By Suzanne Besser
There promises to be lots of lively and thought provoking discussions going on in the 22 courses offered this winter and spring by the Beacon Hill Seminars, the community’s popular membership organization of people learning with and from peers.
Consider the class offered by Jeff Schiffman, one of the many BHS members who not only create and participate in the diverse courses but also design and lead them for those seeking to continue their intellectual growth.
When describing the theme of his seminar, entitled Monitoring the Media: Road to the White House 2016, Schiffman says he strives to help voters evaluate the positions, personalities and priorities of all those candidates “hammering and yammering for our attention and our vote.” A Back Bay resident who has spent fifty years in and around news media, mostly in television, he and the class participants will examine and analyze a variety of media outlets representing a range of perspectives and discuss what each is saying about certain issues and presidential hopefuls.
Schiffman and other group leaders will present their class offerings and answer questions at the 2016 Spring Kickoff, to be held January 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Church of the Advent, 30 Brimmer Street. Friends and neighbors are welcome to attend. The many spring courses they’ll hear about include those led by English literature teachers and scholars, who will focus on topics ranging from lyric poetry, Ovid’s Metamorphoses and American short stories to British mystery novels. Seminars taught by historians will delve into Europe’s Pandora’s Box, international news, the unintended consequences of man’s enterprises and even the history of ocean-borne travel. Art and architecture classes will explore discussions of Pre-Raphaelite painters and churches in Europe while musicians and composers will survey Irving Berlin’s career and The Merry Widow.
The seminars differ in the number of sessions and are scheduled at varying times from late January to May. They take place at the Aldrich Center Meeting Space at The Engineering Center on Walnut Street, King’s Chapel Parish House and Prescott House on Beacon Street, Harvard Musical Association on Chestnut Street and the Mt. Vernon Street Meeting House Room. Participants must be BHS members. Annual dues of $200 plus a $200 registration fee allows members to take up to three courses each term.
The deadline to enroll is two days after the kickoff, with members receiving their class schedules the following week, said Cheryl Miller, BHS executive director. “We believe the fairest way to fill classes is according to the members’ preferences, rather than on a first come, first serve basis.”
For more information and the course catalogue, contact Miller at (617) 523-0970 or go to www.beaconhillseminars.org.