Marshall Miles Interviews Larry Rand and Tom Gruenewald, Taconic Learning Center’s 2023 Winter Class Offerings

Taconic Learning Center

PLEASE NOTE: Our Winter Term Registration is now OPEN! Four courses will be IN-PERSON at Noble Horizons; Only two courses will be on ZOOM.

When you want to enter a TLC Zoom class, click here

TLC is a non-profit membership organization providing the opportunity for lifelong learning to residents of the Northwest Corner of Connecticut and adjacent communities in New York and Massachusetts.

TLC’s courses cover a wide variety of academic subjects taught by volunteers, all experts in their fields. Click on Course Listings on the left to see what courses we offer.

Annual membership dues of $60 per person are fully tax-deductible. There are no other set fees. Individuals may sign up for any number of courses. Classes lasting two hours are held once a week at one of our three conveniently located venues.

Attendees are free to come and go as they like; there are no exams. Those taking advantage of TLC’s program will rekindle the excitement of learning, expand their horizons, be able to share their knowledge, have fun and make new friends.

TLC is a wonderful way to stay involved and well informed. Join today! For more information, click on an item on the left, or contact us by mail or by phone.

Taconic Learning Center, Inc.
PO BOX 1752, Lakeville, CT 06039
Tel. 860-364-9363

Courses for Winter 2023

Please select “Registration” on the left to register.

Click here to enter Zoom meeting for any of the Zoom-based TLC Courses

For your Information: Meeting ID: 893 2055 3978. Passcode: 128295

Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Monday, 10am-Noon
Dates: Jan 16 – Feb 20
Sessions: 6
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Sessions One and Two: Gen. Burgoyne’s campaign to take Albany, NY (ended at Saratoga) and Gen. Clinton’s campaign to take Philadelphia, in the American Revolution. No cooperation!

Sessions three and four: General Lee’s two invasions of the North ending in the battle of Gettysburg. Bloody!

Session five: Admiral Yamamoto’s campaign to take Wake Island in WW II. A disaster!

Session six: Examples of three important elements in waging war:
-Tactics: Hannibal and the Battle of Cannae, 262 BC.
-Weapons: Henry V and the Battle of Agincourt, 1415 AD
-Misdirection: Invasion of Sicily, WW II, and “The Man Who Never Was”

Instructor: Thomas Key
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Monday, 1-3pm
Dates: Jan 16 – Feb 20
Sessions: 6
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The Perennial Questions

Why are we here? Who am I? What is true? Human beings have posed these questions as long as they have been able to think. In this six-week class we will take a look at a few of the most enduring approaches to these questions. We will consider ideas about the purpose of human life, the means and ends of self-knowledge, and the challenge of discerning what is really true.

Instructor: Lyn Mattoon
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Location: ZOOM
Times: Tuesday, 1-3pm
Dates: Jan 17 – March 7
Sessions: 8
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Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America

In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat, traveled to America and found the future. The nations of the earth, he concluded, or at least the enlightened part of them, were moving inevitably toward a condition of social equality that in the world of politics was taking the form of democracy. This new kind of polity was rising on the ruins of the old, hierarchical societies, and the young republic was the clearest example of it. Previous visitors from overseas had concentrated on the minutiae of daily American life, but Tocqueville was after bigger game. He wanted to tease out the broad implications of increasing social equality and democracy rather than focus on the details that were bound to differ from one nation to another. These implications then would have the widest possible relevance to the various societies of the emerging modern world. This new dispensation, Tocqueville realized, was full of both promise and peril, and he devoted himself to transmitting this balanced assessment to his European contemporaries. The book that resulted, Democracy in America, has been called the “greatest work ever written about one country by a citizen of another.” Because his conclusions were so general and of such wide application his book appropriately addressed the Americans of his own time, his fellow citizens in France still trying to come to terms with the modern world, and, not least, speaks to our own distracted society today, the uneasy inheritor of the raw republic in whose image he saw the future.

I’ll include a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate my talks.

Instructor: Robert Rumsey
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Wednesday, 1-3pm
Dates: Jan 18 – Feb 22
Sessions: 6
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Experimental Cinema: A six-session session course on the history and the development of Experimental Cinema

This course attempts to present the participants a historical view of the genre, styles and the role of the filmmakers who developed and perfected the concept and the vision of Experimental Cinema. Invention of the movie camera offered a broad and diverse tool for artists to express their own interpretation of nature and life around them. Camera became another tool, a “brush” for artists to create moving images which projected their own aesthetic principles and perceptions. There will be a presentation of early cinema from France, Soviet Union, England and the United States. Early films by the Lumiere Brothers to Andy Warhol and how through ages, cinema has evolved from a vehicle to tell a story or document everyday life, to a tool expressing an individual artist’s personal vision. Through the sessions of the lectures there will be an ongoing discussion about the goal for Experimental Films, which is to place the viewer in a more active and more thoughtful relationship to the film, which will be discussed. The 6 sessions will be an opportunity for the participants to understand this particular form of cinema and the various expressions and theorizations from various artists. The sessions will be coordinated with projections of stills from movies and at the end of each session there will be screening of a film, and an open discussion by the participants. During the entire sessions of the courses, informal and open-minded discussions of opinions will be encouraged.

