• 66°

English-Speaking Union begins new year of programming

ESU program schedule

The group typically meets the third Thursday of each month at The Country Club of Salisbury. Drinks are at 6:30 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. and the program at 8 p.m.

• Sept. 21 — “Europe After Brexit: A Continent at the Crossroads.” Dr. Alexander Lust, Appalachian State University.

• Oct. 19 — “Voices from the Titanic,” Alan Wolf of Asheville.

• Nov. 16 — Concert by Solomon Eichner, a concert pianist who lives near Raleigh.

• Jan. 11 — “Teacher in Space,” Dr. Cyndi Osterhus of Salisbury.

• Feb. 15 — “The Effects of WW I on Europe, the U.S., and North Carolina,” Dr. Heather Perry, UNCC.

• March 15 — Charlie Lovett of Winston-Salem, author of “The Lost Book of the Grail” and “Bookman’s Tale,” a  New York Times Bestseller.

• April 12 — Concert by young musicians Eli Yacinthe and Sarah Claire King, both of Statesville.

By Susan Shinn Turner for the Salisbury Post

Later this month, the Salisbury branch of the English-Speaking Union begins a new year of programming — presentations members hope will not only be fascinating, but will draw new members as well.

The club’s mission is to celebrate English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.

This mission might encompass a wide variety of programs — and that’s exactly what Jill Connery has done in her role as speaker chair. Even though she is English, Connery points out that the club is not just for people of English descent.

“I thought it would be a wonderful way to meet local people,” says Connery, who moved to Trinity Oaks Retirement Community 5½ years ago with her husband, Jack. “We wanted to be part of the community.”

Connery notes that Toni Iossi served as speaker chair for five years before President Gerry Wood asked Connery to give it a try. Since Connery was a new member, she asked Mary James and Jim Taylor to help her out, which they did. They shared ideas with one another and offered feedback, Connery says.

“We knew that the way to attract new members was to offer high-quality speakers,” she says.

The help of Jim Williford, speaker chair of the Sandhills chapter of ESU, was also invaluable, she notes. He provided Connery with his own list of speakers, and she started making phone calls.

She also praises Wood’s leadership. “He’s been so supportive and easy to work with.”

Wood, the semi-retired owner of Gerry Wood Honda, has led the club for the past decade. The late Mary Messenger asked him to get involved — and nobody ever said no to her.

The English-Speaking Union of the United States was formed in 1920 to forge close ties with Great Britain following World War I. Wood notes that the local club first opened its bank account at F&M Bank in 1933. Wood, who was born in Liverpool and raised in North Wales, assumed duties as president because he wanted the local chapter to continue.

“We have a very informal, non-structured association,” he says. “We have brought in some very good speakers.”

The group has about 100 members, and has a monthly attendance of between 45 and 80, Wood says. The highest attended program came when Tom Staats, who’s retired from  Highland House, brought in Paul Burrell, Princess Diana’s butler, when he was in High Point to help introduce the Royal Manner line.

Wood has also presented to the club about his experiences as a Royal Naval cadet.

If you’ve never been to an ESU meeting, Wood issues an open invitation.

“I hope people come away having been entertained and learning something they didn’t know,” he says. “I want them to have a really enjoyable evening, and a desire to return for the next meeting. We have so much to offer in the way of cerebral stimulation.”

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post


Ask Us

Ask Us: Who are people behind sign at City Park playground?


Prison in Salisbury latest site of COVID-19 outbreak


Blotter: Salisbury Man charged with felony assault by strangulation


Trump vows quick Supreme Court vote, Biden urges delay for Nov. 3


New rule may strip pollution protections from popular lakes

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day


In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising


From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community


In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help


Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system


School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures


Republicans rally supporters at Saturday lunch


Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice


Budd holds wide lead over Huffman in fundraising, cash on hand


UPDATED: 1 shot, 5 in custody after shooting at haunted house that attracted 1,000 visitors


Trump picks conservative Amy Coney Barrett to fill Supreme Court seat


Deadly September propels Rowan County to 100 deaths from COVID-19


Highway Patrol charges man in hit-and-run after finding vehicle hidden in woods


NC elections board, Republicans at odds over absentee ballot rule changes


Voters struggling with witness rules in early voting


Trump expected to announce conservative Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court


County reports COVID-19 percent positive rate of 8%


Rowan County United Way sets $1.5 million goal at drive-in kickoff event


Blotter: Adult daughters accused of beating up mother