United States and Mexico – Partnership Tested; State of the State Department and Diplomacy.

Instructor: Keith Simmons, Attorney and OLLI Member
Dates: Tuesdays, March 26; April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14
Time: 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: First Amendment Center, 1207 18th Avenue South
Fee: $80

Visions of Amazonia
For nearly 500 years observers have been captivated, awed, and overwhelmed by the luxuriant environment of the Amazon River Valley. Covering more than two million square miles and reaching into nine South American nations, Amazonia encompasses the largest river system and rainforest in the world. This course will examine how writers and filmmakers have reacted to and portrayed this exceptional region. In particular, we will focus on the contrasting visions of the Amazon as a tropical paradise and a green hell. We will learn about the history of the region through fiction, non-fiction, and film beginning with the accounts of the first Europeans to navigate the length of the Amazon in the sixteenth century.

Instructor: Marshall Eakin, Distinguished Professor of History, and Interim Chair of the History Department at Vanderbilt University
Dates: Wednesdays, March 27; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1
Time: 11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: The Commons Center, Vanderbilt University, 1231 18th Avenue South
Fee: $60

Contemporary Christianities in the American South
Outside of a few spots, no nonChristian group forms more than six-tenths of one percent of a state’s population in what James HudnutBeumler calls the Now South. In this course based on his 2018 book, Strangers and Friends at the Welcome Table (University of North Carolina Press), he presents the unexpected blossoming diversity in theology, practice, and outlook among southern Christians. He finds, alongside traditional Baptists, black and white, growing numbers of Christians exemplifying changes that no one could have predicted even just forty years ago, from congregations of LGBT-supportive evangelicals and Spanish-language church services to a Christian homeschooling movement so robust in some places that it may rival public education in terms of acceptance. Alongside these developments will be discussed the sharp struggles and political divisions among those trying to reconcile such Christian values as morality and forgiveness—the aftermath of the mass shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church in 2015 forming just one example. Finally, attention is given to the dominant, sometimes dominating presence of the South’s Christians to their neighbors of other faith traditions.

Jim Hudnut-Beumler, Anne Potter Wilson Distinguished Professor of American Religious History, Vanderbilt University
Dates: Thursdays, March 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25; May 2
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Location: Lentz Public Health Center, 2500 Charlotte Avenue
Fee: $60

Deep River: Mysticism and Ethics in the Preaching of Howard Thurman
Life magazine hailed the eminent Black mystic Howard Thurman one of the great preachers of the twentieth-century. An anomaly in Christian thought and practice, his mysticism and notions of the ethical began to bud when he was very young. In these six weeks we will discover Thurman's definition and practice of mysticism and ethics in preaching and the American and international interlocutors that helped to shape his understanding. As a part of the seminar, we will listen and discuss a few of his sermons.

Instructor: Amy Steele, Assistant Dean for Student Life, Vanderbilt University
Dates: Thursdays, March 28; Ap ril 4, 11, 18, 25; May 2
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
LocationLentz Public Health Center, 2500 Charlotte Avenue
Fee: $60

OLLI at the Opera
For the very first time, Nashville Opera will be staging Offenbach’s TALES OF HOFFMANN as part of the 2018/2019 season. Walking the fine line between dreams and reality, this fantastical thrill-ride of an opera takes the audience along on a poet’s exhaustive search for true love and the perfect woman. Loosely based on the life and loves of poet E.T.A. Hoffmann (whose original story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” became the inspiration for the famous ballet), Offenbach’s vignettes glitter with sensuality, emotion and the glorious agony of the creative process. An imaginative art deco set and famous tunes you already know make this the perfect opera. This spring’s OLLI at the Opera will include one exceptional session in two parts. First, Artistic Director John Hoomes will discuss the history and composition which perfectly displays the lush and glorious style of French Grand Opera. The second part will focus on the creation of the stage production, showcasing John Hoomes’ masterful staging of the principles and ensemble for the opera. Hoomes will discuss the dramatic requirements for the cast, and how the vocal lines, orchestration, and singers all come together to tell the story of TALES OF HOFFMANN. After a 30-mintue discussion, watch as Hoomes stages our opera stars and the Nashville Opera Ensemble with conductor William Boggs, and chorusmaster/ accompanist Amy Tate Williams. This will be a true behind-thescenes look to observe the process of creating an opera from a front row seat. OLLI members are then invited to observe Act 1 in the rehearsal space at the Noah Liff Opera Center.

