Just before 10 a.m. today, the students of Children’s School will take their annual walk down Pratt from the school to Bestor Plaza.
Each summer, hundreds of high school- and college-aged young people travel to Chautauqua to work. Their reasons for coming vary, but family ties and traditions play a large role for many. The allure in the region of working at the Institution is a significant attraction. Early career professional development counts for some.
Each has a story to tell.
Here are some of them.
“There is just something about Chautauqua at 6 a.m. that cannot be described,” said Mac McShane, 16-year-old circulation manager of The Chautauquan Daily. “My route is my way to relax. It’s just me, the cool morning air, and a list of houses.”
The kid everyone calls Mac spends his summers working at the Daily, along with waiting tables at Intermezzo at Chautauqua.
En route, he delivers the paper on his scooter to people all throughout the grounds, including to Institution President Tom Becker.
The final morning lecture of the 2012 Season offered Chautauquans a preview of the upcoming presidential election from two veteran journalists.
Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, editors at Time magazine, inspired the Week Nine morning lecture theme of “The Presidents Club,” with their book of the same name.
The Time editors’ casual discussion covered everything from Mitt Romney’s wealth to the relationship between Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama.
“Joan told us that we had to say something religious during this talk, (since we’re speaking on) tapes uncovering wrongdoing and all that: Luke 12:3 ‘Therefore whatever you have said in the dark side shall be heard in the light, and what you whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops,” said James Robenalt, a partner at Thompson Hine LLP, during the 2 p.m. Interfaith Lecture.
On Thursday, in a continuation of the Week Nine Department of Religion theme, “The Ethics of Presidential Power,” Robenalt spoke with John W. Dean, former counsel to President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, to present a lecture titled “The Ethics of Clarity: Waking Up From Wrongdoing.”
In the waning days of his presidency, a 70-year-old Dwight D. Eisenhower fled Washington with his wife, Mamie, to their farm in Gettysburg. He was facing the impending reality of life after the Oval Office, a time marked by uncertainty.
Presidential historian Richard Norton Smith offered a peek behind the curtain at those private lives during Thursday’s morning lecture, titled “Hail and Farewell: An Exclusive Trade Union.” Smith’s talk was the penultimate lecture for Week Nine, themed “The Presidents Club.”
“Ike faced the conundrum of a retirement for which there was no retirement policy,” Smith said. “To guide him, Eisenhower had only his own instincts and the often dispiriting examples of those who had gone before.”
On Wednesday, John Q. Barrett, a constitutional law and history professor at St. John’s University, continued the Department of Religion’s Week Nine Interfaith Lecture theme, “The Ethics of Presidential Power,” with a lecture titled “Civil Rights and Judicial Appointments: Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and Their Successors.”
In his 2 p.m. lecture, Barrett touched on six main points: the federal court and judicial appointment process; criteria for presidential appointments; judicial appointments during the modern civil rights era — starting with Calvin Coolidge; a case study of Judge A. Leon Higginbotham; an examination of presidential appointments following Kennedy and Johnson; and a discussion of the court’s future progress.
“The wooden structures were closely packed, quite numerous, you may be aware of housing in Japan, the interior walls made of paper so they burn very, very well. Temperatures in the city reached upwards of 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Vehicle frames were melted; canals and ponds were brought to the boiling point. The air contained drops of liquid glass drifting in the wind. Citizens running for their lives spontaneously combusted; many were found charred beyond recognition or dead from heat or suffocation. Over a quarter of a million buildings were destroyed, 16 square miles, almost one-quarter of the city, were laid to complete waste — up to 100,000 people died in that raid,” said Philip Nash, an associate professor of history at Penn State University at the start of his Tuesday Interfaith Lecture.
Nash is the author of The Other Missiles of October: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and the Jupiters, 1957–1963.
“What I just described is the conventional bombing raid — B-29 bombers on the night March 9 to 10, 1945 — that was not a description of Hiroshima or Nagasaki,” he said.
Chaim Zemach said his 44 years of coming to Chautauqua, watching people come and go, observing the changes in the community year after year, have been like an ongoing novel. For any who have met and spoken with Zemach, it could be argued that his life is a bit like a novel itself.
Zemach has been the principal cellist of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra for 44 years. Zemach will retire at the end of this summer, his 45th season playing with the CSO. Zemach has become an indisputable legend at Chautauqua and a source of admiration from within and outside the orchestra.
For 10 days, Daily photographer Lauren Rock followed Chautauqua School of Dance Workshop II students, ages 13-15, through their classes and final Amphitheater performance to document the commitment and discipline required of a young ballerina.
“These girls are very young, but they are serious about dance,” Rock said. “Attending the School of Dance is one small step on their journey to becoming professional ballerinas. They learn to become adaptable — those who can pick up choreography quickly and adapt to different instructors and their styles are more likely to be successful. The dancers learn discipline and the importance of taking care of themselves and working hard to maintain the best physical form possible.”