Sunday, November 23, 2014

Welcome to WMSC's Newest Board Member, Steve Smith

A special meeting of the WMSC membership was held last Tuesday, November 18 to elect Steven Smith to the WMSC Board.

Steve says that in 1988, after skiing Sunday River in the era of “T2,” he, his wife Lee, and their two daughters began constructing their vacation/retirement home on the shores of Songo Pond. They retired to their Songo Pond home in 2012.

Steve retired in 1995 from 30+ years working in independent and public schools, including a high school principalship in Topsfied, MA. He then began consulting with an international educational firm, which he continues to do on a VERY limited basis, allowing more time for skiing, biking, and sailing! Steve holds an A.B in Biology from Franklin and Marshall College and an M.Ed in Educational Administration and Biology from Tufts University. He is a member of the Bethel Rotary Club, serves on the board of the Mahoosuc Land Trust, and is a member of the WMSC Program Committee. Thank you, Steve, for joining the WMSC board.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Basics of Alzheimer's Disease

by Roberta Taylor

On November 6, William J. Kirkpatrick, Licensed Social Worker and Program Director for the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, presented a follow-up session on Alzheimer’s Disease at the West Parish Congregational Church. (For a review of the first session see Large Group Attends Session on Alzheimer's Disease.) This was a very informative and valuable presentation, with audience members asking numerous questions.
Linda Mc Donough and William Kirkpatrick      photo Rosabelle Tifft

Mr. Kirkpatrick stated that at least 5,000,000 people in the United States are at some stage of the disease - early, middle, or late. Explaining that Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in our country, he presented a number of facts concerning the disease, with the above being most surprising to many.

Mr. Kirkpatrick spoke of the four major risk factors for the disease, the highest being age: 90% of those people with the disease are over 60. Three additional risk factors are health status, environment, and genetics. The focus of future research, he said, will be on drugs and early detection.

Along with detailed information concerning the disease, Mr. Kirkpatrick encouraged us to learn even more by contacting and other resources. He alerted the audience to a 24/7 Helpline (800-272-3900), which offers information and referral services, support groups, safety services, advocacy, and education programs.

This is a very important topic, as evidenced by the high number of people who attended both sessions. People with Alzheimer’s Disease, care-givers, family, and the general population should pay close attention to helping combat this disease.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Senior College Players to Present “Out the Window”

by Rosabelle Tifft

Be prepared for an evening of fun and laughter as the Senior College Players present their annual performance, ”We Hope We Passed the Audition,” on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21 and 22, at the Gould Academy Trustees Auditorium. Three comedy plays to be performed include: “Identity Crisis,” “Out the Window,” and “The Mad Breakfast.”

What do you get when you put a boring, lazy husband in the proximity of a strong-minded wife and an overly wishful mother? Reality! Watch how Lorrie Hoeh, Barbara Dion, and Ross Timberlake deal with this classic brow-beating ritual in the comedy, “Out the Window.”

Lorrie Hoeh, Ross Timberlake and Barbara Dion                photo Lorrie Hoeh

 The cast and antics of the final comedy, “The Mad Breakfast,” will be included in the next issue of the blog.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Senior College Players Update

by Rosabelle Tifft

Senior College Players are gearing up for their annual performances to take place on Friday and Saturday, November 21 and 22, at the Gould Academy Trustees Auditorium beginning at 7 pm. This year’s performance is entitled: “We Hope We Passed The Audition!”
One of three comic plays to be performed is entitled, “Identity Crisis.” This play involves a tabloid reporter who stages an elaborate scam so she can write the story of the century, but her plan backfires when employees at the airline’s Lost and Found unravel her scheme. The cast includes Tineke Ouwinga as the reporter; Norman Milliard, Carole Timberlake, and Jack Kuchta as airline personnel. Jim McLean and Rosabelle Tifft also check in and out looking for their lost luggage.
Watch for summaries of the remaining plays, “Out the Window” and “A Mad Breakfast” in future editions of the blog.
Tineke Ouwinga, Carole Timberlake, Norman Milliard and Jack Kuchta    photo Lorrie Hoeh

