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January 2024 Newsletter

The Inside Scoop

Welcome to The Inside Scoop, our electronic newsletter. Please enjoy this issue and share your feedback by email. We always look forward to hearing from you. This is the January 2024 edition of The Inside Scoop.

Spring 2024 Semester Fast Approaching!

We are so excited about the upcoming spring semester! Spring 2024 offers our members 35 compelling courses, with 27 of those being brand new. There will be 16 in-person classes and 15 are virtual via Zoom. Four of the classes are hybrid offerings available for both in-person and virtual participation simultaneously. Browse the catalog here. If you’d like an easy way to see all the courses by day, here’s the calendar view. All of our listings clearly state whether a class is virtual or in-person.

Thank you to the Academic Programs Committee for all their work arranging these wonderful courses.

Please join us for the Spring Course Preview  on Thursday, February 1 at 9:30 AM.

Course registration begins at 10:00 AM on Monday, February 5

Know that you can register anytime after 10:00 AM on February 5 but some courses do fill-up early. Login before registration is open and make sure your username and password are ready to go.

With both in-person and virtual courses being offered, we encourage you to select which format you feel is most comfortable and beneficial for you.

Some Spring Course Highlights

Jeanne LaBella and Deb Spero, co-chairs of the Academic Programs Committee, report that they are thrilled with the lineup for spring:

“We are so excited with the mix of classes in every area, from theater to history to literature, to science and technology and politics…and we have a great array of both our favorite returning instructors and some brand new faces. The only problem will be how to decide which classes to take!”

As you look over at our course catalog, you’ll discover exciting new options and returning favorites. Responding to your feedback, we’re thrilled to present Introduction to Birding for the first time along with very timely and relevant offerings including:

We’re pleased to announce that three of our courses will be recorded this spring, offering an asynchronous option for those with scheduling constraints. Instructors will conduct live sessions, either virtually or in-person, with recordings available afterward to registered students. If you are interested in courses with an asynchronous option, check out

We plan to arrange broadcasting select virtual courses live from a classroom at GMU. This will include longtime favorite Global Hot Spots and other virtual courses based on interest and those that are adjoined to in-person classes at GMU. If this appeals to you, please let us know at info@encorelearning.net. We intend to send out a sign-up link to registered students in mid-February so we can confirm the rooms necessary.

We invite you to join Jeanne, Deb, and the entire Encore Learning team at the Spring Course Preview on Zoom on Thursday, February 1 at 9:30 AM to learn more about the spring term. In the meantime checkout our course catalog, course calendar, course grid, and general course information online.

Mark your calendars – course registration opens February 5 at 10:00 AM!

Get More Out of Your Class

Be a Class Aide!

Have you ever wondered how our classes run so smoothly, both in-person and virtually? It’s because of our amazing Class Aides!

Won’t you consider becoming one? Some of the benefits to you are:

  • Credit for one free course (for virtual Class Aides)
  • Free parking (for in-person Class Aides)
  • Meet new people
  • Learn new technology
  • Contribute to a great nonprofit

All Class Aides receive full training and are guaranteed enrollment in the class they are assisting. Click here to select the classes for which you are willing to be the Class Aide. Email courses@encorelearning.net for more information or to volunteer.

New Board Member Profile: Jean Falvey

We are pleased to welcome Encore Learning member Jean Falvey to our Board of Directors as Chair of the Membership Committee. Jean kindly answered a few questions to help us get to know her a little better.

How long have you been an Encore Learning member? Since 2019.

-What made you decide to join the Board? Encore Learning provides lifelong learning to engage, entertain, and enrich peoples’ lives. That’s a mission I absolutely support. I’ve long worked in the nonprofit sector as an executive director and fundraising consultant so I thought its mission was a good fit with my interests and experience.

-What is your favorite thing about Encore Learning?  Encore Learning makes it easy to learn something new or dig deeper into a topic and meet new friends. Plus, during the pandemic, I was able to travel and visit museums across the U.S. and the world thanks to Encore Learning’s Travel Club and Special Events virtual offerings!

-Where did you grow up? Fairfax County, Virginia. Go Lake Braddock Bruins!!

-What else do you do in your spare time, when you are not volunteering for Encore Learning?  I like to walk outside, read, knit, travel, and enjoy food and wine.

-What’s your favorite food? I could eat pasta or pizza every day.

-Where in the world would you like to visit? Just one place? South Africa has so much that interests me that I’d be happy for that once in a lifetime adventure.

