We are so pleased to be offering a series of new classes for ESI College Online’s September-October 2021 term, serving those age 60 and older. Registration is open; classes begin September 21.

Course Listings

(click on the course titles for details)

Robert Wyatt: Johnny Mercer: That Black Magic! Tuesday, September 21, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Elise Blair: Aging Gracefully Group: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant. Wednesdays, September 22, 29 & October 6, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $30

John Berninghausen: Decline and Resurgence in Modern China: Major Turning Points. Thursdays, September 23, 30, October 7, 14, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $40

Frankie Dunleavy: Book Discussion: Looking for Trouble. Tuesdays, September 28 & October 5 & 12, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $50 [price includes cost of book]

Carol Harden: It Looks Different Now: Landscape Changes We Have Wrought. Wednesday, October 13, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $10

Jack Mayer: Before the Court of Heaven – Weimar Germany. Tuesday, October 19, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Ian Barrow: Book Group: Two Mysteries by Agatha Christie (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and N or M?). Wednesdays, October 20 & 27, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $20

Caleb Kenna: Vermont from Above: Drone Photography over the Green Mountain State. Thursday, October 21, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Robert Wyatt: Gilbert & Sullivan and the Savoy Tradition. Tuesday, October 26, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Jack Mayer: Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project – Rescuing Jewish Children in Warsaw during the Holocaust. Thursday, October 28, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Registration

Please Note

  • We use an online registration system named “Wufoo” that provides an easy-to-use form to select your classes.
  • Please sign up at least 48 hours in advance so we can be in touch with you about the class.
  • Some classes have limited enrollment; others have readings. 
  • Each person in your household must register separately. If you share the same email address, simply fill out a separate form for each person.
  • The registration system calculates the amount owed on a per person basis ($10 per session, per person).The total cost for your classes will be listed when you complete your registration. 
  • Some courses may require you to purchase books that will be available at the Vermont Book Shop at a discounted price.
  • After you submit your form, you will receive an automated email confirmation from “Elderly Services-ESI College <no-reply@wufoo.com>.”

Payment Options

  • You may pay by check. Please send it within a week of registration) to:
    Elderly Services-ESI College, P.O. Box 581, Middlebury, VT 05753 
  • Or, you may make a debit/credit card payment via PayPal, as you complete the online registration form. You do not need a PayPal account to use this feature.

Connecting Online

  • To participate you’ll need a computer, tablet, iPad, Chromebook, or smartphone with Zoom set up on it. A device with a webcam is preferable so that people can see you. 
  • We email you a Zoom link for each class in the morning of each day’s class.

Technical Support

  • We don’t want technology to be a barrier! We have technical support for every class session and assistance if needed for remote registration. 
  • Call us at 802.388.3983 or send an email to college@elderlyservices.org.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Dana Perzanoski
Geetha Wunnava
Jeff Rehbach
Anya Schwartz
Kristin Bolton


Course Listings, September & October 2021

Course: Johnny Mercer: That Old Black Magic!
Instructor: Robert Wyatt
Date: Tuesday, September 21
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Course Description: With a vivid childhood that nurtured him with the richness of spirituals, jazz and the blues, a deep southern tradition and a love of the outdoors, Johnny Mercer grew to become the best-loved songwriter in American history. Nominated for eighteen Academy Awards for best song and winning four times, Mercer was a sizzling triple threat—a composer, lyricist and a man with a sensational singing voice whose legacy includes not only his own music but that of the artists who recorded on his label, Capitol Records. Join us for Robert Wyatt’s spellbinding story of Mercer’s life and music.

Instructor: Robert Wyatt is a Steinway Artist who has performed throughout the United States and internationally, gathering critical acclaim for sensitive and colorful solo and chamber music recitals. He delights audiences with a rare blend of pianistic savvy and engaging storytelling that makes each performance a creative event.

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Course: Aging Gracefully Group: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Graphic Memoir by New Yorker Cartoonist Roz Chast About Her Parents’ Final Years
Instructor: Elise Blair
Dates: Wednesdays September 22, 29 & October 6
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $30

Course Description: An incredibly moving portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best as she can, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is as rife with laughs as it is with tears, and shows the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as a cartoonist and storyteller. Students will read the book prior to the course and prepare questions they would like the group to discuss and thoughts the book provoked. Copies of the book will be available through the Vermont Book Shop.

