Art For All
Opera lovers share performing arts collection with neighborsBy Jacqueline Kimball
Maris Grove, Erickson Living’s community in Delaware County, Pa., resounds with art: residents mount theater productions and musical programs, and their paintings, fiber arts, woodcraft, art glass, and photography are displayed throughout the campus.
So when Tom and Marlene Bodden asked about screening his DVD collection of operas for his neighbors, the idea fit right in. Jenn Allen, Maris Grove’s senior community resources manager, told him to give it a whirl.
His performing arts series began in 2007 by showing La Traviata in the Brinton Clubhouse living room. Now, at no charge, it also offers concerts, ballets, and classic films in Maris Grove’s Cardinal Theater.
Because the Boddens generously maintain a lending library of their DVDs, residents can also watch their favorites right at home.
Tom’s collection and equipment both have grown thanks to residents’ voluntary contributions.
And thanks to his eclectic tastes, audiences are experiencing operas they’d never heard of, such as Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt. “And they like it,” adds Marlene.
It’s similar with ballet. “People know Swan Lake,” says Tom, “but they overwhelmingly prefer Coppelia.”
The biggest draw? Elvis concerts!
The Boddens personally wired and installed an enhanced sound system in Cardinal Theater. The system enables Maris Grove’s performing arts committee to offer concert series programs—live performances simulcast in high definition from renowned American and European concert halls.
Concert series tickets cost a fraction of attending in person, and residents needn’t hassle with driving or parking.
Family and friends are welcome at performing arts and concert series programs. On April 14, 2013, the concert series will simulcast The Kirov Ballet’s production of Giselle.
Count Maris Grove’s series of lectures and short courses among its cultural offerings.
Such programs didn’t exist when Peggy Cairncross moved from Wilmington, Del. But when she joined Maris Grove’s fledgling education committee, things changed.
“In 2009, we offered two or three lectures,” she says, “and the first day we sold tickets, they went like hotcakes.”
A committee of 15 neighbors generates topics and speakers. Allen and Community Resources Coordinator Sally Christy serve as advisors. “Sally and Jenn really enjoy this, and they go online to different area schools and speakers bureaus for more ideas,” says Peggy.
History is a popular subject, but topics are as diverse as the committee members. Andrew Wyeth’s granddaughter’s personalized presentation about the local, well-known painter drew rave reviews.
“I even attend lectures that I don’t think will interest me, and they often turn out to be the best ones,” Peggy says. In fact, they’re so good she stopped attending the University of Delaware’s lifelong learning programs.
Maris Grove’s lecture series offers ten lectures each during spring and fall. Individual tickets cost $3; series tickets cost $20. Family and friends may attend, and tickets are transferrable.
The Feb. 14 lecture will be “The Orphan Train Movement.”
This spring, Widener University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program will offer two short courses at Maris Grove: “Bill of Rights” and “The American Past: Myth and Reality.”