The Center for Life and Learning:
   Special-Topic Classes

Center for Life and Learning (CLL) special-topic classes bring in experts from the Chicago area to enrich our annual curriculum and provide a flexible avenue of participation. One need not be a CLL member to register. The special-topic classes cover a broad range of topics from politics to bridge to the humanities; come and check us out!

For information about our special-topic classes, contact Susan Quaintance at 312.981.3386.

Three-hundred Years of Great Piano Music
Great Decisions Discussion Group
Beginner T’ai Chi Chuan
A History of British Music
“Caring for the Caregiver” Seminar

Beginning in March
Asian Religions

Washington, Hamilton, and Franklin
“A Little More Aware”: A Short Course on Short Stories

Beginning in April
Instruments of the Orchestra, Chamber Ensemble, Opera, and Bands
History of the Broadway Musical, Part 1 (1866–1960)
Without: Grief and Literature

Legendary Heroines in the Arts
Listening with the Heart, Seeing by Making Art

Beginning in May
Dance for All: The Parkinson’s Project

The History of Modern Dance
Explorations with Jane Hunt

Chair Yoga



Three-hundred Years of Great Piano Music

   Mondays, January 30–March 20
   11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 
   Led by Stephen Kleiman

   Register online here

The development of the piano is important not only as the instrument with the greatest and most numerous repertoire, but also for how its development follows and reflects society’s evolution. From the sixteenth-century clavichord to the twentieth-century piano, as society changed its expressions, mores, and social structure, the piano and its composers followed suit. 

In this course we will discuss and listen to piano and keyboard music, the major common denominators that link the musical development throughout the western world over the past 300 years.

The script in this class is piano pieces by Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, the Schumanns, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Debussy, Ravel, Liszt, early Baroque keyboard works by Couperin and Scarlatti, some nineteenth- and twentieth-century American composers as William Mason, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, John Cage, and more.

Stephen Kleiman holds a bachelor’s degree from the Mannes College of Music and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. An orchestra conductor in Europe and former music director of the National Chamber Orchestra in Washington, D.C., his compositions have been performed internationally and recently at Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti), International Chamber Artists (Chicago), the Longy School (Boston), the Newberry Library (Chicago), Music at Eden's Edge (Beverly Farms, Massachusetts) and the Chicago Danz Theatre.

$35 for CLL members 
$50 for guest registrants

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Great Decisions Discussion Group

   Co-ed Series
   Alternate Wednesdays, February 1–March 15; April 12–May 24
   1:15–2:45 p.m.
   Led by Dick Farkas and David Barnum
   Call Susan Quaintance (312.981.3386) to inquire about availability.

   Men’s Group Series
   Alternate Wednesdays, February 1–March 15; April 12–May 24
   10:30 a.m.12:00 p.m.
   Led by Dick Farkas and David Barnum
   Call Susan Quaintance (312.981.3386) to inquire about availability.

In Great Decisions, domestic issues are explored together in a respectful environment. There are two sessions (one open to all; the other men-only), and both will be discussing foreign affairs and domestic issues as they relate to the United States. This class will be jointly taught by Dick Farkas and David Barnum.

Dick Farkas has been teaching at DePaul for more than forty years. He holds an honorary degree from Corvinus University of Budapest and has lectured in Russia, Poland, Hungary, and Croatia. His research compares strategies for political and economic development in post-Communist and post-conflict countries. Dick has consulted for some of the largest corporations in the U.S. and has appeared frequently on U.S. and international media. 

David Barnum graduated from Stanford University with a Ph.D. in political science in 1974. He currently teaches courses in American and comparative constitutional law (First Amendment Rights, Rights of Defendants, Comparative Protection of Individual Rights, National Security and the Constitution) at DePaul University. 

$55 for CLL members
$65 for guest registrants 

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Beginner Tai Chi Chuan

   Tuesdays, February 7–May 16
   2:00–2:45 p.m.
   Led by Hau Kum Kneip
   Register online here

T’ai Chi Chuan is an effective exercise for anyone seeking to enhance balance, strength, and coordination. It is made up of a fluid series of postures joined with deep breathing exercises. In this class, beginning students will learn the history and fundamentals of T’ai Chi Chuan and will be prepared to join the intermediate class upon completion of the beginner series.

