Issue No. 114
The MSCN Newsletter

 Welcome to Your November 2019 Issue!

"The Mountain, Autumn" by Marsden Hartley

This month's newsletter has some great items to share with you.  The first is that Maine has officially been recognized as an "Age Friendly State." A status change that the AARP sees is "a major step toward making Maine more livable for people of every age." 

I also have an inspiring article written by Midcoast SC's Ellen Bennett, Ellen makes a wonderful case for choral classes

I also added a little about my contribution to a panel discussion at the "Age of Possibilities" Summit in New Hampshire. 

Happy November to you all and I hope you enjoy this month's newsletter.


Maine Receives 
"Age-Friendly State" Recognition

The following announcement was made on October 29th on the  State of Maine Office of Governor Janet.T. Mills website:

Governor Janet Mills and AARP Maine State Director Lori Parham announced today that the State of Maine has joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, a move hailed by AARP as a major step toward making Maine more livable for people of every age. The announcement was made before a crowd of state and municipal officials and statewide aging organizations at the Wescustogo North Yarmouth Community Center.

"Creating age-friendly, livable communities with walkable streets, safe and affordable housing, transportation and access to services will ensure that Maine people of all ages contribute to our state while living with dignity and comfort in the homes and communities they love," said Governor Mills. "With this designation, Maine now has access to critical data, technical advice, best practices and organizing tools to help us plan for the future in a thoughtful way and learn from a global network of partners to better serve older Mainers."

MidcoastSCSingersMidcoast Senior College

The Magic of Makin g Music with the Midcoast Senior College Singers
by Ellen Bennett

Choral director Stuart Gillespie leading the Midcoast Senior College Singers

Do you ever wonder why it is that all of the words to an old song or, perhaps embarrassingly, an old TV ad jingle, come back to you in an instant? But then you can't remember where you put your car keys or if you made that telephone call? Well, scientists have wondered the same. We know, especially among the Midcoast Senior College Singers, there is magic in our making music!

Interestingly, while many animals have the ability to sing, we as humans are the only species that can learn to sing. Why might this be so? One hypothesis is that singing became a way of connecting individuals to groups or communities. For sure, the Senior College choir is a collegial family of sixty musical participants, and for those of us who sing together, that feeling of group and social connectedness is strong.

A recent article in Time Magazine pursues yet another interesting avenue. It begins by reminding us that when we sing, vibrations move through us, and those vibrations effect changes, both physically and emotionally. When you sing as a group and share good vibrations (like the Beach Boys!) the positive effects are even stronger. And group singing is on the rise. 32.5 million adults sing in choirs, an increase of 10 million over the past decade.

Stuart Gillespie and MSC singers

So why do we go home after the MSC Singers class in such a good mood, and why does making mu sic have both a calming, as well as an energizing effect on people? Scientists have discovered that singing releases endorphins which are associated with feelings of pleasure. It also might be from ox ytocin, another hormone released during singing, which has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress. Oxytocin also enhances feelings of trust and bonding, which may explain why still more studies have found that singing lessens feelings of depression and loneliness.

And the benefits of singing regularly seem to be cumulative. In one study, singers were found to have lower levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress. Study after study has found that singing relieves anxiety and contributes to quality of life. There are rich social benefits as well, from widening your circle of friends, to boosting confidence and enhancing communication skills.

And finally, according according to research from the
University of Frankfurt, singing strengthens the immune system. Singing is a workout and improves posture. The MSC Singers have a motto: "Hearts High!" We begin every class with 15 minutes of vocal and physical exercises to improve the voice, which also improves our mental alertness by allowing more oxygen to reach the brain.

While science has revealed a host of positive effects of
singing, and it may not be "magic", for those of us reaping the benefits in the Senior College chorus, it sure feels like it!

Ellen Bennett is a singing student in the MSC  Singers class that features choral arrangements of folk  songs from the British Isles and North America

This article originally published in the June 2019 issue of the Midcoast Inquirer - Midcoast Senior College.
GoldLEAFThe Gold LEAF Institute at the University of Maine at Farmington

Gold LEAF Institute's 
Fall Kick-Off

The Gold LEAF fall kick-off event was a delight and a success on October 16, landing with perfect timing during peak leaf season! Presenters for the upcoming semester brought some very exciting new learning opportunities, ranging from geopolitical analyses and vital information for older Mainers to crafts, food, entertainment, outdoor activities, plus literature and music. Some ongoing discussion groups such as the Gold LEAF Writers and Views on the News, as well as Optimism in the 21st Century, continue to draw members who value ongoing updates and meaty peer discussions to stay on top of things!

