Behind the Scenes at WinterFest


If you signed up for WinterFest sessions, you know that we had wonderful presentations—and a couple of bumps. But you don’t know the half of it. Our amazing session managers always appeared calm and collected even as they figured out how to let the presentations go forward. They had practiced, prepared, and rehearsed and were thoroughly professional. Here are some of the ups and downs of WinterFest 2021.

Dr. Michael Weinstock

Day 1

Dr. Michael Weinstock went from NO ZOOM FOR ME to I’M READY TO GO after his experience with SummerFest. He did need to click around the screen a tiny bit at the beginning, but was soon off and running with a great presentation on the crash of Avianca 52. All went well.

In the afternoon, Donald Frasier’s slide show about servants in the gilded age turned out to be on a New York State site that would not allow it to be shared. Having found that out in advance, he handed off a flash drive with his presentation to Felice Gelman and she ran the slides.

Day 2

Garry Kvistad has done many video presentations, and the session managers were very relaxed about preparing for his presentation on Woodstock Chimes. Then his internet went down. He tried to phone in, but no one had a copy of his presentation to run. He was rescheduled for February 10, 11:00 a.m. Lesson learned: session managers must have a copy of the slide show.

In the afternoon, Martine van Hamel was counting on Jeff Christensen to run her video of her performances (which he had spent many, many hours putting together from her CDs). Fortunately (lesson learned), Joan Craig had a copy of the presentation because Jeff had a tech glitch at the last minute and could not share his screen. Joan was nervous, but she had rehearsed with Jeff so she did a beautiful job and the program ran without a hitch.

Martine van Hamel

Day 3

Well, it was Inauguration Day and the Online Team was sure everyone would be watching TV. So Julia Solow graciously agreed to move her presentation on the long-term care system to the afternoon of February 3.

In the afternoon, presenter Sarah Wassberg Johnson was calling in from her car because she had to make an emergency vet visit for her dog, and the internet connection was quite unstable. Fortunately, she was very quick to call back in each time and the session managers calmly encouraged everyone to just hang on so that she could finish the story of the women who were lighthouse keepers on the Hudson.

Day 4

What a relief! Rabbi Jonathan Kligler is an experienced Zoom-er and his presentation on the parable of the Good Samaritan through a Jewish lens drew a very large attendance and ran smoothly. And in the afternoon, Mark Lytle just asked Jackie Olivet to show his visuals on climate change when he had trouble with his screen share.

Rabbi Jonathan Kligler
Julia Solow

Day 5

Dr. Lauren Rose, who is an expert on both Zoom and teaching LLI, taught us to play the math game SET. She worked with faculty and students to put class members into breakout rooms where they could solve problems together. Everyone had so much fun that many people stayed until 12:45 p.m.

Julia Solow led a class about transforming the long-term care system, with an excellent video and a spirited discussion. All went beautifully until almost the end of her program, when her internet wobbled. Cleverly, she used her phone for audio and continued the presentation.

And to Come . . .
Day 6

A bonus of an additional program in February. Tune in on Wednesday morning, February 10th, at 11:00 to hear Garry Kvistad talk about Woodstock Chimes. 

Thank you to all the session managers and to the team that worked with them to get ready for whatever might come up. Great job!

Think you might like to join the session manager team? Now is the time to sign up for our spring semester. Here’s a link to the information on our website about becoming a session manager.

Garry Kvistad