Jim McLean, Rosabelle Tifft and Carole Timberlake  photo Lorrie Hoeh

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Opera Talk: "Carmen" Wednesday, October 29

Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

On Saturday, November 1, the Metropolitan Opera will broadcast Bizet's Carmen live in HD. Patricia Boyle-Wight will introduce us to this favorite opera on Wednesday, October 29, 10:30 am at the West Parish Congregational Church. Patricia will lead us to a fuller appreciation of the historical and musical elements of this great opera, which features one beloved and instantly recognizable melody after another. Come even if you can't attend the opera on November 1. If attending, please RSVP to Patricia at or 824-8453. The opera talk is free and open to the public, so bring a friend!

For tickets to the November 1 Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast contact or call the box office at 207-935-9232 (Mon-Fri, 9:00-1:00). Opera goers may choose to “ride-share.”

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, October 13, 2014

Large Group Attends Session on Alzheimer's Disease

Jan Stowell and Mark Pechenik   photo Rosabelle Tifft
by Kathleen DeVore

Fifty-four people attended last week's To Your Health presentation, “Know the Ten Signs of Alzheimer's.” Mark Pechenik from the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association spoke of the following ten signs which suggest dementia.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life: forgetting recently learned information; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids or family members for things formerly handled independently.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems: changes in ability to develop and follow a plan; keeping track of monthly bills; following a familiar recipe.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure: trouble driving to a familiar location; managing a budget; remembering the rules of a favorite game.

4. Confusion with time or place: losing track of dates, seasons; forgetting where one is or how they got there.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships: difficulty reading, judging distance, determining color or contrast.

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing: difficulty following or joining a conversation; finding the right word; calling things by the wrong name.

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: putting things in unusual places; losing things and being unable to find them again.

8. Decreased or poor judgment: difficulty dealing with money; decreased attention to grooming.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities: difficulty remembering how to complete a favorite hobby; avoiding being social because of these changes.

10. Changes in mood and personality: becoming confused, suspicious, fearful or anxious, especially when out of one's comfort zone.

If you notice these signs in yourself or a loved one, see a doctor. The dementia could be due to coronary disease or another life-threatening problem with blood flow. If it is Alzheimer's, while there is not yet a cure, there are medications which can slow the progression. The Alzheimer's Association offers many types of support to the person living with Alzheimer's and to their friends and family.

A follow-up program, “The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease,” will be held on Thursday, November 6, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the West Parish Congregational Church. For more information, contact Rosabelle Tifft at 824-2053. 

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

WMSC Drawing and Painting Class Takes a Field Trip to Andover

On Thursday, October 2, WMSC's art class met at Pam Berry's house in Andover.  Everyone had a wonderful time drawing and painting from nature.  Here are a few photos that Wendy Hutchins sent to us.

Elly Dufault, painting a scene in Pam Berry's back yard.
Denise Hurd and Suzanne Taylor enjoy the front yard.
Bonnie Pooley and Pam Berry
Sisters Freda Davis and Roma Wilson, painting in Pam's studio.
Geri Kelley, Lee Smith and Bonnie Pooley. The whole group
 shared a "potluck" lunch before returning home.
 photos by Wendy Hutchins

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Brown Bag Lunch Discussions

by Nancy Davis

Have you participated in one of our Brown Bag Lunch discussion sessions? Last spring’s was facilitated by Marvin Ouwinga, on Islam. The second, facilitated by Bonnie Pooley, was held recently, on “The Resilient Community in the 21st Century: how can elders shape the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren?” Twenty-two people participated in a lively discussion around questions of what makes our own community special, what might some of the downsides of a small rural community be, and what we can do to improve and define our community for the future. For more of the discussion, see the upcoming edition of the Bethel Citizen.

WMSC will be continuing these Brown Bag Lunch discussions as part of our inclusion of the public in sharing ideas and information. Our intent is that our ongoing Down Home Maine series will invite interesting Maine citizens with particular talents or expertise to share their experiences with us. In contrast, the Brown Bag Lunch is an opportunity for a facilitator to help participants to grapple with ideas, swapping a variety of perspectives on an issue. Nancy Davis is managing the program and welcomes ideas for future topics. Brown Bag topics may be issues-oriented, of local interest, related to learnings from a particular WMSC class – or any other topic that lends itself to spirited discussion. You may send ideas to Nancy at 381-1110 or Be watching for the next Brown Bag Lunch in January.

