Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Scant Week at Chautauqua

If you are thinking there is something familiar about this dancer, you are right. The group at the top of my blog dances outside the Hall of Mission at The Chautauqua Institution. This wonderful soloist performs somewhere between the Amphitheater and the Hall of Philosophy, on the brick walk.

We hadn't planned on a major vacation of any kind this summer; we had spent some money having central air conditioning installed and decided that a couple of trips to visit offspring and possibly a Cape May weekend would be our vacation.

Then we found out that Chautauqua had a special program for 55+ -- gate passes, dormitory accommodations, breakfasts and lunches, for Week 9 of the season, Sunday through Sunday, all included. The theme for the week was Health Care: From Bench to Bedside. We decided to go for it, even though I had to work the Saturday preceding and the Saturday at the end of the week. We felt a truncated experience was better than none.

The accommodations were at the North end of the campus, a good mile's walk from the Amphitheater; twin-bedded rooms, very comfortable, sharing a bath with one other room. The meals were very, very good for institutional food, with lots of fresh vegetables and a couple of choices for each meal. The shared bath turned out to be awkward, but we managed. Joe sailed and painted. I attended lectures and read. We both relaxed, napped, and attended evening programs. We decided that although the program had very good value for the money, we both preferred to be closer to the plaza, more in the thick of things, and probably will not repeat the experience.

We heard the Chautauqua Symphony once, went to see "Chef" at the Cinema, got together off campus with an old friend we hadn't seen in 30-some years, and learned about adolescent hospice and palliative care, childhood trauma, advances in nursing, cardiac wellness, efforts to have various medical disciplines communicate and research together, African perspectives on death; we saw a group called Dancing Wheels.

One of the best evening entertainment offerings was a group of Beatles impersonators. They were tireless, presenting song after song after SONG, and urging the audience to sing along. At one point I looked out and saw all these white-haired people singing at the tops of their voices, "We all live in a yellow submarine," and thought it to be comical. But all too soon the group began "Hey Jude," and Joe and I found ourselves belting out "Na, na na, na-na-na NA," and feeling ridiculously sentimental. Our kids would have been amazed.


Janet O. said...

Interesting experience--and you really had me smiling, and singing along, in the end!

Quiltdivajulie said...

People voluntarily singing (!) together ... Great moments!

Barbara Anne said...

I thought you and Joe must be out and about somewhere since your posts weren't so frequent - and 'tis the season for travel.

What an interesting program and venue you found to attend! Live and learn as they say.

Funny you had a Beatles impersonators and songs program. Friday night we watched an old taped copy of "A Hard Day's Night" we have and had a bit of a sing-along ourselves. I was thunderstruck to realize I'd know those songs for 50 years. A half century. I thought I'd be taller by now ...


Anonymous said...

I still have all the albums, on CD, and sometimes sing along around the house. It's what we liked, and I still like it. =) It sounds like a relaxing week. I would have loved going just to laze about and do handwork. =)