Special course on Beatles supports Chautauqua Fund

All you need is love — and a little knowledge gleaned from a special Beatles course held Week Five.

The Special Studies course, which benefits the Chautauqua Fund, will take place from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday in Smith Wilkes Hall. “The Beatles: Across Our Universe” invites attendees to learn more about the Beatles and how they affected the world.

Tim Renjilian, one of the instructors, said the course follows the Beatles chronologically through their journey to fame. However, he said, the course won’t just focus on the band and their music, but will offer insights into the age of the 1960s and the recording technology of the time, all in a fun and light-hearted way.

“The thing about this music is that people from age 10 to age 80 all enjoy it, all know the words and just really kind of come together,” Renjilian said. “[It’s] just a fun body of work to enjoy and celebrate.”

Joining Renjilian are brothers and co-instructors Greg and Jeff Miller, who will perform sing-alongs of the Beatles’ hit songs.

The class began as an idea between Renjilian and Greg Miller, members of Chautauqua Institution’s Board of Trustees, where they discovered a mutual love of the Beatles at a dinner event. After some encouragement from friends and family, they decided to create the course, which is now running in its fourth year.

It was just a small Beatles fan community when they first started, Renjilian said, but buzz got around, and their attendance has grown ever since. They hope to continue expanding every year.

“We show some videos, we play some of the recordings and we’ve improved that, but we’re not trying to make it some big high-tech extravaganza,” Greg Miller said. “We like the hominess of people just talking and throwing out experiences and their reflections and not just listening to us the whole time.”

Half the fun of participating, Renjilian said, is sharing stories and discussing trivia and experiences even the three instructors may not have known.

For an avid fan or someone who wants to learn more about the band itself, the course will help bring back the magic of the Beatles.

Walk-ins are welcome with a suggested donation of $25 per day or $75 for the four-day course. Participants can also pre-register by email at rsvp@ciweb.org or by calling 716-357-6404.