From the October 1 Brown Bag Lunch discussion.  photo Amy Chapman

The library at the Bethel Inn provides a friendly, welcoming setting.  photo Amy Chapman
For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, October 6, 2014

Energy Medicine for Your Health: An Introduction to Polarity Therapy

Emily Ecker, LCWS and Polarity Therapist
Woodstock resident Emily Ecker, LCSW and Polarity Therapist, introduces us to Polarity Therapy at this Down Home Maine offering on Wednesday, October 22, 4:30-6:00 pm at the West Parish Congregational Church in Bethel.

Eastern cultures have long recognized that the body’s energies are the key to health, vitality and well-being. “Energy medicines” such as Polarity Therapy are now being studied and utilized in Western medicine and are beginning to transform how we view and empower our health.

Polarity Therapy works to restore balance and wholeness. The Polarity Therapist uses gentle touch to direct the healing energy to specific areas in the body. The benefits are many, including relief of chronic health issues such as arthritis, back pain, depression, headaches and digestive problems; strengthening the immune system; and bringing mental and emotional clarity to a troubling issue.

At this hands-on session Emily will demonstrate what Polarity Therapy is. She will teach us to use Polarity Therapy's Star Pathway on our own for relaxation, balance, and a greater sense of well-being. This presentation is free and open to the public. Contact Emily for further information (207-357-9954).

Health is not merely of the body. It is the natural expression of the body, mind and soul when they are in rhythm with the One Life – Dr. Randolph Stone, Founder of Polarity Therapy, 1952

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Brown Bag Lunch Series Begins Second Season

By Nancy Davis
On Wednesday, October 1, WMSC begins their second season of the Brown Bag Lunch Series, following the series’ successful debut last April. Again, the program will be held from 12:15-1:30 at the Bethel Inn, and participants are invited to bring a lunch to enjoy over good discussion. Coffee and tea will be provided.
This session will be facilitated by Bonnie Pooley, whose topic is "The Resilient Community in the 21st Century: How can elders shape the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren?”  She will pose many questions for us to consider; here are a few: What are the values we cherish as we grow older? Why have we chosen to live in a small rural town? Why do so many young people leave Bethel, and what can we learn from this?   What can a small community like Bethel do to take care of all who live here? What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a small town far from population centers? How can we continue to provide fresh water for our residents? What can we do about the fact that our population is aging, and our schools are shrinking? What roles can elders play in a community? What can we do to make a positive difference in our community?
The discussion promises to be stimulating, and you are invited to take part, whether you’re a WMSC member or not. The session is free, but we’d like to know how many people to expect. For more information or to indicate your intention to attend: Nancy Davis ( or 207-381-1110). Please RSVP to Nancy by Friday, September 26. The session is Wednesday, October 1, 12:15-1:30 at the Bethel Inn; hope to see you there!

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Introducing WMSC's New Board Members

At the recent WMSC Annual Meeting we recognized retiring Board member Marcia Foster-Austin. Marcia served on the WMSC Board for the past six years, as co-chair of the Board, and more recently as co-chair of the Program Committee.

We then voted in our new Board members Jim Bebko, Irene Kuchta and Diane McMahon.

Jim came to Bethel in 2011 to set up a base camp from which to climb toward new challenges in his senior years. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering, a New York State Professional Engineering license, a pilot’s license, an EMT license, and certification as a Challenge Course facilitator. He enjoys hiking in the summer and downhill skiing in the winter. He and his wife, Ruth, enjoy partaking in the area’s classical music performances, art museums, and occasional travel outside the area. Jim hopes that WMSC will afford him opportunities to share some of his energies and experience for the betterment of the community he now calls home.

Irene says that she and her husband, Jack started skiing at Sunday River in 1989. They liked it so much that they bought a timeshare at the Summit in 1992. They found they liked that so much they bought an old dump in Hanover in 2001. They spent the next twelve years skiing, kayaking and trying to make the house livable. Last year Irene retired from her job as an academic librarian (and local union president) and moved to Hanover full time. Now she and Jack ski, kayak and do yardwork!

