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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute  

Special Programs

Most events are free and open to the public • Call 828.251.6140 for additional details.Bob and Dottie Davis arrive at Center

Advance Care Planning

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville will hold an advance care planning (ACP) workshop Thursday, February 19, 2015, 3-5 p.m. at the Reuter Center.

The workshop will feature a panel whose members are experienced in addressing end-of-life issues. Discussion will include communicating your treatment wishes to loved ones and to medical personnel, ethical and legal issues, and the uses of advance directives.  Ample time will be reserved for questions. Assistance will be provided for anyone wishing to complete a legally valid advance directive, including the notarization required in North Carolina, using the NC ACP "Short Form".  Click here to access a copy of the form.

Preparation for you to do before the workshop:  Talk to your possible "power of attorney for healthcare", the person who would make health care decisions if you are unable.  Click here for a video of a sample conversation, starring OLLI member Mary Campbell and Aruna Josyula, one of our panelists.  If you have internet-access, print the NC ACP "Short Form", study it and write down any questions you might have for the panel.  This workshop is free and open to the public.  For more information, email the workshop coordinators, David Mouw MD,PhD and  Mary Campbell  BSN, COHN-S  at:  or call OLLI at 828-251-6140 or email olli@unca.eduClick here to view an event flier.   

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Art Bazaar

Mark your calendar to attend the OLLI Art Bazaar, Friday, November 14, 12-5pm and Saturday, November 15, 10am-12pm, at the Reuter Center on the campus of UNC Asheville.  You will discover a delightful selection of paintings, fiber arts, photography, jewelry, scarves, assemblage (mixed media), handcrafted soaps & lotions, cards & paper art, pottery, wood art and so much more! If you are artistic and creative, please join the fun by becoming an exhibitor. $25/exhibitor fee and requires OLLI membership.  Contact OLLI, 828-251-6140, for more information.  Click here to download an exhibitor registration form. 

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Asheville Community Theatre’s Readers Theater

The Autumn Players (part of Asheville Community Theatre) is a troupe of seasoned actors dedicated to taking the theatre experience into the community. Readings of great literature by experienced performers can spark deep understanding and kindle lasting interest. As words jump from the page with conviction and emotion, stories come to life. Tickets are $6 at the door.  For more information on the Autumn Players, click here. 

  • Sunday, November 2, 2014, 2:30 p.m.: Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz, directed by Anita Chapman.  This play  involves a family with differing political views and a long-held family secrets and achieves a balance between comedy and intense family drama.

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Asheville Living Treasures

Asheville Living Treasures (ALT) is an organization whose mission is to honor the elders of Asheville and Buncombe County who have devoted their lives to making our communities a better place to live. ALT publicly honors older adults, celebrates their achievements, and records their stories for future generations. Any senior, age 70 and above, who resides in Asheville or Buncombe County is eligible for nomination. ALT will hold a recognition ceremony honoring the Treasures at the Reuter Center on Sunday, May 31, 2015, 1:30 p.m., and the public is invited to attend. For more information visit or contact, Carmen Ramos-Kennedy: 828-423-6476.

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Astronomy Club of Asheville

The Astronomy Club of Asheville meets the first Thursday of each month from 7-9 pm, with an interesting lineup of speakers and topics. OLLI members are welcomed to attend club meetings and star gazes, with club members on hand to advise and assist them in the basics of astronomy and the techniques of observing celestial phenomena. Participation at club meetings and events is free to OLLI members. Club membership is free.  For more information on Astronomy Club of Asheville, click here.   Upcoming meetings feature:

  • November 6, 2014: Stephen Danford, UNC Greensboro, “Spectroscopy: Analyzing Starlight”
  • February, 5, 2015:  "The Path to Mars” – the challenges of getting humans to Mars
  • March 5, 2015:  "NASA’s Mercury Messenger Mission” – latest info about the mission and its late March 2015 plans to land on Mercury
  • April 2, 2015:  TBA
  • May 7, 2015:  "Observing the Sun” – using special solar filters to safely enjoy and explore many of the Sun’s features

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Blue Ridge Orchestra

The Blue Ridge Orchestra (BRO) is dedicated to making fine orchestral music more accessible to more audiences. Led by music director Milton Crotts, this orchestra is “community” only in the sense that its over seventy musicians reside in WNC. There is plenty of talent in these mountains, and this orchestra’s sound is truly symphonic. Wednesday rehearsals in the Manheimer Room are open to OLLI members, who are particularly encouraged to drop by rehearsals immediately before concert dates. Rehearsals begin on Wednesdays at 7 pm on August 20, 27; September 3, 10, 17; October 1, 8, 15 and 22. This fall the BRO will perform three special concerts with a Halloween flavor and repertoire including Night on Bald Mountain, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Danse Macabre.    For more information on Blue Ridge Orchestra. 

  • Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, October 26,  4pm: A Musical Treat: A Family Concert for Halloween
  • Saturday, October 25, 7:30 pm: Prelude to All Hallow’s Eve

Book Talk and Signing

Kevan Frazier, author of Legendary Locals of Asheville, is celebrating the publication of his new book with a Book Talk and Signing at the Reuter Center. On November 4, 2014, 12 p.m., meet the author and discover the fascinating stories of unique individuals and groups, past and present, who have had a lasting impact on the community.  The book will be available for purchase at this event, as well as area bookstores, independent retailers, online retailers, and through the publisher at or (888)-313-2665.

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Brevard Music Center Sunday Concerts

OLLI is delighted to announce a new music series in partnership with historic Brevard Music Center, a longstanding summer training program and festival. The “Sundays with Brevard Music Center” series will include free hour-long solo and chamber recitals by members of the Brevard Music Center’s faculty, held at the Reuter Center October through May. All performances begin at 3 pm.  On November 30, 2014, bassoonist Susan Barber will perform. Dr. Barber is an active performer and clinician, presenting workshops and recitals throughout the United States. The Winter Performance is scheduled for  February 1, 2015  and features percussionist Gwendolyn Dease.  Concerts are free and open to the public. For more information visit the Brevard Music Center website at

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The Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association

The Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association (CNPA) was founded in 1992 to promote nature photography in the Carolinas, to help conserve and preserve the diverse natural ecosystems in the Carolinas, and to educate others interested in nature and wildlife photography. The association is divided into regions for more close-at-hand activities. The CNPA-Asheville Region’s goal is to develop a group that will more fully experience the beauty of Western North Carolina through photography. Activities in the Asheville Region include monthly meetings, photo outings, seminars, workshops, exhibits, photo contests, and image critiques. The monthly meetings are held at the Reuter Center on the second Sunday of each month, August 10, September 14, October 12, and November 9, 2014, 5:30 pm. For more information please go to:

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Elegy Holocaust Remembrance Concert

On Sunday, November 9, 2014 5 p.m., Pan Harmonia presents “Elegy: The Sixth Annual Holocaust Remembrance Concert,” celebrating the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity through music. This concert is presented in commemoration of Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass, a coordinated attack on Jewish people and their property in Nazi Germany and Austria through the night of November 9, 1938. Music of Leo Smit and Víteˇzslava Kaprálová will be performed by Kate Steinbeck, flute, Fred Lemmons, clarinet, John Ravnan, viola,  and Ivan Seng, piano. “Elegy” is a production of Pan Harmonia and is made possible through the generosity of the Weiner Family. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Pan Harmonia website:

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Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society

The mission of the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society (EMAS) is to promote an awareness and appreciation of nature, to preserve and protect wildlife and natural ecosystems, and to encourage responsible environmental stewardship. EMAS general meetings at the Reuter Center take place on the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the EMAS website:

  • September 16, 2014: (Speaker to be announced) “The North Carolina Birding Trail”
  • October 21, 2014: Dr. Jennifer Frick-Ruppert, “Mountain Nature”
  • November 18, 2014: Carlton Burke, “Tundra: A Wandering Snowy Owl”

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Evenings at the Café Weimar

The burst of modernism in the arts, literature, and science from the period of Germany’s Weimar Republic will come to life in a series of six public lectures co-sponsored by UNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies and OLLI. “Evenings at the Café Weimar” will spotlight five iconic figures: the composer Kurt Weill; the architect Erich Mendelsohn; the philosopher Martin Buber; the scientist Albert Einstein, and the poet-playwright Elsa Lasker-Schüler. Outstanding scholars from Germany, Israel, Canada, and the US will illuminate the Jewish cultural renaissance of this inter-war period as they examine its legacy for today. All events will be held at the Reuter Center and are free and open to the public. Scheduled on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Fall presentations are as follows:

  • September 30, 2014: Professor Michael Brenner, “Weimar Revisited: The Curtain Rises”
  • October 14, 2014: Dr. Naomi Graber, “Meet Mack the Knife (Mackie Messer)”
  • October 28, 2014: Duki Dror, “ Is There A Jewish Architecture?”