Hau Kum Kneip studied with Chinese Tai Chi masters in Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, and Hawaii beginning in 1978. She has taught Tai Chi Chuan at the CLL since 1995 and focuses on increasing balance, strength, and focus in her students.

$80 for CLL members
$90 for guest registrants

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A History of British Music

   Wednesdays, February 22–March 29
   10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. 
   Led by John Nygro
   Register online here

From medieval sacred motets to Renaissance madrigals to Baroque operas to Romantic nocturnes and symphonies of the twentieth century, British composers have used different forms of expression while paying homage to their cultural past. We will explore the many facets of British music to discover its beauty as well as its universal transcendence. 

John Nygro is a lecturer, musician, and actor with a career spanning more than thirty years. As a lecturer, he has spoken on a number of subjects from classical theater and opera to medieval and Renaissance music to film and television.

$25 for CLL members
$40 for guest registrants

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“Caring for the Caregiver” Seminar

   Mondays, February 27–March 20
   1:00–3:00 p.m.
   Register online here
   Please note that this series is limited to 28 participants.

Joint event with the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being and Pastoral Care at Fourth Presbyterian Church

Do you know anyone caring for a family member or friend who is chronically ill, disabled, or has dementia? Care-giving takes many shapes and forms in today’s society and can be stress-inducing for the caregiver.

The Center for Life and Learning, the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being, and Fourth Church Pastoral Care are teaming up to offer a four-week seminar on how caregivers can care for themselves during these difficult times. Each week a professional will discuss topics such as long-distance care-giving, care-giving strategies for success and redirecting difficult behaviors, family involvement, and end-of-life issues. The goal of this seminar is to offer spiritual and personal self-care tools and communication for the caregiver on their journey.

$30 for all registrants

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Asian Religions

   Tuesdays, March 7–28
   2:30–4:00 p.m.
   Led by Timothy Gutmann
   Register online here

Offered in conjunction with the Graham School University of Chicago and Lincoln Park Village

This course focuses on traditions of religious thought and practice in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. We will discuss the relationship between Confucianism, which prizes the family and political service, and Buddhism, with its concern for suffering and practice of detachment, and other, more local traditions. Though these ways of thinking are different, we will look at how they inform East Asian worldviews together. We also will view Asia’s encounter with modernity that radically changed these legacies in thought and practice.

Timothy Gutmann is a Ph.D. candidate in religion focusing on Islam and East Asian thought at the University of Chicago. His research and teaching focus on religious orthodoxy and dissent, critical theory, knowledge and philosophy of education, and in psychology in Asian and Islamic traditions. Originally from outside Washington, he lives with his family in Kenwood, Chicago.

$45 for CLL and Lincoln Park Village members
$55 for guest registrants

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Washington, Hamilton, and Franklin

   Tuesdays, March 7–21
   11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
   Led by Diane Kelliher
   Register online here

As children it is likely that we learned the myth about Washington and the cherry tree, saw Hamilton on a ten-dollar bill and heard Franklin’s dictum “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Come meet these three ambitious and imperfect men who were key players in the history of our nation. As well as coming to know them better as public figures, you’ll get to know more about their private lives.

Diane Kelliher earned two masters degrees from Loyola University, one in sociology (social psychology) and the other in pastoral theology, and has been interested in history for more than thirty years. She is devoted to making history lively, informative, and interesting, and she enjoys being with other seniors in the process.

Free for CLL Members
$15 for guest registrants

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“A Little More Aware”: A Short Course on Short Stories

   Mondays, March 13–April 10
   11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
   Led by Susan Quaintance
   Register online here

Contemporary American short story writer George Saunders says that when we read a short story we “come out a little more away and a little more in love with the world.” We’ll decide if we agree as we explore how plot, point of view, setting, and character work together in this most underappreciated of literary genres. We’ll read some classics along with some newer pieces that highlight what Annie Proulx (another short story author) calls the “intensity, brevity, balance and word play” of the short story.

Susan Quaintance holds an M.A. in theology from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. She taught high school theology and English for more than twenty years and has facilitated many adult days of recollection and retreats.

$30 for CLL members
$40 for guest registrants

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Instruments of the Orchestra, Chamber Ensemble, Opera, and Bands

   Mondays, April 3–June 5
   11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
   Led by Stephen Kleiman
   Register online here

This class will be a detailed look at musical instruments, what family they are part of; what they sound like alone and when played with other instruments, what the instruments looks like now and a peek into their evolution.

