OLLI at BCC Special Events & Programs

OLLI at BCC offers a wide variety of programs and events that combine fascinating learning opportunities with the opportunity to meet great people.  Some are for members only, others are open to the public, but OLLI members receive special discounts.

All of our events and programs are organized by our members. Interested in helping? Contact the OLLI Office about joining an OLLI committee.

Upcoming events

    • Sunday, September 16, 2018
    • Sunday, April 14, 2019
    • 7 sessions
    • Devonshire Estates. 329 Pittsfield Road, Lenox
    • 7

    Immigration & Terrorism
    in English Novels of the Late 19th Century

    A Monthly OLLI Book Group Led by James Kraft

    September 16, 2018 - April 14, 2019

    Longtime OLLI instructor James Kraft will lead a new monthly group entitled "Immigration & Terrorism in English Novels of the Late 19th Century" in Lenox starting on Sunday, September 16th at 2pm, and continuing on the second Sunday of each month (except for January) through April 2019. 

    Participation is free for all OLLI members. (If you are not yet a member, please join to take part in this program by calling 413.236.2190 or join online here. You must be an OLLI member to attend.)  Please read, or begin to read, The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad for the first meeting.

    Near the end of the nineteenth century, various authors addressed unusual aspects of British life at the height of its imperial era. Henry James wrote two novels that remain largely unknown. The Princess Casamassima (1885) concerns radical politics and terrorism in London, and The Tragic Muse (1889) is a portrait of a young Jewish immigrant whose success as an actress forces her to choose between a career and a position in British social life.

    Also at this time, Joseph Conrad wrote The Secret Agent (1907), his vivid account of a spy ring, and George Eliot wrote in Daniel Deronda (1876) of the challenging place of the Jewish immigrant in the new democratic state.

    Finally, we will read the end of the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (1886) illustrating the difference between Robert E. Lee and Grant when they meet for the Civil War surrender in Appomattox.  It is a subtle portrait of the emotional basis of honor, fear and democratic beliefs, beyond the subject matter of most novels of that era, with surprising relevance for today.

    The group will read the following books in this order:

    • Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (Click here for a free ebook, or here to purchase on Amazon: please read, or begin to read before the first meeting. There are also several film adaptations of the book.)
    • Henry James, The Princess Casamassima
    • Henry James, The Tragic Muse
    • George Eliot, Daniel Deronda
    • And for the last class, the final chapter of the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
    All meetings are on Sunday afternoons at 2pm at Devonshire Estates, located at 329 Pittsfield Road in Lenox, Mass.
    The Book Group is led by longtime OLLI literature instructor James Kraft who attended Princeton, King’s College, Cambridge University, and Fordham.  He has a doctorate in literature and has taught at the University of Virginia, Université Laval in Quebec City, and Wesleyan in Connecticut.  He was assistant director of the Whitney Museum for eight years, and now teaches at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College and at the New York Society Library in New York City.

    Book Group Schedule-at-a-Glance

    9/16/18 The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

    NOTE: DATE CHANGE. NEW DATE: Saturday, 10/13/18, 2pm Henry James, The Princess Casamassima

    11/11/18 The Princess Casamassima, continued, beginning of The Tragic Muse

    12/9/18 The Tragic Muse, continued

    (no meeting January)

    2/10/19 George Eliot, Daniel Deronda

    3/10/19 Daniel Deronda, continued, and beginning of Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

    4/14/19 Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant & final discussion

    • Thursday, September 20, 2018
    • Wednesday, October 31, 2018
    • Various locations in Berkshire County.

    OLLI's fall 2018 semester of classes runs from September 20th to October 31st, with 26 weekly classes in Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Williamstown, Lenox and North Adams ranging from 4 to 6 sessions each.

    To register for classes, you need to first join OLLI, if you are not already a member. You can then register online, by mail, or by phone at 413.236.2190. 

    To view the complete Fall 2018 course line up and find links to individual course descriptions click here: Fall 2018 Class Schedule, or peruse the catalog online by clicking here.

     FLEX passes ($50 each) are available. These entitle the holder to attend up to 6 individual class sessions within a semester, perfect if you will be out of town for part of the semester, or if you are just omnivorous! (Note that FLEX passes are not valid for lottery courses or courses that have reached capacity.) 

    Questions? You can always give the OLLI office a call at 413.236.2190 and we will be happy to help!

    • Sunday, September 30, 2018
    • 12:00 PM
    • Cranwell Resort and Spa, 55 Lee Road, Lenox MA 01240
    Registration is closed

    Join us for a Once in a Lifetime Event!

    Celebrating Arline Breskin!

