On Tuesday, April 23rd, (Shakespeare’s
birthday) our speaker was Sam White, the founder of Shakespeare in Detroit.
Shakespeare in Detroit is a nonprofit charitable organization formed in 2013. Its mission states that it “enhances and supports the culture, education and financial growth of Detroit.with professional theatre created through a conscious lens of equity, diversity and inclusion.” Its vision is that “it will produce the classics, musicals, contemporary and new works in equal measure throughout each season as the official Shakespeare organization of the city.” Since 2013, Shakespeare in Detroit (SiD) has produced 14 of Shakespeare’s plays. Many of them were presented in open-air settings, and others have been seen everywhere from a recycling center and a historical mansion to parks and an old film studio, in addition to several theaters around the city and state. Beginning by Labor Day, 2020, when their new studio has been completed near the Detroit riverfront, they will produce a musical as well as continuing their progress through Shakespeare’s canon.
On April 9th, Richard Rogers, the President of The College for Creative Studies for nearly 25 years, spoke to us about the history and mission of the College. The College for Creative Studies was founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts. Its original purpose was to encourage good and beautiful work as applied to useful service. It still pursues that purpose but as one of the nation’s leading art and design colleges. CCS is fully accredited and enrolls more than 1,400 students. It focuses on arts education, offering both Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees. CCS, located in midtown Detroit, strives to provide students with the tools needed for successful careers in the dynamic and growing creative industries. The College also offers free art education for more than 4,000 Detroit youth annually through its Community Arts Partnerships program. In addition, the College’s Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies is a public charter middle and high school enrolling more than 800 students in a high-performance academic curriculum with a special focus on art and design.
On March 26th, John Ryder (replacing Mike Grobbel) spoke to us about the Polar Bear Expedition of 1918-1919. The Michigan Heroes Museum in Frankenmuth celebrates Michigan’s military and space heroes and among those remembered are Detroit’s own Polar Bears. The American North Russian Expeditionary Force (ANREF), consisting of the 339th Infantry Regiment, the 1st Battalion of the 310th Engineers, the 337th Ambulance Co. and the 337th Field Hospital of the U.S. Army’s 85th Division, was nicknamed the “Polar Bears.”
On March 12th, Becky
Caulfield, the Wellness Program Manager for the Neighborhood Club, told us
about the importance of exercise for seniors and how the Neighborhood Club can
help. The Club is a community nonprofit that was established in 1911 to provide
a professionally organized program of recreation and wellness services for
families and individuals of all ages. Becky is a personal trainer, a group
instructor, a yoga teacher, and a triathlete.
Becky explained that we need 150 minutes a week of exercise. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout and can be split into short blocks. It could include activities such as walking, gardening, singing, dancing, swimming, tennis, and bowling as well as more traditional exercise. Exercise is important for mental as well as physical health and can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. It can improve our balance to help prevent falls, and can reduce body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, joint pain, and loss of bone density and muscle mass as we age. It also improves sleep and mobility as well as your mood and outlook on life.
About 20 members and friends of the Senior Men’s Club went to the Holocaust Memorial Center for a talk by a survivor of the Holocaust and then a tour of the museum. Finally, we had lunch at the Stage Deli, close by the Memorial Center. As you might imagine, and with Bob Vogler’s moving brief comments on the tour, it was both educational and appalling just what happened back before some of us were born. Read more
On Tuesday, February 26th, Linda Reid, the Director of Membership of the Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce, spoke to us about the Chamber’s mission and purpose. The Chamber provides leadership and services to the Grosse Pointe business community, promotes economic vitality, collaborates with municipal governments for business development and enhances the quality and of life for those who live, work and visit in the Grosse Pointes. The Chamber represents the varied interests of its membership while promoting commerce, events, and activities for the five Grosse Pointe communities through effective advocacy for local businesses. How they do this is the main consideration for the numerous members of the Chamber. Linda listed four main items: Read more
On February 12, 2019, the Senior Men’s Club members were introduced to the Detroit Children’s Choir (DCC.)
Paola Smith and John Joanette
John Joanette, the Executive Director, and Paola Smith, the Executive Program and Operations Manager of the DCC told us about the formation of the DCC in 2006 by Carol Schoch, who identified a need for quality choral musical experiences targeted toward the underserved youth of Detroit, Since then the DCC has leveraged the power and discipline of choral singing to bring together children in grades 3-12. More than 3,900 students have participated to date, and this year the DCC has music programs in twelve Detroit Public Schools, with plans to increase that number.Read more
At the Senior Men’s Club Luncheon on Tuesday, January 22nd, Ty Hinton, the Economic and Community Development Director of Harper Woods talked to us about the redevelopment of Eastland Mall. Ty is an accomplished and active 77-year old. Last year he was honored by being named a recipient of one of the Michigan Chronicle’s 2018 Man of Excellence awards. In addition to his ECD position at Harper Woods, Ty runs their home improvement loan program using community improvement block grant dollars. This program also includes the Grosse Pointes. He also helps out at The Helm, including with the installation of their standby generator. Read more
At the Senior Men’s Club Luncheon on Tuesday, January 8th, Bailey Sisoy Igro talked to us about her book, Rosie, a Detroit Herstory. Bailey is the owner of Detroit History Tours and the proprietress of the Detroit History Club. She has appeared on television as a contributor on the Travel Channel’s Tough Boats and Globe Trekker series and is a common guest on history-themed podcasts.