Diane lived in Peabody and Danvers, Massachusetts before moving to Maine. She taught math in Peabody for thirty-four years, mostly at the middle school level. She and her husband, Tim, became weekend residents of Bethel in 1985, and it became their permanent home three years ago when they both retired. Diane enjoys cooking, kayaking, snowshoeing, spending time with her children and four granddaughters, and taking advantage of the many courses and programs that WMSC has to offer.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Senior College Players Rehearsals Start September 8

By Rosabelle Tifft
Veteran players and newcomers alike are invited to join the fun as the Senior College Players course resumes this fall. Anyone with an interest in theater is invited to join. There will be three plays in this fall’s production, and you may accept a role as an actor, stage crew member or director. All that’s required is a desire to become involved and enjoy working with others to produce a fun and memorable night of local theater.

Lorrie Hoeh, co-class facilitator with Ross Timberlake, will have a Senior College Players’ table set up at the WMSC Annual Meeting on September 3 at the West Parish Congregational Church, from 5:00 to 5:30 pm. She will be available to take your course registration and answer any questions. Current and new WMSC members interested in learning more about the Players are encouraged to see Lorrie to discuss the program.

If you are interested in joining the troupe but unable to attend the Annual Meeting, you may mail your registration form or take it to the Adult Ed Office at Telstar. This form and complete information is enclosed in the WMSC Fall Course Bulletin, which you should have received in your mailbox.

Weekly rehearsals will take place on Mondays from September 8 to November 10, l:00 to 4:00 pm, at the Congregational Church. Dress rehearsals take place the following week on November 18 and 19 at the Gould Academy McLaughlin Hall Trustees Auditorium. Performances are scheduled for Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22, at 7 pm, also in the Trustees Auditorium.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mahoosuc Land Trust 25th Anniversary Photo/Art/Writing Celebration

The Mahoosuc Land Trust is looking for those special photographs, original art works or written works that express the natural beauty of the Mahoosuc Region. Please share your work with the Mahoosuc Land Trust Community to celebrate our 25th Anniversary! We will be displaying all entries and having a Grand Showing on Saturday, September 27th from 11am – 5 pm at the Land Trust Office as part of the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend.

There will be prizes for photographs, original art, and written works in three age categories (12 and under, 13-18 and 19+). There is a $10 donation entry fee for the oldest age group.

Entry details: Photos should be matted, at a minimum, and may be framed. Original art should be exhibit-ready. Stories should be one typed page (max) and attached to a stiff backing. Entries should be dropped off at the Mahoosuc Land Trust Office by Wednesday, September 17th. Mail entries are also accepted. Any or all submissions may be eligible for inclusion in the 25th Mahoosuc Land Trust Anniversary Book. Information and pre-orders for the book will follow. Entrants are welcomed to sell their submissions at the show. More details on 

The Mahoosuc Land Trust is an accredited community land trust encouraging public interest in conservation in central Oxford County, Maine, and eastern Coos County, NH, supporting a balance between growth and conservation and emphasizing sustainable and traditional land uses. For more information visit or call 207-824-3806. 

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, June 29, 2014

WMSC Visits Bates Art Museum

by Wendy Hutchins

What a lovely way to spend a rainy summer day! Under the direction of Kathleen DeVore, several members of WMSC, along with a few guests, ventured to the Bates College Museum of Art. While there, the docent guided us through the two current exhibits: Convergence: Jazz, Films, and the Visual Arts, and Encountering Maine. Both collections were inspirational, to say the very least.
The Convergence show offers the viewer many different media which include sculpture, wood cuts, silk screen prints, multi-media collages and more, all depicting the African influence on our music, films and visual art. 

Encountering Maine, while containing a similar variety of art forms, features works by Maine artists or artists with a relationship to Maine, or works that includes part of Maine as a subject. For most of us, the highlight of the exhibit was the stunning, original watercolor of Andrew Wyeth, “Master Bedroom,” which is on long-term loan to the museum through the generosity of Wyeth’s granddaughter, who is a graduate of Bates.

