UMass Lowell Professor John Shirley teaches Harmonica class to LIRA.

Art and Music Schedule

Fall 2018

Programs on October 3, October 24, and October 31 will be held at University Suites, Room 106, 327 Aiken Street, Lowell, MA from 10 a.m. to Noon. There will sign-up sheets for tours at the September 12 Convocation Meeting. If you cannot attend, you may ask someone to put your name on the list for your choice of tours. If there is a cost, payment is now required when you sign up unless otherwise noted. A 24-hour notice must be given for a refund. There is no Art/Music program on Wednesday, September 19 due to Yom Kippur.

Wednesday, September 26 Tour and visit to Immaculate Conception Church, Lowell Mass.

The Immaculate Conception Church was built in the 1870s, as a wave of Catholic immigrants made the journey from Europe to settle in Lowell. The church is constructed of granite and is modern Gothic and cruciform in style with magnificent stained-glass windows. It is 191 feet in length and 109 feet wide, with a seating capacity of 2,000. Join us for a tour of the architecture and history of this beautiful church led by Sacristan Richard Sweeney, who has worked in the parish for 39 years. Participants should meet at 10 a.m. at the Church, located at 144 East Merrimack St, Lowell. On street parking available. If a funeral is scheduled on the day of the tour, the time will be changed to afternoon on the same day.

Coordinator: Amy Bisson*

Wednesday, October 3 The Monuments Men – Mary Woodward

Mary Woodward, Lead Guide at the Gropius House in Lincoln, Mass., will present an illustrated talk about the heroic men and women of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives division of the US Army during World War II…known as the Monuments Men. They risked their lives, and a couple of them lost their lives, trying to protect, salvage, restore and return works of art that were systematically being damaged, destroyed, misappropriated or stolen in Europe between the years 1933 (when Hitler became the German chancellor) and 1945 (when the war ended). We will focus on the stories of famous works of art by Vermeer and Van Gogh and look at the efforts to save world-renowned collections such as the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum.

Coordinator: Kathy Cryan-Hicks*

Wednesday, October 10 Visit to the Museum of Russian Icons, Clinton Mass.

Join us for a docent led tour of the Russian Icon Museum, 203 Union St, Clinton MA. The Museum of Russian Icons inspires the appreciation and study of Russian culture by collecting and exhibiting one of the world’s largest collections of Russian icons - sacred paintings used for veneration in the Orthodox tradition. With more than 1,000 icons and related artifacts spanning 6 centuries, the Museum offers a unique and personalized experience rich with art, history, and culture.

Tour begins at 11 a.m. Please contact Diane Baker (Email: or phone: 978-337-2580) if you are interested to car pool to the museum. Entry fee is $6 per person to be paid at the museum on the day of the tour.

Coordinator: Diane Baker*

Wednesday, October 17 Visit to the MFA, Boston Mass.

There are two new galleries: Daily Life in Ancient Greece and Monet. Special Exhibits include: Propaganda Postcards from the era of World Wars I and II, Winnie the Pooh, and French Pastels. Pastels are light-sensitive and are rarely displayed. There are 30 items in the Pastels Exhibit, works by Degas, Cassatt, Monet, Manet, Pissarro and others.

Museum Admission: Adults $25, Seniors 65+ $23. Admission will be paid individually at the museum. All discounts and coupons are valid. Free Guided Tours exploring the highlights of the MFA’s collections are offered daily. Touch Screen MFA Guides are available to rent for $6.

  • The Bus leaves at 10 a.m. from the back parking lot at Hannaford in Chelmsford and returns at 3 p.m.
  • Bus Cost is $11 for LIRA members and $16 for non-members (if space is available).
  • Checks, made out to LIRA Inc, are due by Wednesday, October 10. Please send check to: Carol McCarthy, 398 Acton Road, Chelmsford, MA 01824. Phone: 978-256-5904.

Coordinator: Carol McCarthy*

Wednesday, October 24 Cinque Terra, The Five Lands – Jack Holmes

Photographer Jack Holmes will present photos and facts about the Cinque Terra in Italy. Tucked into ravines that reach to the Ligurian Sea, these small Italian Rivera towns beckon and capture the traveler. The region, and each village, has a distinct character of sun, sea, food, wine, hiking trails, and quiet Italy. Easily reached by train from Genoa or cities further afield, Cinque Terre is a must visit.

Coordinator: Jean Rubinstein*

Wednesday, October 31 Vietnam Today - Joe Sheedy

Joe Sheedy will give a slide presentation of his visit to Vietnam in the fall of 2017. Here are the highlights.

  • Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) French influence, the war and the Cu Chi tunnel network
  • Ho Ann Ancient Trading port, Japanese wooden bridge with a 400 year-old history, fishing and boat building, boat trip on the Bon River
  • Hue, the former capital, named Vietnam's forbidden Purple City, Vietnam's version of China's forbidden city, Empirical tombs and the Perfume River, Ha Long Bay, listed by UNESCO Heritage as "One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World."
  • Hanoi - A visit to infamous Hanoi Hilton and a visit to local market where one can shop ‘til you drop!

Coordinator: Carol McCarthy*

Wednesday, November 7 Cookie Matinee of “Murder for Two” at MRT

One murder. Two actors. Six suspects. And one piano! Who killed the great a.m.erican novelist Arthur Whitney at his own surprise party? In this zany, whodunit, comedy musical, every guest has a motive. Was it the prima ballerina, the widow, the niece, the psychiatrist—or even the detective? Two actors play 13 roles—and the piano—in this entertaining homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries. The play stars co-writer Joe Kinosian, in the role he originated Off-Broadway. The New York Times called it an “ingenious miniature musical in the form of a snazzy vaudevillian double-act.”

Tickets for the 2 pm show are $16 each (includes coffee and cookies before the show). RSVP by September 21 to Amy Bisson, Email:, or phone: 508-320-8021. Checks made payable to Merrimack Repertory Theatre, can be given to a.m.y at the LIRA Fall convocation on September 12, or mailed by September 21 to Amy Bisson, 130 John Street, #302, Lowell, MA 01852. MRT subscribers can contact the Box Office directly by email: about exchanging tickets for this performance; they can waive the upgrade charge this one time if you let them know you're part of the LIRA group.

MRT is located at 50 East Merrimack St., Lowell, next door to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. You may park on the street or in one of three lots: Davidson St. lot (1-999 Davidson St. just off Merrimack St. for a fee); or at the Lower Locks Garage at 90 Warren St. for $5 with ticket stamped at theater, or at John St. Garage for $5 with ticket stamped at theater. Each of these garages is about a 5-minute walk to the theater. You may also walk from the Tsongas Center if you have a parking tag there. It is about a 10-minute walk

Coordinator: Amy Bisson*

Wednesday, November 14 – Middlesex Community College Student Music Showcase

Join us at for performances by MCC student singers and instrumentalists in MCC’s brand new Academic Arts Center on 240 Central St in Lowell. MCC's newly renovated Academic Arts Center has stood as a multi-purpose facility in the heart of Lowell for nearly 150 years. The Center will house the college's performing arts programs, including theater, dance and music. The centerpiece of the historic, totally renovated building will be a new proscenium theater to showcase theatrical programs and performances.

Program start time is 11 a.m. On street parking is available or you may park in the Lower Locks Garage, 90 Warren St or in the Edward Early Garage at 135 Middlesex St. Both are within 5 minutes of the Academic Arts Center.

Coordinator: Diane Baker*