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From art to science, Chautauqua will showcase St. Kate’s

The Irish Ceili will feature music by the Twin Cities group Barra.
The Irish Ceili will feature music by the Twin Cities group Barra.
Photo by Dave Hendrickson

St. Catherine University is presenting a first-ever Summer Chautauqua, a unique offering that will draw alumnae back to campus and gather neighbors for laughter and learning. The 10-day event, from Aug. 3 through 12, is being sponsored by the Office of Alumnae Relations and the College of Applied and Continuing Learning.

In the tradition of summer adult enrichment and cultural offerings, a variety of classes will showcase the breadth of scholarship and expertise offered by St. Kate’s renowned professors, talented staff and knowledgeable alumnae.

Do you still have that novel inside you, yearning to be published? Itching to move your body and learn the tango or salsa dancing? Concerned about social issues such as race relations or bullying? Interested in sharpening your golf game? Or are you a closet scientist who hungers to understand molecular structure and nuclear magnetic resonance?

From the scholar, poet or artist to the architect, scientist or social-justice advocate — everyone will find something at St. Kate’s Summer Chautauqua.

The Chautauqua also features a variety of free or low-cost events including Poetry in the Parlor; podcasts of some of the speakers that St. Kate’s featured this past academic year, including Catholic journalist John L. Allen, Jr., Professor of Theology Russ Connors and Iranian-American author and professor Azar Nafisi; and  Zumba®, a popular Latin-inspired dance fitness program.

Dancing the Night Away

An Irish Ceili kicks off the Chautauqua on Wednesday, Aug. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m.  Music is provided by the Twin Cities group Barra, with dance caller Ann Wiberg.

A ceili (pronounced KAY-lee) is a traditional Irish gathering of fun and fellowship.  The event is family-friendly, and children are welcome to attend.

Barra members include Paul Garding on guitar and vocals, Deborah Martin on fiddle, John McCormick on accordion and vocals, Dave Cammack on bodhran and accordion, and Amy Shaw on flute. Shaw is an associate professor of library, and systems/music librarian at St. Kate’s.

History of Chautauqua

Chautauqua is an adult education movement in the United States, and was highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The very first Chautauqua, known as the “Mother Chautauqua,” was organized in 1874 by Methodist minister John Heyl Vincent and businessman Lewis Miller at a campsite on Chautauqua Lake in New York State.

The Chautauqua traditionally brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, providing speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, religious leaders and experts of the day. Independent and traveling or “circuit” Chautauqua events were held throughout the United States, primarily in rural areas where easy access to arts and culture was limited.

While the Chautauqua movement wound down by 1940 as automobiles, radio and movie theaters brought the world to more remote areas, popular Chautauqua gatherings continue to this day throughout the country, including on the shores of Chautauqua Lake where the Mother Chautauqua was held.

The tradition fits with St. Kate’s efforts to provide lifelong learning opportunities for alumnae. Over the past several years, the Office of Alumnae Relations has held one-time evening classes and other events. The Chautauqua offerings are decidedly more ambitious.

“We wanted to offer our lifelong learning classes over a 10-day period where alumnae, neighbors and friends could have an intellectual, cultural, fun summer in-town vacation on our St. Paul campus,” says Alumnae Relations Program Manager Christine F. Klejbuk ’71. “We thought that using the historical background of a Chautauqua was a wonderful way to present a variety of educational offerings to the community within a limited time frame.”

Class and Event Registration

Contemporary and timely, most classes for Summer Chautauqua 2011 will be two hours and provide an atmosphere for interaction and camaraderie. Chautauqua offerings are open to alumnae, students, faculty, staff and the greater community.

The cost is $20 per class for one or two classes, $15 per class for three to seven classes and $12 per class for eight or more classes. Event tickets for the ceili are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Zumba® classes are $10. Poetry readings and podcasts are free.

Registration brochures will be mailed to alumnae and St. Paul campus neighbors by the first week in July. Click here for more information or to request a brochure.

June 8, 2011 by Sharon Rolenc

See also: Alumnae/i