The experience of Chautauqua Institution is an experience of community. The grounds and facilities, our rules for land use and the attempts to minimize the use of cars, the efforts toward an understanding of shared space, and the increasing awareness of the environmental impact of practices are all pieces of the reality of the experience of community.
Almost two years ago, we began our discussions with Colonial Williamsburg about an ongoing series on the subject of emerging democracies. We felt that our two organizations could combine our resources to build a long-term public dialogue about the challenges to the emergence of democratic societies in our time.
Welcome to the opening ceremony of Chautauqua’s 2014 season, our 140th anniversary, and our 141st Season. Today’s ceremony is at once a respectful look back and a confident look forward. I ask you to think about the fact that others, people not unlike yourselves, have been gathering here, through these 14 decades, with a purpose similar to yours today.
Ginger Haskell has waited 20 years to graduate with the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle Class of 2013 — a century after her grandmother, Florence Earle Buek, graduated with the Class of 1913.
Haskell, a clinical psychologist with a master’s from Oxford University and a doctorate from the University of Alabama, is the president of the Class of 2013. The class members will be honored today as they receive their diplomas for fulfilling the requirements of the CLSC; all 178 members of the class have read at least 12 CLSC selections over the rough span of four years.
The Chautauquan Daily introduced the 1957 Season as it does all seasons: with familiar optimism and joy. W. Walter Braham, Chautauqua Institution president at the time, and Ralph McCallister, the vice president in charge of program and education at the Institution, outlined why they anticipated a “Summer Assembly Of ‘Extraordinary Success.’ ” There would be a full religious program and a gala event heralding the art association’s opening.
“Dr. Kershaw, Of TV Fame, Speaks Today,” a front-page headline announced. The article went on to explain that A.L. Kershaw was an Episcopal minister “who attained national prominence on the $64,000 Question TV program” and “will return to the Chautauqua platform today at 10:45 A.M. when he inaugurates the morning lecture series in the Amphitheater.” [CLICK "READ MORE" BELOW OR THE HEADLINE ABOVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO]
Good morning. Welcome to the opening ceremony for Chautauqua 2013.
Later this season we will produce a week’s discussion on the subject of “the pursuit of happiness.” Given the extraordinary time in which we live as measured by the abundance of nearly everything — information, products, experiences — happiness should be a foregone conclusion, a state widely shared in our society.
Director of Education and Youth Services Sherra Babcock spoke on the topic “Deepening Chautauqua’s Educational Impact” at the Week Eight Chautauqua Institution Trustees Porch Discussion.
The weekly topical discussions are held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays on the Hultquist Center porch.
Before opening up the discussion, Babcock gave an overview of programs that fall under the responsibility of the Department of Education and Youth Services.
This time of the season has a bittersweet quality. Our schools of the fine and performing arts and some of our professional arts ensembles are performing for the last time during the upcoming week. Throughout the season we have witnessed the many gifts of these companies. In particular, we have seen the arc of development of the festival dancers, the Music School Festival Orchestra, Chautauqua Theater Company, to cite only those featured in the next few days.
Saturday evening you can enjoy Shakespeare’s As You Like It at Bratton Theater at 6 p.m. and move swiftly on to the Amphitheater for the North Carolina Dance Theatre, our resident professional dance company, accompanied by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Grant Cooper, a newly minted American citizen.
It feels somewhat seamless to think of leaving the Forest of Arden within Bratton Theater for a stroll through Bestor Plaza to the Amphitheater, having just heard that in such a place we must find “tongues in tress, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones and good in everything.”
On Sunday evening, Institution President Thomas M. Becker delivered his annual address to members of the Bestor Society and various members of the Institution staff in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. This year, though the address was laced with the president’s traditional remarks, came a new element: the presentation of The Chautauqua Prize.
Chair of the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees George Snyder welcomed those present and began by recognizing Jack and Yvonne McCredie, chairs of the Chautauqua Fund.
The McCredies gave a brief update on the progress of the fund this season and reminded the audience that gifts from first-time donors will be matched dollar for dollar on Old First Night.
Saturday night in the Amphitheater, we will celebrate musical theater as the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, led by our own Stuart Chafetz, joins with the Chautauqua Opera Company’s Opera Apprentices and Studio Artists for a production they title, “Water Matters: Broadway — The Great Wet Way.” The music is from Gilbert and Sullivan, Kern and Hammerstein, Sondheim and Weidman, Lerner and Lowe — a “who’s who” of American musical theater. The extracts or the works’ themes relate to water. The vocal talents on display will be the eight Apprentice Artists who will carry the individual roles and the 18 Studio Artists supplying the choral work. All of those talented musicians were selected for this summer’s program by the opera company’s Artistic and General Director, Jay Lesenger, and his veteran team. Lesenger has a genuine gift for recognizing the combination of vocal talent and dramatic interpretation. He leads the company through an astonishingly rigorous eight-week schedule of rehearsals, recitals, opera productions, cabarets and performances such as Saturday night. It is the oldest continuous summer opera company in the country and a point of artistic pride for this community. Please join us for this joyful, beautiful and stylish concert in the Amphitheater.