    For those of us who know her and love her, Arline Breskin, OLLI volunteer leaders and longtime chair of OLLI’s Special Events Committee, is an extraordinary woman. Generous with her time and talents, she is totally dedicated to OLLI and ensuring that we all enjoy the many wonderful places around us, from Jacob’s Pillow and Barrington Stage Company to High Lawn Farm and the Pittsfield Airport, from Cuba to Boston and New York City, and so much more.

    We are pleased to announce a once in a lifetime celebration to honor Arline Breskin for her extraordinary service which we have all enjoyed.  She has organized bus trips, luncheons and a myriad of other events throughout the years, and finally the tables are turned.

    We (not Arline for a change), are planning a wonderful luncheon in the Ballroom of the Cranwell Resort and Spa on Sunday, September 30, 2018.  Tickets are $75 each and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling 413.236.2190.

    Thank you on behalf of the event committee and OLLI’s Board of Directors.

    p.s. All funds raised through the Celebrating Arline luncheon and commemorative program book will benefit OLLI at BCC’s programs and outreach. We can think of no better way to honor her!

    • Friday, October 12, 2018
    • 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
    • Private home in Stockbridge


    We Are Staying: Eighty Years in the Life of a Family, a Store and a Neighborhood

    by Jen Rubin

    Friday, October 12, 2018
    5:00 pm to 6:30 pm

    At a private home in Stockbridge: address provided upon registration.

    Wine and Cheese will be served

    “Jen Rubin outlines the tale of a successful family storefront business with panache, and it includes the New York story of beginning, striving, belonging, and of heart, soul and compassion…” Gail Brewer, Manhattan Borough President

    “The best political stories are the human ones, and Jen Rubin recognizes this.  We Are Staying is a remarkably powerful, poignantly told story of a family, a business, a neighborhood and a city…Anyone who cares about urban policy, the history and the future of New York City and of a country that suffers from so much division yet has the potential still to unite, will cherish this book.” John Nichols, The Nation

    Jen Rubin leads storytelling workshops, co-produces the Moth Story Slam in Madison, Wisconsin, teaches the occasional social policy class at the University of Wisconsin and works at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. She is the daughter of Alan and Sandra Rubin of Pittsfield.

    RSVP to the OLLI office online by clicking here or by email at olli@berkshirecc.edu: no phone calls please.  Attendance is limited to 60 people.

    • Sunday, October 14, 2018
    • 12:00 PM
    • Berkshire Community College and Barrington Stage Co.

    Join us for OLLI's annual Theatre Brunch!
    Sunday, October 14th, 12 noon
    Berkshire Community College
    1350 West Street, Pittsfield, Mass.

    Enjoy a scrumptious buffet brunch prepared by OLLI volunteer chefs at Berkshire Community College, while OLLI lecturer extraordinaire Phyllis Jaffe gives a behind-the-scenes descriptive talk to accompany the play.

    Afterwards, we'll attend the 3pm matinee of The Glass Menagerie at Barrington Stage Company's MainStage in downtown Pittsfield. 

    Order your theatre brunch tickets online here, by phone at 413.236.2190, or mail in the registration form found here. The deadline to purchase tickets is Friday, September 28th.

    Tickets are $57 for brunch, talk and theatre tickets for OLLI members, and $67 for non-members. Already have theatre tickets? Not a problem! You can pay $28 for just the brunch and talk.

    OLLI's Annual Theatre Brunch is organized by the OLLI Special Events Committee, chaired by Arline Breskin.
    • Saturday, October 20, 2018
    • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
    • K-111, Koussevitsky Arts Center, Berkshire Community College, 1350 West Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
    The 2018 Midterm Elections

    A lively talk with WAMC President & CEO

    Alan Chartock
    Professor Emeritus at the University at Albany

    Saturday, October 20, 2pm
    K-111 Lecture Hall
    Koussevitsky Arts Center
    Berkshire Community College
    1350 West Street, Pittsfield Mass.

    Join us for another fascinating discussion in OLLI's 2018 Distinguished Speakers Series, co-chaired by Hope Hagler and Lance Sterman.

    Dr. Alan Chartock is a well-known political commentator, writer, professor, and radio host, as well as president and chief executive officer of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, a position he has held since 1981.

    He was a professor of political science at SUNY New Paltz and is professor emeritus of communications at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. In addition he is the executive publisher and project director for the Legislative Gazette, an online blog and radio show covering New York State government. Chartock writes a syndicated column on politics which appears in newspapers throughout New York State. A second column, I Publius, appears in The Berkshire Eagle each Saturday.