-What is one thing you’d like our members to know about you? I (not so secretly) wish I were a chanteuse who could sing in several foreign languages, especially jazz.

Thank you to Jean and all our Board members for all they do for Encore Learning.

Special Events

Encore Learning Members Go Behind the Scenes at the Library of Congress

On December 15, 2023, some lucky Encore Learning members went behind the scenes at the Library of Congress’s Music Division. Hosted by Music Librarian Mary Wedgewood, we visited the sheet music storage area which is designed to accommodate multiple size sheet music, which, by the way, is always stored flat. The Music Division has over 25 million items including sheet music, music and literary manuscripts, microforms, periodicals, and musical instruments.

A highlight was visiting the Flute Vault with over 1,700 flutes and other wind instruments, curated and maintained by flute expert Carol Lynn Ward Bamford.

–Louise Kenny, Special Event Coordinator

Images: Top right – members behind the scenes at the Library of Congress. Left – some of the more than 1700 wind instruments in the collection.

In Case You Missed this Special Event

Now that the movie Oppenheimer received the most Oscar nominations, you might want to watch Dan Sherman’s presentation on Oppenheimer. Dan spoke to us in early December and delved into more history than the movie creators did.

Just a reminder that Encore Learning offers numerous one-time-only Special Events throughout the year, including author talks, outdoor walks and museum tours (both in-person and virtual). If you’re interested in helping our Special Events Committee organize museum tours, please contact info@encorelearning.net. The committee would greatly appreciate any assistance!

Visit our Events page on our website to see what other exciting Special Events we have planned. You also can view all of our recorded Encore Learning Presents on YouTube at this playlist. We look forward to seeing you online or in person soon!

Club News

Please email the Encore Learning office if you are interested in joining any of our clubs or would like more information. You can also visit our Clubs page on our website.

Bridge Club

The Encore Learning Social Bridge Club had our first gathering of 2024 on Thursday, January 18, in the Top of The West Room at Goodwin House, Bailey’s Crossroads. Sharon Bisdee and Joan Carter, club co-chairs, hosted a luncheon (complete with Prosecco) and four tables of Bridge. We had two new Goodwin Living residents who joined our group and decided to become official members of our Bridge Club. Barbara Sakamoto was instrumental in securing the room for our party. The club meets monthly in member’s homes or in larger locations such as Arlington County Senior Centers or member’s clubhouses. Different members host each month, sometimes providing all the food and other times providing the drinks and dessert, with attendees bringing their own sandwiches. As always, we welcome new members. If anyone is interested, please e-mail Joan at jcarter4609@verizon.net or Sharon at sbisdee@gmail.com. — Joan Carter

Travel Club

The Encore Learning Travel Club met on January 19. Charlie Hallahan presented Part 1 of a trip to Tanzania taken in 2011. Charlie will present Part 2 at the next meeting on Friday, February 16 at 3:30 PM on Zoom.


The club is seeking presenters for 2024 meetings. Please contact Charlie Hallahan through the office if you’d like more information or to volunteer.

Nonfiction Book Club

The Encore Learning Nonfiction Book Club will meet next on March 11 in the Arlington Central library, Bluemont Room, at 1:30 PM. We’ll be discussing Untold Power: The Fascinating Rise and Complex Legacy of First Lady Edith Wilson (by Rebecca Boggs Roberts). The book tells the story of Edith Bolling Gatt Wilson, who in 1919, effectively acted as the first woman president of the U.S. (before women could even vote nationwide) when her husband, Woodrow Wilson, was incapacitated.

New members are welcome and encouraged to join us. Let the Encore Learning office know if you’d like to become a member of the book club and receive notifications of our planned reading and meetings. —Ed Rader

Chamber Music Club

The Chamber Music Club, inaugurated in October, has received rave reviews from Encore Learning members and has become addictive for many.

It meets every first and second Friday of the month to hear the Friday Morning Music Club’s one-hour concerts, which start at noon, at a church adjacent to the Virginia Square Metro.

The musicians choose the pieces to play, resulting in concerts that often feature works rarely heard, for example, Debussy’s Piano Trio in G Major, a piece that was thought to be lost but showed up in 1982.

Because the concerts end at 1:00 PM, club members are free to go to lunch or coffee afterwards, discuss the concert and get to know each other.

After the January 12 performance, members adjourned to Detour Coffee and were joined by Yooni (Jung-Loon) Lee, who organizes the concerts and is an accomplished pianist. Thanks to Yooni for stopping by.

We’re always open to new members so join us and enjoy. To become a member, simply email info@encorelearning.net. You’ll receive one e-mail a month listing the composers for each date and reminders the day before each concert with the complete program.