What are the musical ensembles and what instruments define them?

The orchestra
The chamber orchestra
The string quartet
The woodwind quintet
The piano quartet

Percussion instruments have become very popular in modern orchestral usage. We will look at classical percussion instruments as well as the newer ones and see how their appearances in more modern ensembles have added to our musical interest.

Bands, as well, have always engendered a fascination and there is something so recognizable in its sound in parades. We cannot wait for the band to be in front of us so we can savor that familiar sound. But what makes up that sound? We will look into the instrumental makeup of bands in order to understand that unique sound that we all wait for and recognize.

We will also look at Opera and the unique set of variables that are present in this musico-dramatic form. We will listen to some of the great opera composers and discuss how they were able to create beautiful dramas using the fragility and sensitivity of the human voice along with the power of the orchestra.

We will end this class with a discussion of those composers who invented their own instruments in order to express their personal musical and extra-musical ideas (Harry Partch, Lou Harrison, John Cage, and Henry Cowell, to name only a very few).

Stephen Kleiman holds a bachelor’s degree from the Mannes College of Music and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. An orchestra conductor in Europe and former music director of the National Chamber Orchestra in Washington, D.C., his compositions have been performed internationally and recently at Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti), International Chamber Artists (Chicago), the Longy School (Boston), the Newberry Library (Chicago), Music at Eden's Edge (Beverly Farms, Massachusetts), and the Chicago Danz Theatre.

$40 for CLL members
$55 for guest registrants

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History of the Broadway Musical, Part 1 (1866–1960)

   Thursdays, April 6–27
   2:30–3:30 p.m.
   Led by Wydetta Carter
   Register online here

It began with Melodrama with music, Burlesque, Operetta’s and evolved to what we now know as the Broadway musical! We will look at the musical works of Victor Herbert, George M. Cohan, Franz Lehar, Rudolf Friml, Sigmund Romberg, Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, and many others as they lay the framework for the musicals of the Great White Way.

Wydetta Carter has been a singer and actress in the international theater scene for over twenty-five years. Her credits include the Broadway touring companies of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, DREAMGIRLS, and the Hong Kong Disney production of the LION KING. Regional productions of SHOW BOAT, ALL SHOOK UP, HAIRSPRAY, NUNSENSE, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, LITTLE ROCK NINE, PORGY AND BESS and numerous companies of the long running show MENOPAUSE the Musical. She is also a song presentation coach. A graduate of Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania, she also studied at the Denver Center Conservatory.

$25 for CLL members
$40 for guest registrants

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Without: Grief and Literature

   Tuesdays, April 18–May 9
   1:30–2:30 p.m.
   Led by Susan Quaintance
   Register online here

Have you ever noticed how much of literature is about love or death? Why is that? One person suggested that it is because these are the two great mysteries of life. In this class we will look at the literature of grief and loss, with each class focusing on one genre: poetry (including Donald Hall’s Without from which the class title is taken), memoir, fiction, and drama.

Susan Quaintance holds an M.A. in theology from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. She taught high school theology and English for more than twenty years and has facilitated many adult days of recollection and retreats.

$25 for CLL members
$40 for guest registrants

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Legendary Heroines in the Arts

   Wednesdays, April 26–May 31
   12:30–2:00 p.m.
   Led by Jeff Nigro and John Nygr 
   Register online here

Composers, visual artists, poets and dramatists have been inspired by mythical, biblical, literary and historical women. We will explore the compelling stories of six charismatic women across a variety of art forms and time periods from the ancient world to Hollywood.

Jeff Nigro is an art historian, lecturer, and educator. Jeff has had a professional relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago for twenty-five years, first as a staff lecturer and then as Director of Adult Programs in the Department of Museum Education.

John Nygro is a lecturer, musician, and actor with a career spanning more than thirty years. As a lecturer, he has spoken on a number of subjects from classical theater and opera to medieval and Renaissance music to film and television.

