Those of us who remember the Big Band Era will be happy to learn that we will once again be awash in that wonderful music that can evoke that time when we were young, perhaps newly in love, or going off to war, and dancing, dancing, dancing.
Jim Elsten, a retired high school science teacher who led the past OLLI classes SPORTS CARS and WAR BIRDS OF WW II, will lead a class in another of his passions, the BIG BANDS.
Although not a musician, he has done his research and located videos and loads of material including radio shows featuring the artists of that era. Your favorites, Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, and so many others will revive those memories that bring a smile to your face and pleasure to your ears. During the last half hour of each session, Mr. Elsten will also feature eight of the vocalists who sang with those great bands.
He hopes to persuade the leader of the Long Beach Municipal Band, Larry Curtis, a devotee of the era, to come to one of the classes and add to your enjoyment of that great music.
Sounds like a great time to take a trip down Memory Lane, right? And for those of you who are younger, what an opportunity to acquaint yourself with the defining popular music of that time.
Imagine learning the names of all the dynasties of China, in order, from the Shang in 1600 BCE to the Ching in 1912, in only fifteen minutes, while laughing and gesturing as you learn! When I met for coffee with dynamic CHINESE ART HISTORY teacher, Rick Harsh, to discuss his class, he had me doing that very thing… AND I can still recite them!
As an experienced high school art and art history instructor for over 40 years, Rick Harsh knows how to engage students using a variety of teaching techniques and memory tricks that incorporate all the senses. Having been part of a Getty Museum Art Education program, he includes in his course not only art history, but also aesthetics and art criticism. More than that, he plans to use the “Harsh Test” … that is, “If I can’t relate the subject to your life and make it richer, then I won’t teach it.”
Alongside the study of CHINESE ART HISTORY, he plans to guide you to understand the relationship of Chinese art, sculpture and painting, to the culture of the longest continuous civilization still in existence on earth. Through PowerPoint presentations, interactive activities, discussions and the examination of true examples of Chinese art pieces, he will introduce you to the religion, economy, philosophy, government, science and inventions of the Chinese. Hand in hand with the study of their art, you will better understand and appreciate the Chinese people and their culture, and you will undoubtedly have fun learning about it.
When asked why students should take his course, Mr. Harsh replied, “They will have the opportunity to experience one of the greatest civilizations, and see how contributions and ingenuity of the Chinese, even now, relate to our everyday lives.” For now, I’m off to practice my dynasties … Shang, Chou, Chin, Han …