April 24, 2018
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Senior College classes start March 11

Brian Swartz | BDN
Brian Swartz | BDN
Northport historian Bob Rackmales, a senior Foreign Service retiree and member of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, speaks with students while teaching a course titled “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the Civil War" at the Senior College of Waldo County. His class, and many others, were offered at the Hutchinson Center in January 2014. The Penobscot Valley Senior College will start its spring session on March 11.
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By Carol Higgins-Taylor, Special to the BDN

We’ve almost made it through another winter. It’s now time to think “spring,” get out of the house, and try something new. Taking a fun-filled, no-pressure class on an interesting topic might be just what you need to chase away the last of the winter doldrums.

Penobscot Valley Senior College is starting its spring session March 11 with opportunities for classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Affiliated with the UMaine Center on Aging and the Maine Senior College Network, PVSC is one of more than a dozen senior colleges scattered throughout the state.

There are no exams and no academic requirements — and no test at the end of the course. The only actual requirement is that you are 50 or older.

The annual membership fee is $25 per individual and $40 for two people with the same address. Membership affords many benefits, such as advanced notice of courses, invitations to free one-day programs, a free annual meeting luncheon with a guest speaker, and the ability to enroll in other senior colleges’ classes. PVSC courses are about $30 each.

Bargains like that are rare.

So just what will your $30 per course tuition get you? Here is a sampling of some of the options. Call for specific days and times:

• “Maine at Work for You” with Lola Bullion. Farms, forests, and fish make Maine tick. Find out more about these vital components of our state as presenters from various agencies talk about their work in promoting agriculture, conservation, good forestry practices, organic food, and aquaculture.

• “Theater and Stage Lighting” with Fred Otto. The class will focus on the goals, problems, equipment, and methods of lighting a stage and may include field trips. Fred Otto’s experience in theater lighting spans 59 years, and he has worked on more than 100 productions. Samples of this equipment will be shown in class. Always fun to peek behind the scenes.

• “Home Gardening” with Charles L. Boothby. The class will cover the basics of soils, soil amendments, times to plant, equipment, mulching, organic vs. conventional gardening, admissible organic pesticides, and trouble-shooting, with guest speakers at some of the classes.

• “Urban renewal in Bangor – Did it Work?” with Tom McCord. Jane Jacobs’ “Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961” challenged modernist planners’ war on old and mixed-use neighborhoods and their preference for high-rise buildings and vast open spaces. We will consider Jacobs’ book in a national context and look in detail at Bangor’s planning for housing, highways and retail renewal in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s.

Great class for those of us who grew up in Bangor.

• “The King of Instruments” with Kevin Birch. Bangor is home to one of America’s most celebrated pipe organs, E. & G. G. Hook’s magnificent Opus 288 built in 1860 for St. John’s Catholic Church on York Street and the featured instrument for this course.

Class will begin with a brief historical and technical overview of the pipe organ and continue with an exploration of organ works from the 16th century to modern times. The final class will be a field trip to historic organs in the area.

This is a brief sampling of the offerings from PVSC, but there are so many more of interest. For more information on senior college and the classes offered, log on eaaa.org or mainecenteronaging.org. To leave a message by phone, call 992-0118.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of community education at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free (800) 432-7812, or log on EAAA.org.

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