Tuesday, August 24, 2010

JASNA Syracuse 2010-11 Schedule

We're approaching the start of a new season for JASNA Syracuse, and here's the schedule as it presently stands. Note that it follows the Regency calendar of "quarter days" and "cross-quarter days," as explained by Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown at several meetings last year. Syracuse meetings will take place at Books and Memories, 2600 James St., Syracuse, unless otherwise noted. Binghamton meetings will take place at RiverRead Books, 5 Court St., Binghamton. All meetings will be on Saturdays at 2 p.m.

September 25 (Michaelmas), Syracuse: "This Is a Day Well Spent: Jane Austen's Juvenilia." Most of this meeting will be devoted to reading aloud from these short, delightful comic pieces JA wrote between the ages of 12 and 17. After a brief introduction, we'll read from "Frederic and Elfrida," "The History of England," "The Beautifull Cassandra," and "Love and Freindship."

November 6 (All Hallows), Binghamton: "Jane Austen and Dance." We'll talk about the importance of dance in JA's time and in her works, and discuss favorite dance-related passages from the novels (come prepared to share!).

December 18 (Christmas), Syracuse: To be announced. We're examining a couple of possibilities for celebrating both the Yuletide season and (two days late) JA's birthday on the 16th.

February 12 (Candlemas), Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton: A joint meeting with the Colgate JA Book Club, many of whose members are also JASNA members. We'll see whether we can learn the game of Speculation as quickly as Fanny Price does in Mansfield Park!

April 2 (Lady Day), Syracuse: An update of the "iJane: Jane Austen in the Information Age" conference in Rochester that JASNA Rochester and JASNA Syracuse co-sponsored in 2008. We'll briefly recap the 2008 presentation, and describe some of the numerous "Austenworld" websites and blogs available now.

May 7 (May Day), Binghamton: A discussion of the book A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen, edited by Susannah Carson. There's something for everyone in this fascinating collection, and we'll look at a few of these many different "takes" on JA in general and on particular works.

June 25 (Midsummer), Lorenzo Historic Site, Cazenovia (tentatively): A joint "Box Hill" picnic with the Colgate JA Book Club.

If you're already a JASNA member, we hope to greet you at some or all of these meetings. And if you're not yet a JASNA member, we certainly hope you'll pay us a visit. We urge you to join JASNA at the national level (click on the link for the national website)--and thus automatically join JASNA Syracuse!

Save the Date at Colgate: November 13

Heather Elia, JASNA Syracuse member and coordinator of the Jane Austen Book Club at the Colgate Bookstore in Hamilton, writes:


On 11/13 at 2pm, David Shapard (the editor of the Annotated Pride & Prejudice and the new/upcoming Annotated Persuasion) will come to talk about the process of annotating the beloved novels of our beloved author, to help lead a group discussion of Persuasion, and to sign copies of the books. (Although we would all rather have signed editions by Jane herself, we may content ourselves with signed editions by a contemporary editor/annotator.)

After the Bookstore part of the program, I thought it might be fun to assemble at the Colgate Inn for afternoon tea -- by which I mean a semi-traditional English-style "full tea" of hot soup, fresh salad, gourmet tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, a pastry assortment, and of course a cup (or a whole pot) of Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Lapsang Souchong, etc.

Since I could not convince the powers-that-be at the Bookstore to pick up the whole tab for this event, and I do not possess an independent fortune to treat everyone myself, there will be a charge, but I hope it is not prohibitive. (I do feel a bit like Lydia Bennet: "triumphantly display[ing] a table set out with such cold meat as an inn larder usually affords, exclaiming, 'Is not this nice? is not this an agreeable surprise.' And I mean to treat you all, but you must lend me the money, for I have just spent mine.)

Hope this program sounds like fun to all of you. If you know you will definitely be able to make it and want to register now you may do so at http://www.colgatebookstore.com/special/2010/08/austen.html but I don't need a definite head count until October 31st.


This event does indeed "sound like fun" to your JASNA Regional Coordinators! If you agree, put the date into your calendars now.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Concert Review

The Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies presented its summer concert last Sunday, July 25, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Skaneateles. Despite competition from the Antique Boat Show on the waterfront and a rock concert just across U.S. 20 from the church, the Young Ladies of the summer session--the Misses Marietta Burt, Ellie Crough, Anna and Mary Ellen Ducayne, Caroline Edinger, Christina Marshall, Olivia Sheppard, and Maren Walsh--all performed excellently under the able direction of Miss Joanna Manring.

After the concert opened with an ensemble performance of H. Harrington's "How Sweet in the Woodlands" (which your Regional Coordinator believes she recalls from the 1980 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice), each musical number was preceded by appropriate readings from either JA's works or a secondary source on JA and her times. For example, "The Spinning Wheel" by Thomas Arne was prefaced by the passage from JA's letters about the family benefactress Mrs. Knight's offer to give JA her spinning wheel ("I cannot endure the idea of her giving away her own wheel, & have told her no more than the truth, in saying that I could never use it with comfort"); "The Soldier's Adieu" by Charles Dibdin was introduced with the passage from P&P about the arrival of the militia in Meryton ("I remember the time when I liked a red-coat myself very well"); and so on.

Very appropriately in view of the Young Ladies' ages (the two youngest, the Misses Ducayne, are aged only 10 and 11!), the final reading was a series of excerpts from the Juvenilia--the delightful comic sketches JA began composing at about age 12. And rousing renditions of William Shields's "From Night till Morn" and Robert Burns's "My Love, She's But a Lassie Yet" made a lively conclusion to the program.

As your Regional Coordinator noted in her introductory remarks, it's refreshing simply that some members of the next generation can tell Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Lady Gaga, but the Young Ladies went well beyond this minimum standard. We hope that Miss Manring and the School continue their fine work for many seasons to come.

And, by a happy coincidence, JA's Juvenilia will be the topic of JASNA Syracuse's first regional meeting of the 2010-11 season, on Saturday, September 25, at 2 pm, at Books and Memories (2600 James St., Syracuse, 13206). More details about this will be given in a future post.