After a wonderful few hours of steeping in the arts, the group put the finishing touch to a grand day by having a fabulous lunch at Davinci’s in the old Bates Mill complex! How appropriate!

Both exhibits will be running throughout the summer, so if you find yourself in Lewiston be sure to check them out. (Bates Museum of Art 207-786-6158)

Anthony, our docent, explains Faith Ringgold's Jazz Stories: Mama Can Sing, Papa Can Blow #4, 2004   photo Denise Hurd

Sonié Joi Ruffin-Thompson, Strange Fruit, 2010   photo Denise Hurd

Close-up of Strange Fruit   photo Denise Hurd

Andrew Wyeth, Master Bedroom, 1965   photo Google Images

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Senior College Players Gearing up for Fall

by Rosabelle Tifft
Have you always wanted to act but were not sure if you could? Or wondered about memorizing a script, or performing in front of an audience, let alone talk? If so, Senior College Players is the place to be. And don’t worry about memorizing three acts of Shakespeare because you can always carry a script. (Though it might make a sword fight a tad awkward!) We do require you have the time of your life taking on the persona of someone else and having fun becoming that character in a play – that’s a MUST!

We are in the process of selecting plays for our annual fall class and performance, “The Senior Fa(o)llies.” You can get complete details at the class registration on September 3, to be held in conjunction with the WMSC Annual Meeting. We truly hope to see you there.

Characters in a scene from one of last year’s plays, “Who Murdered Who:”  Jim McLean, Rosabelle Tifft, Mark Antell and Lorrie Hoeh. Plans are underway to produce three comedy plays for this fall’s performance.        photo L. Hoeh 

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Photos from "Yellowstone in Winter"

The following photos are from Lynne Zimmerman's May 20th Down Home Maine presentation. Lynne and her husband Roger lead cross country skiing trips in Yellowstone National Park.

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with Lower Falls
Hot spring in Geyser Basin
Old Faithful
Appalachian Mountain Club group led by Roger & Lynne
Mammoth Hot Springs
View from Mammoth Hot Springs looking toward hotel

photos by Roger Zimmerman

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, May 26, 2014

WMSC Has a Facebook Page!

We are on Facebook! We're hoping to let those in our community who are not (yet) members know what we're all about. If you are a Facebook user, please go to our page and “like” us. Then, invite all your Facebook friends who you think should know about the college to like WMSC as well. To get to the WMSC Facebook page click It's amazing how fast the word can spread! 

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Photos from the Spring Drawing and Painting Class

Suzanne Taylor, class facilitator, gives suggestions to Freda Davis and Roma Wilson as they sketch a still life.    photo Lee Smith
Harriet Gilpatrick, Wendy Hutchins, Denise Hurd and Pam Berry concentrate on their work.  Harriet sketches the small toy pig and Wendy the crock of flowers, while  Denise paints an off-camera still life and Pam Berry consults a reference on drawing. Working simultaneously on a variety of projects is typical of our open studio class, which is open to all, from the beginner to the experienced artist.   photo Lee Smith
Diane McMahon draws a small turtle; Kathleen DeVore works on painting folds of fabric.  photo Lee Smith
By special request Pam Berry, a retired middle school art teacher, leads a class on color mixing.  photo Wendy Hutchins
The class follows Pam's instructions for making a color wheel.  photo Wendy Hutchins
Freda and Roma work on their color wheels while Pam looks on.  photo Wendy Hutchins
Denise shows the class her watercolor "The Pussy Willows."   photo Lee Smith

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, May 5, 2014

Telstar Teacher Appreciation Luncheon

by Nancy Davis 

Remember the Telstar-Community Partnership mentioned in past blogs? It’s a network of THS staff members and local community resource people working together to provide educational resources to Telstar teachers and students. The planning committee has compiled both a list of needs as identified by Telstar teachers and a directory of local citizens who wish to share their education, experiences, and interests to enhance curricular and co-curricular activities. Well, so far only a handful of you WMSC members have volunteered for the resource list, and we know there are more of you very talented people out there! Won’t you join Al Cressy, Nancy Davis, Jim Bebko, Ruth Bebko, Lee Smith and Steve Smith on the list? (There are, of course, non-WMSC folks on the list as well.)

