11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Courses


    This course celebrates the great bands and stars of pop, rock and jazz. We will listen to recordings, watch videos, and talk about a wide variety of musicians and bands. Social, historical and musical context will be provided. Examples of the artists included are Aretha Franklin, Michael McDonald, Elvis, James Brown, Fats Domino, the Temptations, Stan Getz, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and B.B. King. We will listen, watch and discuss the greats. You will expand your jazz and rock music appreciation and have fun doing it. Come and share your bright moments.

    Teacher: Tom Doran is a bassist/vocalist who plays soul, funk, blues, jazz and rock. In retirement he loves to play and make abstract art. He loves to talk about music, so if you do too, please join!


    Beginning with the “first encounters” between Europeans and the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, Black Robe-1991, we'll take a look at some memorable portrayals of significant themes and personages in American history. Our list will include, among others, Mary Stillman’s War-1994, The New Land-1972, Twelve Years a Slave-2013, and Hester Street-1975. Links to the films will be provided. Join us for some outstanding cinema followed by open ended, stimulating discussion.

    Teacher: David Moore received his master’s degree in American Studies from Boston College in 1966. He taught in the history department at Newton North High School receiving the Charles Dana Meserve outstanding teacher award in 1993. His particular historical interests include classical Greece, American studies, fin de siècle Europe, and the Holocaust.


    Sessions 1-5 DNA is the most amazing chemical ever discovered. It is essential to life and responsible for who we are, both as individuals and as a species. We pass our DNA to our children and can see ourselves reflected back. Great strides have been made over the past decades towards understanding how DNA works and what possibilities it holds for the future. We will cover the basic science of DNA, its language, and how it works to preserve our health, build our bodies and pass our own personal traits to future generations. We’ll explore the science of sex and discuss how DNA controls development from conception to a fully functioning human.

    • Note: Because of the large amount of information to cover, this course will run an extra 15 minutes until 12:45.
    • When this course ends, you will be given the opportunity to register for any other 11:30 course for weeks #6-10 at no additional cost.

    Teacher: Frank Villa has taught physics and for many years ran his own company that designs laboratories. He has lectured on a range of scientific subjects for many years.


    We will discuss how narrators’ perspectives affect our appreciation of works including selected sonnets by Shakespeare. Our emphasis will be on Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell and Macbeth by Shakespeare.

    Teacher: Helen F. Smith has taught at the Winsor School, Newton North and in Armenia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Georgia, Romania and Zambia. A Smith College graduate, she edits texts about writing and journalism. She is the executive director of the New England Scholastic Press Association.

  • WRITING YOUR STORY (Memoir, NOT autobiography)

    Maximum Enrollment: 20 Our memories are an essential part of who we are. This class is a community for those with stories to tell and reasons to write them down—to recapture treasured moments, leave a record for family and understand the past. Writing is done at home, then read aloud in class; comments focus on helping the writer. For those who can stay, the class extends to 1 p.m.

    Leader: This will be Sue Edgecomb’s third year teaching Writing Your Story. She is a retired Wellesley teacher who is now a writer. Her article, “The Wall,” was published in the Boston Globe magazine in November, 2018. Her memoir, Clearing in the West: Navigating the journey through loss, grief and healing, was just published and is available on Amazon.com.