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Fab Fridays Lunch & Learn Lectures

You are invited to enjoy stimulating presentations and dynamic question-and-answer sessions from local experts, about everything from music to travel and medications to wellness.  Purchase lunch in the Reuter Cafe or bring your own brown bag to enjoy during the talk.  End your week and start your weekend with Fab Fridays!  This series is organized by the Health Education Series Committee and the Lunch and Learn Committee.  Fridays, 11:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., Reuter Center Manheimer Room.  Free and open to the public.

  • September 19, 2014  Aging in Place.  Most people want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. However, as we age, our bodies experience normal physical and cognitive changes that can have an impact on how we function in our home environment. Come learn about the concept of aging in place from Ann Thomson. Thomson is a licensed occupational therapist who specializes in physical rehabilitation and works for CarePartners Health Services. She performs home safety evaluations through the Balance for Life Program at CarePartners. This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.
  • September 26, 2014  The Asheville Citizen-Times’ Playbook.   In December 2013, Josh Awtry became vice president and executive editor of the Asheville Citizen-Times and Greenville News. Awtry will talk to us about what our morning paper is doing to “address concerns, improve our work, and fix local journalism at a national level.” His belief in direct conversation between journalists and the public has brought him recognition from The Columbia Journalism Review and The Society of News Design. He believes in an all-out, transparent approach to engaging with readers in the hope of creating rich discussions that will improve community discourse.
  • October 3, 2014  Headaches.   “Headache” is defined as a pain arising from the head or upper neck of the body. The pain originates from the tissues and structures that surround the brain because the brain itself has no nerves that give rise to the sensation of pain. Come to this informative presentation on the latest research on headache causes and cures. Alendia Hartshorn, MD, is part of the team of neurologists at Mission Neurology and is a board-certified neurologist and diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners . This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.

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  • October 10, 2014   The Family Store, and Other Contributions of the Jewish Community in the Development of Western North Carolina.   A Jewish community in Appalachia? How did Jews find their way to Western North Carolina? How have they contributed to the development of the city and to UNC Asheville? Sharon Fahrer has collected material on the Jewish experience in WNC for the past ten years and leads walking tours on Jewish history in downtown Asheville. Just in time for the HardLox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival on October 19, Sharon’s presentation will include excerpts from the documentary “Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina” and information about the local members of the Jewish community who have six buildings and a track named in their honor on the UNC Asheville campus.
  • October 17, 2014   Personalized Genomic Medicine.   Personalized genomic medicine: What is it? Why should I care? How can I use it? And aren’t we already doing this in medicine? Plan to attend this interesting presentation by Dr. Lynn Dressler on the state of genomic medicine today. Dressler is the Director of a new program in Personalized Medicine at Mission Health.  Do you know the difference between genomics and genetics? Find out the answer, and learn how doctors are using genomics to design specific treatments for various ailments. This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.

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  • October 24, 2014   Antiques, Appraisals, and Auctions.  We are pleased to welcome Robert Brunk, founder of Brunk Auctions (117 Tunnel Road in Asheville). Since its beginning in 1983 Mr. Brunk has seen his auction house grow from a small regional auction house to a national auction service with international clientele. His experience as an anthropologist, writer, and professional woodworker, a unique combination of skills, contributes to the quality of Brunk’s auction catalogs. Now retired, he serves as consultant and auctioneer. You are invited to bring small items (no jewelry or modern collectibles, please) for possible appraisal. Mr. Brunk will randomly choose a few treasures which might be universally interesting to the audience.
  • October 31, 2014   Lungs in Health and When Things Go Wrong.   You don’t hear much about lungs; come and find out how amazing they are. Learn about normal lung function and what can go wrong. What is it about lung design that leads to sleep apnea, aspiration pneumonia, Heimlich maneuvers, and feeding tubes. Is there anything you can do to maintain lung function? Why are the lungs so hard to keep clean, and why is pneumonia so common? Why does heart disease make your lungs gurgle? David Mouw, PhD (human physiology), MD (family practice) with added Qualification in Geriatrics, has given nine previous Health Education Series lectures and regularly uses the audience response system. This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.
  • November 7, 2014  The Widow Spy.   Martha Peterson spent her thirty-two-year career in the CIA as a clandestine operations officer, beginning her professional service on the CIA’s front line in Moscow during the Cold War. Her contribution to her country originated in Pakse, Laos, during the Vietnam War, where she accompanied her husband, John, a CIA paramilitary officer. When he was killed in a helicopter crash in 1972, Martha returned to the US and began her work for the CIA. Following extensive training in covert tradecraft and lengthy Russian language study, she was assigned to Moscow in 1975. Her exploits, including her arrest, are on display in the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., as well as in the KGB museum in Moscow, Russia. Although her story appears in many books about the Cold War, she reveals her true experiences in The Widow Spy, as only she can.