Look forward to seeing you. —Rhoda Ritzenberg

Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club is going strong! Here are some photos of Encore Learning members enjoying coffee and conversation at a recent meeting.

The Breakfast Club meets Wednesdays at 8:00 AM at La Madeleine, a low-key, Parisian-style breakfast and coffee place in Bailey’s Crossroads. Club Coordinator is Ron Wise.

Global Lunch Club

Do you enjoy exploring international cuisines and going on culinary adventures? Our Global Lunch Club has been on hiatus since the pandemic – but we do get inquiries about the club from time to time. We are looking for someone to volunteer as club coordinator to get this club going again. Please contact the office for more information. Bon Appetit!

Arlington Community Activities

African American History Month

Dr. Scott Taylor, President of The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, and Encore Learning Instructor, invites Encore Learning members to an African American History Month panel discussion. “The Framework: Brought to You by the Enslaved Folks of America and Their Descendants” will be held on Monday, February 5, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at Wakefield High School.

Please click on the image or go to

https://www.ceoforthepeople.org/get-involved/events/the-framework for more information or to register.

Arlington Racial History Timeline:

Sign Up to Share Your Story

A staff member from Arlington County recently reached out to Encore Learning to see if any of our members would like to contribute to this historical timeline. They are looking for county residents during the period of 1976-1990. Details below:

The Racial History Timeline is a publicly available resource that documents key historical events in housing, education, transportation, community facilities, and more. We want to collect oral histories from community members like you to build on the time period of 1976 to 1990. Your stories about your experience living in Arlington County during this time period will provide others with a first hand account and ultimately support the county’s effort to help to prevent, reduce, and eliminate racial disparities in county policies and establish a foundation for lasting change. 

Interested in sharing your story with us or know someone who would be a good fit? Sign up below and someone from the County Manager’s Office of R.A.C.E. will contact you. Click here to visit the county web page.

Sign Up Here!

Notice of Bylaws Change

This serves as official notice that the Encore Learning Bylaws have been revised and approved by the Board of Directors at its January 19, 2024 meeting. The updated Bylaws may be found here.

Also, please save the date for the Encore Learning Annual Meeting of the membership on Thursday, May 16 at 10:00 AM. A notice regarding the meeting and the nominations process is forthcoming.

Joan Carter


Staff Corner

This month has been exciting as we announced the Spring Semester. Staff get first peak at the classes from seeing the course descriptions, creating the documents, and viewing the Preview videos. It is a delight to witness the work of volunteers who create these classes and bring this incredible gift of lifelong learning to members of Encore Learning. You can show your gratitude for the work of the many committee volunteers and instructors by joining us for the virtual Course Preview on February 1 and then registering for classes on February 5.

The Membership Committee has been meeting and helping us welcome the Goodwin Living members and further our outreach. We have a poster that you are welcome to print and share in your own community spaces, click here to view and then print this PDF.

We have efforts in place to increase the diversity of our membership and welcome your thoughts about that as we move forward. If you wish to become more involved in Encore Learning, now is a great time to be in touch with our Volunteer Coordinator, Jane Nagy, or submit your interest via this form: https://encorelearning.net/about/volunteer/volunteer-form/

Thank you for your support of Encore Learning throughout the year and please be in touch if you need assistance with your membership, joining a club, finding information about an event or registration.

I look forward to seeing your name in the Preview participants and on the class rosters.

~ Lora 

Lora Pollari-Welbes

Executive Director

Welcome To Our New Members

During December 2023, we welcomed the following new members: Dennis Brack, Alfreda Layne, James Norman, Wanda Rappaport and Jennifer Vasiloff.

Thank you to Dennis Brack and Martha Casey for referring friends who became members of Encore Learning! Spread the word and please refer friends and family to Encore Learning. If you’d like to bring Encore Learning into your community (residential building or neighborhood) to share information about membership, let us know.

Encore Learning is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Any donation is a charitable contribution deductible from income tax to the full extent permitted by law. Members, friends and organizations wishing to support Encore Learning may direct contributions to our General Fund to support our sustainability or to the Arthur W. Gosling Youth Scholarship Fund. If you wish to designate a charitable gift in someone’s honor or memory, please email us indicating how the gift should be recognized. If you would like to discuss tax benefits of charitable giving and charitable remainder trusts, please view our Donate page or contact the office.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of The Inside Scoop. If you would like to submit an article or share some photos of members participating in Encore Learning activities, please email us at info@encorelearning.net.

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