    Chartock participates in a broad swath of WAMC's radio programs, including hosting The Capitol Connection, a weekly program of interviews with New York politicians, participating on The Media Project, a show in which he and other local journalism professionals discuss topical media issues, along with Vox Pop, Congressional Corner, The Roundtable, Midday Magazine, and Northeast Report.

    Born in New York City, Chartock is a graduate of Hunter College, received an MA from American University, and a Ph.D. from New York University.

    Advance tickets are available online or by by phone at 413.236.2190 Admission is $10 for OLLI at BCC members, and $15 for the general public. Admission is free to Berkshire Community College students and youth 17 and under.

Past events

Monday, September 17, 2018 OLLI England Trip Open House
Thursday, September 06, 2018 Daytrip to Albany Institute of Art & History
Tuesday, August 28, 2018 OLLI Theater Party at Shakespeare & Company, Mothers & Sons
Thursday, August 23, 2018 Daytrip to the Storm King Art Center
Tuesday, August 21, 2018 OLLI Fall Open House
Wednesday, August 15, 2018 Russian Culture & Cuisine: From Peter the Great to the Present
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 1968: Fifty Years Later UNIVERSITY DAY
Thursday, August 09, 2018 Lapsed OLLI Member Focus Group
Tuesday, August 07, 2018 High Lawn Farm Behind-the-Scenes Tour August 7th
Monday, August 06, 2018 Tiny House Factory+Giant Mill in North Adams
Thursday, August 02, 2018 OLLI Theater Party at Chester Theatre Company, Mary's Wedding Matinee
Friday, July 27, 2018 Not-Yet-An-OLLI Member Focus Group
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 Edith Wharton's Lenox: Six Local Places Where Edith Wharton's Presence Still Radiates
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 North County OLLI Member Focus Group
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 An Afternoon with the Berkshire Opera Festival
Thursday, July 19, 2018 Central County OLLI Member Focus Group
Tuesday, July 17, 2018 OLLI Theater Party at Barrington Stage, Dolls House 2
Tuesday, July 17, 2018 Update on Recent Supreme Court Rulings on Gerrymandering & the Right to Vote
Tuesday, July 17, 2018 CANCELLED: High Lawn Farm Behind-the-Scenes Tour July 17th
Monday, July 16, 2018 South County OLLI Member Focus Group
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 Mystic Seaport Tour Bus Trip
Saturday, June 30, 2018 Leonard Bernstein at 100: A Talk with Professor Jeremy Yudkin
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 OLLI Faculty Appreciation Party
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 OLLI Theater Party at Berkshire Theatre Group, Church and State
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 SOLD OUT:High Lawn Farm Behind-the-Scenes Tour #2
Thursday, June 21, 2018 An Evening at Jacob's Pillow with the Royal Danish Ballet
Tuesday, June 19, 2018 Free! Behind-the-Scenes Tanglewood Preview
Tuesday, June 12, 2018 SOLD OUT: High Lawn Farm Behind-the-Scenes Tour
Monday, June 11, 2018 OLLI Volunteer Leadership Academy
Saturday, June 09, 2018 Music Changes the Brain: A Neuroscientist's View
Monday, June 04, 2018 Teaching for OLLI: A Free Course
Monday, June 04, 2018 OLLI Summer 2018 Semester
Friday, June 01, 2018 Play Ball! Picnic Dinner & Baseball
Thursday, May 31, 2018 Art in Bennington Daytrip
Friday, May 25, 2018 SOLD OUT: OLLI Annual Meeting & Katy Tur Talk
Thursday, May 17, 2018 OLLI at 3rd.Thursdays!
Thursday, May 10, 2018 FREE Williamstown Theatre Festival Community Workshop
Saturday, May 05, 2018 Navigating Climate Change in Uncertain Times
Saturday, April 21, 2018 Cellblock Art: Set Free in the Penitentiary
Thursday, April 12, 2018 OLLI Spring 2018 Semester
Thursday, March 22, 2018 OLLI Spring Open House
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 The Elling Eide Center Private Tour and Lunch - March 20th, 2018
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 The Elling Eide Center Private Tour and Lunch - March 13th, 2018
Friday, January 12, 2018 OLLI Winter 2018 Semester
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 OLLI Downhill Skiing Group
Wednesday, December 06, 2017 OLLI Winter Open House
Wednesday, November 08, 2017 OLLI University Day: Criminal Justice Reform
Sunday, November 05, 2017 Reading Willa Cather with James Kraft
Saturday, October 21, 2017 How Digital and Social Media Have Disrupted Journalism
Sunday, October 15, 2017 OLLI's Annual Theatre Brunch
Sunday, October 08, 2017 Celebrating Arthur Sherman Luncheon
Saturday, September 16, 2017 The Honesty of Hoax: Stories Behind the Consumption of Counterfeits
Thursday, September 14, 2017 OLLI Fall 2017 Semester