Instructor: Elise Blair trained and worked in the Netherlands as an industrial social worker. She became a psychoanalyst in Washington, D.C., and had a private practice for 30 years. She played a large role in the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis as a teacher, board member and president. She is a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

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Course: Decline and Resurgence in Modern China: Major Turning Points
Instructor: John Berninghausen
Dates: Thursdays, September 23, 30, October 7 & 14
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $40

Course Description: Convinced of its own centrality and civilizational predominance for most of a 3,000 year history, in the 19th and 20th centuries China experienced relative decline and weakness. By around the year 2000, however, China had reemerged as a global power. Illustrated with photographs and other images, this course pinpoints some major turning points in past 200 years of China’s history including the Opium Wars, the Taiping Rebellion, the loss of Taiwan, the collapse of the Qing Dynasty, the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping’s economic reform and Xi Jinping’s latest vision for China’s future wealth and power. The course will suggest how these historical turning points continue to influence current Chinese thinking and its goals for the future.

Instructor: After earning his Ph.D. at Stanford, Professor Emeritus of Chinese John Berninghausen was recruited in 1976 to establish Middlebury College’s Department of Chinese Language and Literature. Along with teaching Chinese, for 35 years he offered popular seminars on Western and Chinese literature and a course on the history of Chinese painting. An avid reader, he and his wife built up a significant collection of modern Chinese paintings and are world travelers.

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Course: Book Discussion: Looking for Trouble
Instructor: Frankie Dunleavy
Dates: Tuesdays, September 28 & October 5 & 12
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $30 plus $20 for cost of book

Course Description: Born in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1910, Virginia Cowles began her journalism career writing society pieces for newspapers in Boston and New York before moving to London in 1936. With little experience, Virginia would go on to travel to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War as a war correspondent. She would later travel all over Europe, covering the days leading up to World War II. Join us in reading her 1941 autobiography, Looking for Trouble, in which she chronicles her time serving as a war correspondent between 1937-41 in Spain, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Finland, Italy and France, the events which are shaping history, and her plea for the United States to join this battle for the survival of democracy. As this book is currently out of print, we have complete reprints available at Elderly Services for you to pick up.

Instructor: Frankie Dunleavy graduated from the University of London, where she majored in French and minored in English. In addition to those subjects, she has also taught Latin, Spanish and German in England, France, Germany and, most recently, Middlebury, Vt.

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Course: It Looks Different Now: Landscape Changes We Have Wrought
Instructor: Carol Harden
Date: Wednesday, October 13
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $10

Course Description: People alter landscapes deliberately, through activities such as construction, forestry, agriculture, and mining; we also alter landscapes unintentionally. Some unintended changes create new problems, as is the case when they cause more frequent flooding, change patterns of weather and climate, fragment habitats, reduce biodiversity, or erode sandy beaches. In this class we’ll discuss examples of landscape changes globally and locally, their causes and effects. Understanding the human causes of environmental change can help inform our visions and decisions for the future. 

Instructor: Carol Harden (B.A. Middlebury College; M.A., Ph.D. University of Colorado) is Professor Emerita of Geography at the University of Tennessee, where she taught courses in physical geography, water resources, climate change, and natural hazards. Former editor of Physical Geography, and chair of the Geographical Sciences Committee of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, she is co-editing the book Geomorphology of Human Disturbances, Climate Change, and Hazards and serves on Middlebury’s Conservation Commission. She will be teaching a class this fall at Middlebury College.

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Course: Before the Court of Heaven – Weimar Germany
Instructor: Jack Mayer
Date: Tuesday, October 19
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Course Description: This presentation explores the remarkable history of how Germany’s Weimar democracy became the Nazi dictatorship. Jack Mayer presents the historical information that became the backdrop to his new novel, which relates the true story of a young fascist assassin and his redemption, a cautionary tale of ordinary people becoming complicit in extraordinary crimes. Mayer supports this historical journey with photos from the period. Signed copies of the book will be available through the Vermont Book Shop

Instructor: Dr. Jack Mayer is a Vermont writer and pediatrician (retired 2021). After a career in primary care in Vermont and cancer research at Columbia University, he established Rainbow Pediatrics in Middlebury in 1991. He was a participant at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2003 and 2005 (fiction) and 2008 (poetry). Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project is his first non-fiction book. Before the Court of Heaven is historical fiction about the rise of Nazism, and has received 14 book awards and recognitions. Poems from the Wilderness, his first poetry collection, won the Proverse Prize 2019, an international literary competition.