$40 for CLL members
$55 for guest registrants

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Listening with the Heart, Seeing by Making Art

   Thursday, April 27
   9:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
   Led by Mary Anne Evans and Lucy Ellen Smith
   Register online here

Listening with the Heart, Seeing by Making Art is a one-day workshop on learning listening skills—to better hear those around us—and drawing skills—to better see the world around us. The day begins at 9:00 a.m. with introductions of leaders and participants. There are a total of four sessions: two each in the morning and afternoon. The morning will begin with activities for listening, followed by an art session to develop better observing skills. After a break for lunch where the group will eat together (providing their own bag lunches) and have a brief reflective conversation about the morning’s events, more activities for listening skills will begin the afternoon, followed by one more art session. The day will conclude at 3:30 p.m. following a final reflection on the afternoon’s activities.

Mary Anne Evans is a spiritual director, retreat and workshop facilitator, and a small group leader. She specializes in developing safe places for people to share deeply. Mary Anne lives in Ohio where she has led groups throughout the state as well as occasionally in Maine. Most recently she has presented programs for two senior citizen organizations focusing on helping seniors look at different ways to navigate the senior years. In her spare time she enjoys writing and has authored two memoirs as well as a children’s book.

Lucy Ellen Smith is a professional artist and educator, currently teaching the Drawing Fundamentals class at the Center for Life and Learning. She specializes in works on paper and exhibits in New England and the Midwest. Lucy enjoys sharing her skills through teaching basic drawing in adult education programs, finding inspiration in the enthusiasm and creative exchange from all her students.

$25 for CLL members
$30 for guest registrants

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Dance for All: The Parkinson’s Project

   Tuesday, May 2
   12:30–1:30 p.m.
   Register online here

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is proud to offer the oldest Parkinson's dance program in the Midwest, Hubbard Street Parkinson's Project. The program uses contemporary dance techniques to work to slow the progress of the disease, as well as providing a community of support for our students. While the program was developed for adults with Parkinson Disease, this is a dance class that combines the artistry of dance to encourage one's natural instincts for movement and the benefits that movement can produce physically and socially. The class begins seated in a chair, and ultimately works its way towards standing; traveling through the space in a safe and explorative way.

One need not have Parkinson’s to participate.

Free, but RSVP required

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The History of Modern Dance

   Tuesdays, May 2–23
   1:30–3:30 p.m.
   Led by Lin Batsheva Kahn 
   Register online here

This class will look at the beginning and development of modern dance from Isadora Duncan, the mother of this dance form, to the present with dancers and choreographers such as Alejandro Cerrudo from the renowned Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the remarkable Mikhail Baryshnikov. This new four week class will observe and discuss wonderful original choreography through the decades to learn how to view and appreciate the performing art of modern dance.

Lin Batsheva Kahn holds a Masters in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve University, a Masters in Dance, Theater, and Communication from Kent State University, and a BFA Cum Laude in Modern Dance from the University of Illinois/Champaign. She created and teaches Modern Dance and academic dance courses for The Theatre School at DePaul​ University. With numerous honors for education and performance such as The Jewish News Jewish Chicagoan of the Year, Today’s Chicago Women magazine 100 Women of Inspiration, and DePaul Woman of Spirit and Action, she is an accomplished and productive choreographer. Professor Kahn’s inspiring ELI talk was filmed at PBS WTTW in Chicago. 

$25 for CLL members
$40 for guest registrants

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Explorations with Jane Hunt

   Wednesdays, May 3–June 7
   10:30–11:30 a.m.
   Led by Jane Hunt 
   Register online here

Celebrating her twenty-fourth year with the CLL, award-winning teacher Jane Hunt leads this popular class through a new topic based in the humanities each week. This spring topics will include thoughts on marriage, war, Hadrian, sugar, and more.

Jane Hunt is a retired College of DuPage English and humanities Instructor and has been on faculty at the CLL since 1990. She is a graduate of DePauw University and Indiana University and enjoys formulating questions on diverse topics and then looking for answers with her classes.

Free for CLL members
$25 for guest registrants

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Chair Yoga

   Thursdays, May 25–June 29
   12:00–12:45 p.m.
   Led by Beth Woidan 
   Register online here

Chair yoga is a six-week practice designed to make the numerous benefits of classical yoga available to a wider range of physical abilities. Chair yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is practiced using a combination of sitting on a chair, or standing using a chair for support.

Beth Woidan joined CJE SeniorLife’s Center for Healthy Living in 2016 and is teaching health-based programs in the community. With a background in psychology and public health research, Beth’s passion is focused on balance, mobility, and falls prevention for older adults.

$40 for all registrants

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