Submitted by Jan Benschop, The Gold LEAF Institute at UMF

Tri-State Learning Collaborative on Aging  - Age of Possibilities Summit 

MSCN and Zoom

Next step for MSCN?
"Club holds radio dance wearing earphones" (1920)

In October, I was invited to be part of a breakout session addressing the topic of "Empowering and enabling aging-in-place through digital technologies." The occasion  was the  Age of Possibilities Summit  at the Grappone Center, Concord, NH. This gave me the opportunity to share how the network has been experimenting with online classes for the past four years. Small Zoom classes are working beautifully. The senior college on the USM Lewiston-Auburn campus (LASC) has successfully offered a range of online classes each semester this year. SAGE at the University of Maine in Presque Isle will be delivering their first Zoom class in February, 2020.

The LASC online classes are the result of the work being done by group of board members. The group, lead by Mary Jane Beardsley, is continuing to push the envelope by exploring how to transmit face to face classes to online participants. Mary Jane, an 81 year old retired librarian is on a mission, and for a good reason! She finds herself fending off pneumonia each winter and as a result is often unable to get to classes on campus. Mary Jane knows others are in the same boat for one reason or another, and she aims to make it possible for people who cannot attend physical classes to still be part of the action. Mary Jane also recognizes that small rural senior colleges often do not have access to well equipped, experienced IT departments. This has lead her (though she emphatically does not identify herself as a techie) into  exploring the use of basic consumer quality equipment to share classroom offerings with remote participants. Not a week goes by without a new discovery made by Mary Jane! She is currently wrestling with microphones, these have proved to be the biggest stumbling block as sound quality needs to be high quality for older  ears. Recently she sent me an email with the subject line "Microphone for zooming - I  may have found it!!??" (her exclamations!)

Stay tuned for updates! In the meantime, let yourself be inspired by the determined hands-on research that is being led by Mary Jane and her colleagues around the state. Their  dream is to make it possible for people to develop online community groups and for small colleges to share their classes and discussions with each other. 

The Age of Possibilities Summit was organized by The Tri-State Learning Collaborative on Aging. All senior colleges are encouraged to join the collaborative. Connect and potentially partner with other agencies working to create Age-Friendly Communities in your area.

Anne Cardale. Maine Senior College Network.

University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn Senior College Presents:

November Food for Thought Luncheon Series
"Second Generation / First Person: History, Memory and Poetry."
Presenter: Anna Wrobel

Food for Thought Luncheon
Friday, November 8, at Noon 

Anna Wrobel

Senior College at USM/LA is delighted to have Anna Wrobel as the November speaker at Food for Thought on Friday Nov.8, at 12:00 PM at the USM/LA campus. The presentation will last approximately one hour.

The date is very close to Kirstallnacht, the night and day in 1938 when the Nazi regime made its first full assault on the Jews of Germany before the war began. So, Anna will merge the use of history and original poetry in a program called: Second Generation / First Person: History, Memory and Poetry. Poetry is used to transmit historical context, personal memoir, and impacts upon generations.

Anna was born in Brooklyn, raised in the Bronx, is an American historian, teacher, poet, daughter of post-WWII refugees and Holocaust Studies educator. Her poetry of witness appears in Café Review, Lilith, Off the Coast and Jewish Currents, where she is a contributing writer. Anna has two poetry collections, Marengo Street (2012) and The Arrangement of Things (2018), published by Maine's own Moon Pie Press. Her poetry appeared in University of Maine's Holocaust Human Rights Center art and poetry exhibit, Dilemma of Memory, and she's presented for the Puffin Foundation on Jewish resistance in WWII.

Anna does history and poetry education in a variety of venues from high schools and colleges to adult and senior education. Her work as historian/poet/teacher has been featured at the Maine Jewish Museum, Colby College, UMaine-Augusta, University of Maine's OLLI courses and the OLLI Sage Lectures series. Anna teaches United States history at elder residences in southern Maine. Poems, taken from her manuscript Sparrow Feathers, are used by teachers in several U.S. states, Poland, Germany and Israel. Anna co-hosts the long-running poetry series, Lowry's Lodge, with musician/writer Jim Donnelly.

Food for Thought will begin promptly at noon in room 170. The lecture is free and open to the public, but if you would also like to have lunch, please call 207-753-6510 to sign up by Wed. 11/6/19. The doors will open at 11:30.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Southern Maine, Portland campus

SAGE 2019 Fall Lecture Series
Lecture Times: 9:30 - 11:30
Location: Hannaford Hall 

Walk-in seating for individual lectures is $10 at the door for each lecture at Hannaford Hall

November 5 

Keeping Portland The Forest City
Jeff Tarling,  City of Portland City  Arborist/Forestry & Horticulture Manager 
From our historic heritage trees to our new plantings, learn how Portland has planned and cared for our trees, parks, and green spaces.
View of State Street, Portland, Maine circa 1906 ( Postcard)

November 12 
Be heartened and amazed as Abdi tells how he beat 600-1 odds to obtain a green card to enter the USA. 