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f/32 Photography

f/32 is a diverse group that shares an appreciation and love of photography. Members range from amateurs who like to take point-and-shoot snapshots to working professional photographers. At monthly meetings they share their work, learn new methods, and keep abreast of the latest industry news and equipment. OLLI members are offered free membership in f/32.
Attend on Wednesday, August 13, September 10, October 8, and November 12, 2014, 7 pm.  For more information on f/32 Photography Group, click here.

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Hillbilly Land Lecture Series

The stereotype of the Appalachian hillbilly has great power, prevalence, and persistence from the nineteenth century through the present. The Western North Carolina Historical Association has created an exhibition at the Asheville History  Center/ Smith McDowell House (on view through December 31, 2014) titled “Hillbilly Land: Myth and Reality of Appalachian Culture” to explore the stereotypical images of the religion, music, arts and crafts, moonshine, and ignorance/backwardness of the  region. In  addition there will be a series of lectures this fall, some at the Reuter Center, to further explore the subject. All  lectures are open to the public, and a $5 donation is requested in support of the Center’s exhibition and related programming. Members of the Western North Carolina Historical Association are admitted free. For more information call 828-253-9231 or email

  • Saturday, November 22, 2014, 2 pm; Charlotte Ross, adjunct professor at Appalachian State University, "The Social Function of Narrative in Appalachian Society"

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Medicare Choices Made Easy!

Are you new to Medicare? Are you confused by the many choices? Unbiased and accurate information is available from trained volunteers from the North Carolina Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program. In partnership with OLLI, a free class will be held on Friday, January 23, 2015, 2-4 pm in the Reuter Center.  This session will be an overview (plans, parts and policies) of Medicare. Spaces are limited, so reserve your space by calling the Buncombe County Council on Aging, 277-8288.

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Opera Talk

Asheville Lyric Opera (ALO) brings great stories and music to life on Asheville’s premiere theatrical stage, the Diana Wortham Theatre. Come enjoy a behind the scenes journey as ALO General Director David Craig Starkey and a cast of industry professionals guide you through their operatic world.  Scheduled on Fridays at 3 p.m. in the Manheimer Room these events are free and open to the public, and are as follows:

  • October 31, 2014: “Opera 101: Opera in the 21st Century”
  • November 7, 2014: “How to Train an Opera Singer, Part II”

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Reuter Center Singers Concert

The Reuter Center Singers, OLLI’s in-house choral group directed by Chuck Taft, study and perform classical, popular, and show tunes. Mark your calendar to attend a special fall concert on Sunday, November 16, 2014, 4 p.m., featuring the music of  Rogers and Hammerstein. Scheduled in the Reuter Center’s Manheimer Room, this concert is free and open to the public, but donations are happily accepted.  And on Monday, December 8, 2014, 7pm, plan to add a little sparkle to your holiday celebrations with the ever-popular Reuter Center Singers Holiday Concert.  Bring the whole family and plan to arrive early to get a seat at this wonderful annual event. 

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Symphony Talk with Daniel Meyer

The best way to enjoy the Asheville Symphony Orchestra’s Masterworks Concerts is to come to the Symphony Talk for the inside scoop on the music, composers, and soloists. Come early to get a seat; this popular series is very well attended. Asheville Symphony Orchestra’s music director and conductor Daniel Meyer will speak about the performance for the next evening’s concert and local music aficionado Chip Kaufmann will speak about the composers. Scheduled on Fridays at 3 p.m., Symphony Talks during OLLI’s fall term are:

  • October 17, 2014: Pianist Simone Dinnerstein, Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1, Harris’ Symphony No. 3, and Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1
  • November 21, 2014: Timpanists Todd Mueller and Mark Yancich, Oliverio’s Dynasty Timpani Concerto, Higdon’s Machine, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

For more information about the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, or to find out how to purchase tickets for performances at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, visit Symphony Talks are free and open to the public.

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World Affairs Council

Come to the Reuter Center for these fascinating lectures and discussions that aim to advance international awareness and foster Western North Carolina’s global ties. OLLI members receive a discount on WAC annual membership fee. Scheduled in the Reuter Center's Manheimer Room for Tuesday evenings, all lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit the World Affairs Council website

  • November 11, 2014: Syracuse University professor of law David Crane addresses “War Crimes Trials," especially the trial of Charles Taylor in which he was chief prosecutor.
  • December 2, 2014: Dorina Bekoe, a senior research associate in the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention in Washington DC will examine “Peace Keeping in Africa.” 

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Last edited by on October 22, 2014