Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

Oliver Wolcott Library
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About OWL




Tuesdays, November 6 through 27
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

OWL Writes:
The Craft of Setting & Description
with Librarian Patricia Moore

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OWL Writes combines online learning, writing prompts, and the sharing and discussion of those writing samples. Each week, we will watch a 30 minute lecture by Amity Gaige, then we will write for 30 minutes using the tools we learned in that day’s lecture, and the final 30 minutes of each session will be spent sharing our work. Join Adult Services Librarian Patricia Moore as she facilitates this course.

In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to the techniques that masters of fiction use to ground a story in a concrete world. From the most realist settings to the most fantastical, we will learn how to describe the physical world in sharp, sensory detail. We will also learn how to build credibility through research, and to use creative meditation exercises to deepen our own understanding of our story worlds, so that our readers can see all that we imagine.

On video, Amity Gaige will be the writer/professor who leads the online courses. Amity is the author of three novels: O My Darling, The Folded World, and Schroder, which was shortlisted for The Folio Prize in 2014 and named one of the best books of 2013 by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post and many others. Gaige is also the winner of a Fulbright Fellowship, fellowships at the MacDowell and Yaddo colonies, and a Baltic Writing Residency. Her short stories, essays and reviews have appeared in publications such as The Guardian, The New York Times, the Literary Review and others. She is currently a visiting writer at Amherst College.

Registration is Required



Tuesday, November 13
7:00 - 8:o0 p.m.

German Occupation of Paris:
Personal Recollections from the
Daughter of a French Resistant
with Denise Woehrle

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Join us for a very special evening with Denise Woehrlé who will recount her experiences and reflections of her formative years, during World War II. Karen Pasternak, daughter of Denise, will facilitate this conversation.

Paris, early 1940s. The atmosphere in Paris during the German occupation left indelible memories in the mind of a young girl. Her father’s central involvement in the French Resistance, her and her mother’s subsequent arrest by the Gestapo, her time in prison and her fortunate survival in unlikely circumstances, have all shaped her perception of life.

Denise was awarded a medal from the French Ministry of Defense, as a civilian soldier of the French Forces (Soldat sans uniforme des Forces Françaises Combattantes). She was a witness at the War Trials of 1952, and stood tall as she helped to indict several high-ranking collaborators as seen in the photograph above.

Denise Woehrlé was born and raised in Paris, France. She later moved to Geneva, Switzerland to raise her family. She held a prominent role as an animal rights activist and participated in humanitarian causes. Denise traveled the world and especially in India. She moved to the United States in the last 10 years to be close to her daughter.

Registration is Required



Wednesday, November 14
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Leonard Bernstein: Rise to Fame
Presented by Jeffrey Engel 

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Join us for this lively lecture presentation on Leonard Bernstein’s rise to fame, and celebrate the centenary of Bernstein’s birth. Many believe Bernstein was the most gifted, famous, popular and successful musician produced by America. He was a virtuoso pianist and conductor, a composer of music ranging from Broadway musicals to the classical repertory, an educator, a lecturer, an author and a TV personality. There was very little he couldn’t do extremely well.

Jeffrey Engel has been giving lectures devoted to music history for more than twenty years. He believes that such lectures should be entertaining as well as informative. To that end, his explanations are never too technical and he infuses his material with amusing anecdotes and musical illustrations.

Jeffrey Engel graduated from Ithaca College in New York. He lived in Paris for fourteen years where he studied cello, art history at the Sorbonne, and earned diplomas in French language. As a cellist, he played with numerous orchestras in France including that of the Paris Opera, performed in chamber ensembles and taught in municipal conservatories. Since 2004 Mr. Engel has taught at Northwestern Connecticut Community College. Visit his website at jeffreyengel.net

Registration is Required



December 3 through 17
12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

Monday Scholars:
An Introduction to Italian Opera

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Monday Scholars is a weekly series that combines the best of online learning with classroom discussion. Each week a new lecture topic is watched and discussed. All you need to do is come ready to engage your mind and participate in the discussion. Join Adult Service Librarian Patricia Moore as she facilitates this course.

Do you have an interest in opera but aren’t quite sure where to start? During the month of December the OWL Monday Scholars will learn about the Bel Canto era of Italian Opera with a specific focus on the operas of Guiseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini. It is the perfect introduction for the nascent opera fan. 

This will be our first Monday Scholars course to use the edX platform, an online learning tool used by Harvard University, MIT, Berkeley, and other prestigious universities. An Introduction to Italian Opera is a course created by Dartmouth. On video, Steve Swayne will teach this course. Professor Swayne is the Jacob H. Strauss 1922 Professor of Music at Dartmouth College. He received his AB from Occidental College and his MA and PhD from University of California at Berkeley. 