Donald Sosin who is a well regarded musician and has composed musical scores for may experimental films will be appearing at the Wednesday, January 18th session for the Experimental Cinema. please see details below.

Donald Sosin is one of the world’s foremost silent film composers, performing his keyboard and instrumental scores all over the world. From 1971 to the present he has performed at many of the world’s leading venues for silent film, including Lincoln Center, MoMA, BAM, the TriBeCa Film Festival, and many festivals including Telluride, Denver, San Francisco and Seattle, as well as AFI Silver, the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival, the Thailand Silent FIlm Festival, Italy’s two major festivals in Bologna and Pordenone, and the Jecheon International Music and Film Festival in South Korea. Donald and his wife Joanna Seaton are the only people in the world who have created a repertoire of new songs for silent films, and have performed at many of the above venues, as well as at many colleges (Yale, Emory, Brown,etc.) They teach workshops in silent film music, and created scores for over 60 DVD/Blu-Ray releases on the Criterion, Kino, Milestone, Flicker Alley and other labels. With klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals, Donald has written and recorded three scores for Jewish-themed silents which they perform live all over the US and Europe under the auspices of the Sunrise Foundation for Education and the Arts.

Donald grew up in Rye NY and Munich and played on Broadway for many years, after composition studies at Michigan and Columbia. His music has been heard on PBS, TCM, online, and in the concert hall. Donald and Joanna have two musical children and live in Lakeville CT. Website:

Avant-garde filmography:
Donald was commissioned to score the following films for two major collections of avant-garde films, Bruce Posner’s Unseen Cinema collection, and Kino’s Avant-garde DVD set.
Piano except as indicated

Anémic Cinéma (1924-26) Rrose Sélavy aka Marcel Duchamp
Beggar on Horseback (fragment, 1925) James Cruze
Bronx Morning, A (1931) Jay Leyda (chamber ensemble)
Coney Island at Night (1905) Edwin S. Porter
Enchanted City, The (1922) Warren Newcombe
Ghost Train, The (1903) unknown
Ghosts Before Breakfast (1928) Hans Richter
H20 (1929) Ralph Steiner
Hearts of Age, The (1934) William Vance & Orson Welles
Jack and the Beanstalk (1902) Edwin S. Porter
Life and Death of 9413: A Hollywood Extra, The (1927) Robert Flaherty & Slavko Vorkapich
Looney Lens: Pas de Deux (1924) Al Brick
Love of Zero, The (1928) Robert Florey & William Cameron Menzies
Manhatta (1921) Charles Sheeler & Paul Strand (orchestra)
Pie in the Sky (1934-35) Elia Kazan, Ralph Steiner & Irving Lerner
Retour à la Raison, Le (1923) Man Ray
Skyscraper Symphony (1929) Robert Flaherty
Telltale Heart, The (1928) Charles Klein
Twenty-Four Dollar Island (c. 1926) Robert Flaherty
(voice and synthesized orchestra, percussion)
Überfall (1928)

Instructor: Varoujan Froundjian
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Thursday, 10am-Noon
Dates: Jan 19 – March 9
Sessions: 8
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Unsung Heroes of WWII

We all know of Winston Churchill, FDR, Dwight Eisenhower; the Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Bulge, and more. What most of us do not know of are the unsung heroes of World War II, those who contributed significantly to the Allies’ victory: men and women who were critical to the war effort but engaged in clandestine operations; men and women who provided essential services to the Allied effort. This course is both a lecture by Lynne Olson (author of Citizens of London and other exceptional books) together with classes led by Larry and Carol Rand.

Instructor: Larry&Carol Rand
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Location: Zoom
Times: Friday, 1-3pm
Dates: Jan 20 – March 10
Sessions: 8
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Shakespeare Playreading

We’ll read aloud and discuss Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream
. The two plays are often called “festive” comedies because each commemorates a significant day marked by popular license in the Elizabethan calendar. Twelfth Night refers to the last night of the twelve days of Christmas, and in spite of its religious origin it was a thoroughly secular celebration. A Midsummer Night’s Dream takes its title from the evening before midsummer day, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year, when the prospect of warmth and lengthening days inspired much misbehavior. If time permits, we’ll also read Troilus and Cressida, one of Shakespeare’s so-called “problem plays,” which contain both tragic and comic elements and thus resist easy placement in the canon.

I’ll scroll the texts of the plays on your screens.

Instructor: Robert Rumsey
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