We will be gearing up during the summer for the fall term, hoping to match up teacher needs and volunteer willingness. In the meantime, the Partnership team sponsored a luncheon on May 1 to thank Telstar High School staff for their dedicated efforts with students. It was a lot of fun, both for teachers and for community members William Andrews, Allen Cressy, Rosemary Laban, Nancy Davis, Mike Broderick, Rick Churchill, Rodney Harrington, Bruce Edwards, and Jim Bebko.

Remember, the ways you might be able to help out are limitless; just a few: giving talks, consulting with teachers on projects, serving as chaperones on educational tours, arranging visits to cultural institutions, tutoring individual students, and offering other kinds of educational support. Community members who wish to help in these endeavors may contact Allen Cressy for more information or to be added to the Resource Directory ( or 824-0508).

Here are a few photos taken by Rick Churchill at the Telstar Teacher Appreciation Luncheon.

William Andrews giving welcome remarks, with Rodney Harrington in plaid.

Volunteers Al Cressy and Bruce Edwards, with THS teacher John Eliot.

Volunteer Nancy Davis talking with teacher Susan Owens, Mike Broderick and Bruce Edwards in the background.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, April 21, 2014

First WMSC Brown Bag a Success

By Lee Smith
Marvin Ouwinga, Karen Mills and Nancy Davis   (photo L. Smith)
An outstanding Brown Bag “course” on Islam was guided by Marvin Ouwinga on April 17. In only 90 minutes Marvin masterfully presented a Reader’s Guide version of the development of the religion, the split between Sunni and Shia, and the epitome of Islamic culture hundreds of years ago, and introduced the present-day relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims, with wide variance across the globe. The 15 participants (including some from the Norway area) were quite engaged, resulting in interesting discussion, especially regarding the potential for the future – either continued schism between the West and Islam or moderation and accommodation. The Bethel Inn had graciously opened their library, an excellent setting with good acoustics and comfortable seating. There was general agreement that the Brown Bag format was an excellent one and that there should be additional ones. Watch next fall for the second in the series, which is open to the public free of charge. If you have any ideas for topics or facilitators, you may contact Nancy Davis (; 207-381-1110). We are looking for current topics or other discussion themes that may be suggested - as this one was - by a popular WMSC class.

Some of the Brown Bag attendees  (photo L. Smith)

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bladder Health and Changes: From Sneezes to Kegles

by Rosabelle Tifft

Speaker Cathy Heffernan
Cathy Heffernan, CNM, MSN, told an audience of over two dozen women at a recent To Your Health program that bladder control issues are not a normal part of aging. Cathy, a Certified Midwife with a Master’s Degree in Nursing, has over 30 years’ experience in women’s health care.

In her talk, Cathy explained what women need to know about their bladders. She discussed risk factors for incontinence or prolapse and different types of remedies that medicine might offer. She emphasized that strength is the foundation for good bladder health. Pelvic muscle exercises, known as “kegels,” are resistance exercises for preventive care or problems, and women should follow them regularly for good bladder health. Cathy explained how women can learn to do these exercises, how often they should be done, and how they can help with bladder issues. She also covered other interventions beyond kegels.

As indicated in the evaluations, the program was well received by participants who found it very interesting and educational. An up-to-date reprint covering kegel exercises was available for participants; additional copies of this handout are available in the Adult Ed Office at Telstar for interested persons unable to attend.

The program was sponsored by To Your Health of WMSC with the collaboration of Bethel Family Health Center and MSAD#44 Adult Education.

Ellen Crocker introduces TYH program
Rosabelle Tifft, Judy Whitman, Cathy Heffernan, Ellen Crocker and Jan Stowell

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mozart’s Great Mass in C

by Iris Roberts 

Although Mozart’s works are among my all-time favorites, I have never developed an interest in the history of his ouvre. However, after having attended Tom Davis’s introduction to the “Great Mass in C Minor” and then attending the live presentation of the mass at the Franco Center in Lewiston on March 30, I feel a new page turning in my own education that is most satisfying.

