Third Age Learning offers full immersion in music!

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When a few people come up with an idea, help it take shape, and watch it sell out almost instantly… well, you just know you’re onto something great.

Early last fall when I wrote about the inaugural four sessions for Barrie’s first Third Age Learning, I also signed on almost immediately. Imagine! The spacious seating in the worship area of Grace United Church was chock-a-block with eager learners, most with grey hair, bright minds and eager attitudes. Tuesday afternoons were times to find out more and participants were enthused. The Russian/Crimea/Ukraine issues, and the European Union occupied our minds over four sessions.

Organizers got the message loud and clear! WE WANT MORE! And so, this week, the group launched the spring series on their website,

Music! The Joy of Music! Noted conductor Kerry Stratton, who performs regularly in Barrie and has a friendly audience on Classical 96.3 and 102.9 FM, will lead the four sessions. He’s put a lot of thought into the series and organizer Terry MacMillan says she thinks it’s going to be a musical hit.

The sessions begin April 21 with The Experience of Music. This will involve a discussion of how the public experience of music has changed over the years from live performance to the marvels of today’s technology. And Kerry will bring a performer with him, harpist Andrew Chan.

Second session, April 28, is The Conductor’s Art. This will look at the mysterious world of conducting. What makes a great conductor and what happens when the composer is on the conductor’s podium.

May 5 is A Look at Mozart, the bad-boy genius who left hundreds of richly detailed letters. Guest pianist for this session is Deyi Ye.

This series ends May 12 with a Study of Beethoven and the revolution he caused as he took the world into the romantic era. Guest violinist will be Sharon Lee.

All sessions are 1:30 to 3:30 pm. All occur at Grace United Church, 350 Grove St E.

At the end of the fall series, organizers asked ticket-buyers for feedback and this series is a direct result of that feedback. Tickets for all four sessions cost $30 and are available only online on the group’s website. With only 225 tickets available, organizers expect to sell out quickly.

Frankly, the people who came together to make this happen were overwhelmed with the response last fall. Turns out people with Tuesday afternoons available are hungry to learn! Organizers include: Paul Bassett (database and website); Gail Foy (event & curriculum planning); Larry Black (speaker liaison); Terry MacMillan (treasurer, marketing); Pat Mansfield (topics, marketing); Louise Pope, (committee chair). This is a totally volunteer commitment, which is why tickets are so economical.

And the Grandmothers/Grandothers group–who provide incredible support to African grandmothers raising grandchildren because of family death caused by AIDS–will continue to provide coffee, tea and snacks at break… a great fundraiser for them!

Such a great topic for a great series! And none of it would happen without a group of people coming together with a great idea! Thanks, Paul, Gail, Larry, Terry, Pat and Louise!