SAGE eight-week lecture series are held each fall and spring, exploring new dimensions in the arts, sciences, history, culture, business, recreation, and current events. Lectures are presented by experts in their fields and are held in Hannaford Hall in the Abromson Community Education Center on USM's Portland campus.

Download Flyer (pdf)

UMAJewettConcertsUniversity of Maine in Augusta Senior College Present

Concerts at Jewett
An Afternoon with Paul Sullivan
Sunday, November 17.  2:00 - 4:00 pm  
UMA Jewett Auditorium

Paul Sullivan

Grammy Award winner Paul Sullivan has enjoyed a richly varied and distinguished career as a composer and a pianist.

He has performed in Carnegie Hall, Siberia, and Leonard Bernstein's living room. He has written scores for dance companies (including Pilobolus and the Rockettes), played in many of New York's most famous jazz clubs, and taught music at both Yale University and the Brooklin, ME elementary school. He has released 20 CDs, and was awarded a Grammy in 2006 for his work with the Paul Winter Consort.

Best of all, Paul and his wife live in Maine.

Purchase your ticket online at the Concerts at Jewett website.

Western Mountains Senior College Present:

The Senior College Players 
Friday, November 22 and 
Saturday,  November 23; 7:00 pm; 
McLaughlin Auditorium, Gould Academy, Bethel

"The Pie Ladies" of the Western Mountains!

It's that time again. Time for the Senior College Players annual production. This year's main course is "The Pie Ladies" by Sherry Piros. When the ladies who bake the pies for the church supper go beyond the standard apple, blueberry and cherry pies, things can go almost anywhere. The cast includes Marianne Goff-Dumont, Lorrie Hoeh, Gretchen Motts, Bridget Remington and Rosabelle Tifft as the pie ladies. They're visited by Tim LeConey as the local pastor, Melinda Remington as a new arrival in town, and Jack Kuchta as a reporter for the local newspaper. Let's just say the ladies make a lot more than pie, or perhaps we could say they make some "pie in the sky" dreams.

And that's not all!
A double treat from pla ywright Jim Gordon gives us some interesting twists. "Untitled Number Two" with Lorrie Hoeh and Rosabelle Tifft remind us that art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Tim LeConey gets a Christmas surprise from Marianne Goff-Dumont and Melinda Remington in "A Christmas Fantasy."

WMSC will be channeling the "Carol Burnette Show!"
Topping off the evening, we take a look at a skit from the "Carol Burnette Show." Jack Kuchta and Bridget Remington bring "Passion on 10th Avenue" despite intrusions by Gretchen Motts and Melinda Remington.

Ray Leghart is the facilitator for this year's production. Plan to join us at Gould's McLaughlin Auditorium on November 22 and 23, 7:00 pm. Senior College Players is a course offered by Western Mountains Senior College. Admission is free but donations are accepted to offset royalty fees.

Visit the  Western Mountains Blog for more news.

Plan Ahead - Save the Date! 
Coming in 2020! 

MSCN 2020 Statewide Conference

"2020 Vision for Maine's Senior Colleges"
May 2, 2020.

  • Thanks to the generosity of the University of Maine Hutchinson Center and the Senior College at Belfast we will be holding a statewide conference at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center on May 2, 2020. 

The MSCN newsletter is sent to each Senior College board. The boards then forward the newsletter to their membership. However, if you are not a member of a Senior College or perhaps you are, and you simply want the news "hot off the press" subscribe here! 
Newsletter Submissions Deadline Date:
The end of each month.

Submit your articles and photographs to Anne Cardale at .

Like MSCN on Facebook

Facebook logo Now you can "like" Maine Senior College Network on Facebook . We've created an MSCN page on Facebook, so please visit it to share experiences, ideas, photos, and information about upcoming Maine Senior College happenings. We'll also post links to articles about lifelong learning and other topics relevant to senior college members.


Images Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Maine Senior College Network is a program of the  

Maine Senior College Network

Acadia Senior College

Augusta Senior College
Coastal Senior College

Downeast Senior College

Gold LEAF Institute

South Coast Senior College

Midcoast Senior College

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Penobscot Valley Senior College


Senior College at Belfast

St. John Valley Senior College

Sunrise Senior College 
Western Mountains Senior College

York County Senior College
MSCN Promotional Videos

Featured Article
What action, if any, do you want your members to take? Add a "Find out more" link to additional information that you may have hosted on your website.
Maine Senior Guide is a comprehensive web resource about all things senior that provides "one stop shopping" for Maine's seniors at the link below: 

Contact Information
Maine Senior College Network 
P.O. Box 9300 
Portland, Maine 04104-9300 
(207) 228-4128


Trouble opening our pdfs?

Adobe Reader Icon

Download Adobe Reader by clicking the button above.
Join Our Mailing List