Monday, December 15, 2014

Rec & Ed has the gift that makes people happy

"Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than do possessions."                                   -- J. Hamblin, "Buy Experiences, Not Things," The Atlantic
I'm always trying to find the perfect gift. You know, the one that elicits a shriek of joy, becomes a treasured memento and earns me at least one "best mom ever" comment. 

What I've noticed, however, is that no matter how loud the shout of excitement, chances are good that my kids will forget whatever the particular item was just a few months later. That momentary happiness is wonderful, but doesn't lead to a lasting memory or connection to anyone else -- including me. 

So, a few years back I started giving my kids experiences as replacements for some of the "stuff" holiday gifts. For example, I gave my daughter a registration to a beginners' knitting class. She loved it so much that I gave her more advanced classes the following year. A couple of years ago, I took both my mom and daughter to see Wicked the Musical in Detroit as their present. (Chauffeur duty included.)

Guess what my relatives remember? Yes, without fail, everyone fondly remembers these experiences. The toys/books/other stuff? Not so much.

Let Rec & Ed help you give the gift of an experience to everyone on your holiday shopping list.

There are two ways we can help you give the gift of experience: 

1) Purchase a Rec & Ed gift certificate for your family member or friend. Personalized gift certificates are available in any denomination. You can buy one online, at our Rec & Ed office at 1515 S. Seventh Street, or by contacting Mary Hollis at or 994-2300, ext. 0. 

2) Pick out a class for your friend or relative (maybe one that you'll do too?) and register!
Rec & Ed offers hundreds of enriching, educational and fun opportunities for adults and youth. Our new winter catalog is packed with new things to try as well as old favorites.

For example... 

Does someone in your family have a new iPad or iPhone? We've got classes for that.  

How about your aunt or co-worker who enjoys creating art? Our adult art classes have something for everyone. 

Do you have a niece or nephew who's getting married in 2015? How about one of our popular ballroom dance classes to help them get ready for the big day?

Our cooking classes and workshops make a fun winter outing for yourself and a friend!

And of course, Rec & Ed's fitness and yoga classes offer high quality instruction in a community setting.

I could go on (and on) about all of the other wonderful adult and youth classes Rec & Ed has to offer this winter. Please visit our brand new winter catalog to see it all! You can register directly from the online catalog. 

The Atlantic article quoted above talks about how anticipating an experience brings a level of happiness that anticipating a material possession doesn't match. An experience involving something we enjoy also connects us with others -- in a positive, enriching way. 

All of this adds up to joyful memories for everyone involved. And guess who gets thanked for the memory? You do. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New Ann Arbor Civic Chorus Director leads winter concert - "Love Changes Everything"

The award-winning Ann Arbor Civic Chorus will introduce new Musical Director Karen Tenbrink at its winter concert this Sunday, Dec. 7, 3:00 p.m. at the Forsythe Middle School Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public. 

In September, Rec & Ed welcomed Karen TenBrink as the Musical Director of the long-running chorus. Karen holds an undergraduate degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a masters degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan. She has directed youth and adult choirs in the United States, Japan and Thailand. She's also a regular performer as a conductor, singer and pianist and the assistant director of the Ann Arbor Vocal Arts Ensemble.

Karen TenBrink
Recognizing that 2014 marks the centennial of the start of World War I, and that the winter concert would fall on Pearl Harbor Day, Karen chose to focus the concert's musical selections on wartime, love and peace themes. 

"Love and peace are constant subjects in vocal music through the ages," said Karen. The concert program showcases a selection of standards and new favorites representing themes of love during war and peace, romantic love, yearning for peace and for a common sense of humanity. 

The concert repertoire includes Mendelssohn ("Give Us Peace"), parlor songs from the 1910s and 1920s ("Let Me Call You Sweetheart"), jazz songs from the 1930s and 1940s ("Bei Mir Bist Du Schon"), and musical theatre favorites (Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Love Changes Everything"). 

Let the Ann Arbor Civic Chorus take you on a journey of love and peace through a century of uplifting music! 

The Ann Arbor Civic Chorus presents
"Love Changes Everything"
Winter Concert
Sunday, December 7, 3:00 p.m. 
Forsythe Middle School Auditorium. 
Free and open to the public.