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Course: Book Group: Two Mysteries by Agatha Christie (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and N or M?)
Instructor: Ian Barrow
Dates: Wednesdays, October 20 & 27 
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $20 

Course Description: When it comes to mystery, few can do better than Agatha Christie. Her books are filled with poisonings and stabbings, red herrings and double bluffs, memorable characters and quirky detectives. In this course we will discuss two of Christie’s most arresting and interesting novels. We will devote our first meeting to a discussion of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which is one of her early novels and features the famed Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. Our second meeting will introduce us to a dynamic husband-and-wife team who have been given orders to break up a dangerous German spy ring whose leaders are known only by their initials, N and M. Copies of the book will be available through the Vermont Book Shop

Instructor: Ian Barrow is a Professor of History at Middlebury College. He teaches a variety of courses at all levels on South Asia and on subjects as diverse as the East India Company, the 1940s, and, most recently, the novels of Agatha Christie.

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Course: Vermont from Above: Drone Photography over the Green Mountain State
Instructor: Caleb Kenna
Date: Thursday, October 21
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Time: $10

Course Description: Middlebury, Vermont photographer Caleb Kenna will show his drone photography from around Vermont and discuss using a drone to capture Vermont’s landscapes. Join us for a morning of beautiful images of our home captured from a new perspective.

Instructor: Caleb Kenna is a photographer and drone pilot based in Middlebury, Vt. His clients include The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Vermont Community Foundation and Vermont Land Trust. More of his work can be seen at www.calebkenna.com and on Instagram @calebkenna

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Course: Gilbert & Sullivan and the Savoy Tradition
Instructor: Robert Wyatt
Date: Tuesday, October 26
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Course Description: Lyricist and playwright William Schwenck Gilbert and composer Arthur Seymour Sullivan formed one of the greatest theatrical teams in history.  Beginning with the premiere of their first collaboration, Trial by Jury, in 1875, the stage was set for some of the most hilarious, melodious, and immortal operettas in the English language.

The program features musical recordings and film clips to introduce the theatrical duo and the cultural and societal trends that informed their work. Listen to excerpts from the great operettas they created—from HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance, to The Mikado and The Gondoliers, and others.  Wyatt ends with a close look at two of their most beloved works—HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance—and how they combined musical sophistication with scathing satire to achieve international success.

Instructor: Robert Wyatt is a Steinway Artist who has performed throughout the United States and internationally, gathering critical acclaim for sensitive and colorful solo and chamber music recitals. He delights audiences with a rare blend of pianistic savvy and engaging storytelling that makes each performance a creative event.

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Course: Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project – Rescuing Jewish Children in Warsaw during the Holocaust 
Instructor: Jack Mayer
Date: Thursday, October 28
Time: 10:30-11:45
Cost: $10

Course Description: Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project is the true story of a Polish Catholic social worker, Irena Sendler, who rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto, but whose heroism was forgotten and whose history was repressed under communism. Sixty years later, three Kansas teenagers, each carrying her own burden, “rescue the rescuer” and elevate Irena Sendler to an international hero, championing dignity, acceptance, and respect for all people. These Kansas teens helped crack open Polish/Jewish dialogue about the Holocaust and they have changed the world. Signed copies of the book will be available through the Vermont Book Shop

Instructor: Dr. Jack Mayer is a Vermont writer and pediatrician (retired 2021). After a career in primary care in Vermont and cancer research at Columbia University, he established Rainbow Pediatrics in Middlebury in 1991. He was a participant at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2003 and 2005 (fiction) and 2008 (poetry). Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project is his first non-fiction book. Before the Court of Heaven is historical fiction about the rise of Nazism, and has received 14 book awards and recognitions. Poems from the Wilderness, his first poetry collection, won the Proverse Prize 2019, an international literary competition.

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