Tom placed Mozart in context with Bach, Handel, Haydn, and Beethoven. This overview was helpful in identifying influences on Mozart. As we listened to a recording, there they were, unmistakably: Bach, Vivaldi and Handel! Tom also helped us to understand how deeply spiritual the whole was, and how innovative using brass instruments was for a church work at that time. The very structure of the whole was an amalgam of a missa brevis and a "high mass,” with the text from the Ordinary alone but written with a grand sound intended—with double chorus, solo instruments, four soloists, and the insertion of a pastoral dance style into the Credo. Perhaps this overabundance of innovation is what caused the piece to be misunderstood in Mozart’s time and why it was never finished.

I was entranced by the recording and Tom’s presentation, and could hardly wait for the live performance! Recalling the movie Amadeus, I did wonder whether the several reverences to “too many notes” in that film would apply to this composition, performed live.

The Franco Center was more enchanting than I expected. With ascending theater seats filling what had once been a church’s nave, the whole area was filled with natural light. What a lovely, interesting performance venue for a rainy New England Sunday in early spring! At the appointed time, members of the Androscoggin Chorale filed into the former chancel to join the Maine Music Society Chamber Orchestra. As soloists took their seats, an air of anticipation filed the place, and after generous applause for sponsors, director John Corrie entered. He radiated warmth, approachable confidence, and knowledge. His remarks about the work reinforced what we had learned earlier.

The baton went up, and this wonderful director, channeling all those notes into a whole of so many harmonious complexities, gave an uplifting glimpse into one of the greatest musical minds ever. I felt that Mozart was sending his very soul to reach for something beyond himself, and this director and these musicians took the audience with them to that place. They sustained an intensity from the softest pianissimo to the most powerful forte. This shared emotional connection is what makes live performances so fulfilling. The audience’s only response: a spontaneous standing ovation to express our return gift of appreciation to the director and the performers.

How fortunate we are in Western Maine to have opportunities like this! I, and I’m sure many others, hold the deepest appreciation for so many people who, collectively, made this beautiful afternoon possible. 

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, March 16, 2014

South American Adventure

by Kay Larson

Having lived and traveled internationally, I had been watching for an opportunity to explore a new area of the world when I read in the WMSC blog last fall about a group initiated within the Sunrise Senior College (Down East Maine) to tour Peru (including Macho Picchu) and Ecuador (including the Galapagos Islands) the last half of January. As I researched the details, I was attracted to the elements of learning and discovery (similar to those reported by Bonnie Marien in a recent blog about Cuba travel) by connecting with local people through guided school, home, and market visits. Unlike Bonnie, when I committed to the trip, I didn’t know any of the people I would be traveling with. No problem; with only 15 of us, we quickly became friends.

Several highlights for me are worth noting. I loved the physical and mental challenges of following the Inca Trail on a strenuous climb up to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu, and I welcomed the flexibility that tour participants could choose alternative experiences when more appropriate to their interests and abilities. One of my favorite memories of the trip is interacting through music with the youth of a special needs school as they performed their songs and dances for and with us. In the Galapagos, our naturalist introduced us to a new world of trusting wildlife (they trusting us, and we trusting them), including taking us snorkeling with sharks (granted, not much more than a foot long).

Some tour participants have already signed up for another Overseas Adventure Travel's tour to Africa, spotlighting a safari in the Tanzanian Serengeti National Park next February. If you're interested and would like more information contact Sunrise Senior College member Etta Abrahams (

Whether through Overseas Adventure Travel, who offered my trip, Road Scholar, some other travel agency, or a self-created tour, I think it would be great to make group travel a part of WMSC’s future. Please talk with me or others on the program committee if you have a vision of a great adventure, whether nearby or to distant lands.

To read more about this South American adventure in the March issue of the Maine Senior College Network Newsletter click on Sunrise and Friends' Adventure.

Experiencing Peruvian culture

The market in Urubamba, Peru - just look at that nutritious color!

Can't get enough of the awesome Incan mortarless stonework

A real "high" light: A view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate

Galapagos sea lions mellowing out

Older residents of the Galapagos Islands

Floral explosion on Galapagos farm

photos by Kay Larson

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