During this three week course we will learn about the bel canto style of operatic singing, enjoy an introduction to the beloved opera composers Verdi and Puccini, and then watch and discuss excerpts from their operas. We will close the course with a fun finale that shows many of the ways that Italian opera has permeated modern popular culture. Please, join us!

Registration is Required



Thursday, December 6
7:00 - 8:o0 p.m.

The Man Who Forever Changed a Town:
a True WWII Story
with Author Peter Lion

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In the small, farming town of Eschweiler, Luxembourg sits the only church in the world dedicated to the memory of a single, American soldier. That solider was George Mergenthaler. This is his story.

On November 17, 1944, at the height of WWII, George Mergenthaler, an only son and heir to a family fortune, arrived in the war torn town of Eschweiler. A solider with the 28th Cavalry Recon Troop, George and the rest of the Recon Troop lived amongst the townspeople for the next four weeks, sharing their homes, their meals, their holidays, their hopes and their dreams… becoming family.

In mid-December, the German army launched a surprise attack through the Ardennes Forest. The Battle of the Bulge had begun. Two days after the attack started, the town was nearly surrounded by the swift moving German assault. The GIs were forced to withdraw from Eschweiler on December 18th in a move that would forever change the town and the lives of the people who live there.

Peter Lion studied Journalism, Communications and English at Southern Connecticut State University before embarking on a career in television where he became a seven-time EMMY winning Producer/Director. His previous novel, American St. Nick, recounts how during the darkest days of World War II, a handful of American soldiers helped bring the Christmas spirit back to the children of war-weary Wiltz, Luxembourg. Visit his website at: mergbook.com.

Registration is Required
A wine & cheese reception will follow. 
The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing



Sunday, December 9
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

American Voices:
The Poems of Mary Oliver
wit Jim Kelleher

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Join Jim Kelleher as he explores the works of Mary Oliver.

Known for her clear and poignant observations and evocative use of the natural world, Mary Oliver’s poetry is firmly rooted in place and the Romantic nature tradition. She has been compared to Emily Dickinson, and enjoys a reputation among her peers as a person who did not sell out but put her life squarely on her poetry. Oliver has received numerous awards over the course of her long and illustrious career. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984.

A reading packet of the selected poems will be available about four weeks before the discussion. It is strongly encouraged that all attendees read the selected poems before the discussion. The packets will be available at the library to take home.

The New York Times recently acknowledged Mary Oliver as “far and away, this country’s best-selling poet.”

Jim Kelleher has published three books of poetry: Quarry, Mick, A Celestial Drama, and Selected Poems. Individual poems have been published in Yankee, The Christian Science Monitor, Fine Homebuilding, The Country And Abroad, and more. Jim is a full-time Tech Ed teacher at Torrington Middle School, and an adjunct at Northwestern CT Community College, where he teaches literature and composition.

Registration is Required



Wednesday, December 12
6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

 The Cookbook Club
Holiday Cookie Swap

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The OWL Cookbook Club wants to simplify your holiday baking! Join Librarians Patricia Moore and Jordan McCorison as they host the Cookbook Club’s Holiday Cookie Swap Party. Be inspired by one of our recommended holiday cookbooks or bring a batch of your holiday favorite cookies or brownies. Come prepared to tell us what inspired you or share why your cookie is a family favorite.

We will sample our delicious treats, then swap and package some to take home. Patricia and Jordan will provide festive take-home boxes to package our treats. Everyone leaves with a wonderful assortment of holiday cookies -- and plenty of new recipes for the holidays!

Each baker, please bring the recipe you used and we will make copies to share. Check out our display of recommended holiday cookbooks beginning a month before the event.

Join us and make your holiday season sweet!

Registration is Required



Thursday, December 13
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

 Have a Jazzy Holiday
with The Pierce Campbell Duo

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The Pierce Campbell Jazz Duo will perform classic holiday songs for the Christmas season from artists like Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Jose Feliciano, Tony Bennett and the Peanuts Gang. Guaranteed to have you smiling and singing along!

The Pierce Campbell Jazz Duo features Pierce Campbell, a former Connecticut State Troubadour, on guitar and vocals, and Loren Evarts on keyboards. They perform vocal jazz classics, modern pop jazz and originals. They have an energy and sound that engages all audiences with excellent vocals and strong improvisation. You get the best jazz has to offer with this dynamic duo.

Registration is Required

























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