Thursday, September 07, 2017 OLLI Mentoring for Success Meeting
Wednesday, September 06, 2017 Meet Memoir Writing Instructor Vivian Dorsel
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 Sex, Science, Society and Reproduction
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 Historic Wahconah Park Guided Tour & Lunch
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Seven: A Staged Reading
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 OLLI Theater Party at Berkshire Theatre Group, Zoo Story
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 Economic Myths, Realities, and Opportunities
Wednesday, August 09, 2017 OLLI University Day
Monday, August 07, 2017 Writing with Pictures Class
Thursday, August 03, 2017 OLLI Theater Party at Shakespeare & Company, Intimate Apparel
Friday, July 21, 2017 OLLI Theater Party at Chester Theatre Company, Skeleton Crew
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 OLLI Bus Trip to JFK Library & Edward Kennedy Center for the Senate
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 Drones: The Sky Isn't the Limit!
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 OLLI Theater Party at Barrington Stage, Ragtime
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 An Afternoon with the Berkshire Opera Festival
Tuesday, June 27, 2017 Faculty Appreciation Cocktail Party
Thursday, June 22, 2017 An Evening at Jacob's Pillow with the Miami City Ballet
Saturday, June 17, 2017 The Beatles & Classical Music: A Talk with Professor Jeremy Yudkin
Saturday, June 03, 2017 Patient Safety: How to Avoid Being Harmed by Healthcare
Friday, June 02, 2017 OLLI Summer 2017 Classes
Thursday, June 01, 2017 Free Behind-the-Scenes Tanglewood Tour
Wednesday, May 31, 2017 Berkshire Carousel Guided Tour & Lunch
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 OLLI Annual Meeting & Cokie Roberts Talk
Saturday, April 29, 2017 New Directions for Jacob's Pillow with Director Pamela Tatge
Saturday, April 22, 2017 Up From Stardom Staged Reading & Reception
Saturday, April 15, 2017 Landscapes of the Clark with Director Olivier Meslay
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 OLLI Spring 2017 Semester
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 OLLI Spring Open House
Wednesday, March 08, 2017 Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Tour & Lunch
Friday, February 24, 2017 Smartphone Photography Workshop/Great Barrington
Thursday, February 23, 2017 Williamstown Theatre Festival Community Workshop
Monday, February 06, 2017 Smartphone Photography Workshop/Pittsfield
Saturday, January 28, 2017 Winter Bookbinding Workshop
Wednesday, December 14, 2016 OLLI Winter Open House
Friday, December 09, 2016 One Month Later: Making Sense of the 2016 Election
Thursday, November 03, 2016 Free Workshop with Williamstown Theatre Festival
Sunday, October 16, 2016 OLLI's Annual Theatre Brunch
Saturday, October 01, 2016 Trends in Philanthropy: Here, Nationally, Worldwide
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 Introduction to Western Square Dancing
Monday, September 12, 2016 OLLI 2016 Fall Course Registration
Tuesday, September 06, 2016 OLLI Bus Trip to the New Britain Museum of American Art and the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT
Sunday, September 04, 2016 Seventh Annual OLLI Art Show
Saturday, September 03, 2016 OLLI Art Show Reception & Silent Auction
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Confronting Climate Change: A Talk by Williams College Professor Ralph Bradburd
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 OLLI Fall Open House
Saturday, August 20, 2016 A Taste of Korea
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 OLLI University Day
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 Play Ball! - Pittsfield Suns Baseball Game.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 The 2008 Financial Crisis: The Federal Reserve's Resolve
Wednesday, July 13, 2016 Some Fascinating Stories Behind Windsor Mountain School
Saturday, July 02, 2016 Haydn Behind Beethoven
Saturday, June 25, 2016 Situating Stigma: Mental Health in News and Social Media
Thursday, June 23, 2016 Jacob's Pillow featuring ASPEN SANTA FE BALLET
Wednesday, June 01, 2016 From Hard Rock to Hospitality
Tuesday, May 31, 2016 A Day at the Pittsfield Airport
Saturday, May 07, 2016 Mum Bett and her Quest
Sunday, February 21, 2016 OLLI 2016 Spring Course Registration

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OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College
Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

1350 West Street | Pittsfield, MA 01201 | 413.236.2190 | olli@berkshirecc.edu

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