 John Hoomes, CEO & Artistic Director, Nashville Opera 
Dates: Thursday, March 28
Time: 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. - 8:15 p.m. 
Location: Noah Liff Opera Center, 3622 Redmon Street
Fee: $30

Religious Questions in William Faulkner's Novel Light in August
In his seventh novel published in 1932, Nobel laureate William Faulkner examines the racial injustices and the violent theology that emerge from the religious landscape of Yoknapatawpha County, the mythical setting for his canon. By reading the twenty-one chapters of the novel in conjunction with the twenty-one chapters of The Gospel According to Saint John, we shall explore how Faulkner relocates the linguistic domain of Scripture within the life of Joe Christmas, the novel’s protagonist.

Instructor:  Victor Judge, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Lecturer, Divinity School, Vanderbilt University
Dates: Fridays, March 29; April 5, 12, 26; May 3 
Location: West End United Methodist Church, 2200 West End Avenue
Fee: $50

Pirates of the Atlantic World
Most of us have seen a Pirates of the Caribbean film, but often the historical context is thin on the ground- or should we say in the seas? Join Atlantic World historian Dr. Angela Sutton as we investigate these fascinating characters of history. Using primary source documents from both pirates and those who survived them, as well as those who tried to exterminate them, we will examine the origins of 17th and 18th century Caribbean piracy. This class will explore the Atlantic system to understand why piracy was such an integral part of it. We will then move on to an in-depth look at the pirates: who were they, and what did they stand for? How true are the legends we have all heard? From there we will venture into pirate weapons, tactics, and maritime technology as we sail into what historians refer to as the Golden Age of Piracy, culminating with the historical events that presaged the beginning of their brutal end.

Instructor:  Angela Sutton, Postdoctoral Fellow, College of Arts & Sciences at Vanderbilt University
Dates: Fridays, April 5, 12, 26; May 3, 10
Time:  9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Location: West End United Methodist Church, 2200 West End Avenue
Fee: $50

OLLI at the Nashville Jazz Workshop
This jazz-themed group event provides world class jazz performance with music education over lunch. Packed with snappy musical entertainment in the upbeat atmosphere of “The Jazz Cave,” guests will dine as syncopated rhythms and stories bring jazz legends, and the era they lived in – back to life. The hour and a half JAZZ Lunch will focus on the Great American Songbook composer, Cole Porter. Some of Cole's most famous tunes were recorded by countless jazz artists such as “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, “Love for Sale”, “So in Love” and “Just One of Those Things” just to name a few.

Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Time:  1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Location: Nashville Jazz Workshop, 1319 Adams Street
Fee: $35

OLLI at Nashville Rep
The Ingram New Works Festival is a ten-day festival of readings of brand new plays, and part of the Ingram New Works Project which also includes a Lab and a Fellowship. The Rep’s nationally recognized Ingram Lab produces four plays by four playwrights selected from a competitive nationwide application process, and the Ingram Fellowship supports the writing of a new play by a nationally known playwright. All plays get two readings by professional actors during the Festival and each reading is followed by a talkback with the playwrights. This year’s Ingram Fellow is the awardwinning Sarah Ruhl. OLLI members will be able to choose three plays you want to hear any time during the Festival. Prior to the start of the Festival, you’ll get a chance to hear all about the plays and the unique process that Nashville Rep utilizes to bring new American plays to life in a lecture/Q&A.

Rene Copeland, Artistic Director, Nashville Rep
Dates: May 8-18, 2019
Time:  7:00 p.m.
Location: TBA
Fee: $30