Bend in the River

Winding river

Welcome to Bend in the River at Tunxis Community College. Bend in the River, a non-credit program of short courses and workshops, is for people who love to learn and experience new challenges. There are no exams to take or grades to worry about. Our courses are designed for intellectual stimulation and enrichment. They are taught by members of the Tunxis faculty and other experts in their fields.

The name, Tunxis, is loosely translated from the Native American Indian word meaning “the point where the river bends.” We hope that our program will inspire you to follow the river’s bend to new opportunities to learn and grow.


Top 10 Musical Masterpieces






Classical music offers something for everyone. And everyone should be familiar with the world’s top 10 musical masterpieces. We will introduce you to these great works, the composers who wrote them and the impact they’ve had on the musical art form.

Session 1:  Works of J.S. Bach, Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto,” and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3

Session 2:  Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis,” Piano Works of Chopin, and the Berlioz “Symphonie Fantastique”

Session 3:  Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn” by Debussy, Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”

Sept. 10, 17, 24 (W); 6 – 8:30 p.m.

Room: 6 – 173

Fee: $99

Instructor: Jeff Martin is a professional musician and educator who has taught music in a variety of classrooms, college lecture halls, and on behalf of a professional orchestra.  As a singer, Jeff has performed opera and musical theater, as well as with small chamber ensembles and large symphonic choruses.

Rebooting Your Life & Career

Are you entering a new life stage? Reconsidering what you want to do with your life?  Come to this workshop to rediscover who you are and identify what you want to do with your career and life. In this workshop, you’ll identify your interests, skills and values, clarify what gives meaning to your life, and create plans for what steps you want to pursue next in your career and life.

Sept. 19 (F); 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.     

Room: 6 – 173                                  

Fee: $99

Instructor: Eleta Jones, Ph.D., LPC, brings more than 30 years of experience as a career coach and counselor to her work with people in the nonprofit and government sectors. A private coach and counselor, Jones also teaches career management at the University of Connecticut’s Hartford MBA program and career counseling at the University of Saint Joseph. In 2006, Eleta was awarded the “Distinguished Professional Award” by the Connecticut Counseling Association.

Writing Your Memoir with Bessy Reyna

“I would like to invite people to join me in finding ways to bring out the stories they have kept hidden until now.”  – Bessy Reyna

Acclaimed poet and former Hartford Courant columnist Bessy Rayna will lead a one-day workshop on memoir writing. Through guided discussions and exercises, Reyna will help you build a foundation that will support your efforts to explore and capture significant moments from your own life.

“I have done workshops with people who thought they couldn’t write and they haven’t stopped since the workshop,” says Reyna. “One participant has now written the story of his family and self-published a book for his children and grandchildren.”

Sept. 27 (S); 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.                                                          

Room: 6 – 173

Fee: $95

Instructor: Bessy Reyna’s work has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in the United States and throughout Latin America. She has led memoir writing workshops at the Mark Twain House, the Hill-Stead Museum, and many other venues. Her bilingual poetry collection “Memoirs of the Unfaithful Lover” was published by tunAstral press, Mexico.

Learning to Love Great Opera







For many people, listening to opera seems like a daunting task. This need not be the case! Join musician and educator Jeffrey Martin and discover what this historical musical genre has to offer. Martin will introduce you to some of the world’s great operas, exploring not only their intricate plots but also their musical qualities and historical significance. You will learn how to listen to, watch and love great opera.

Session 1:  Opera Italiana-Handel’s “Giulio Cesare,” Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro, “ Verdi’s “Aida,” and Puccini’s “la Boheme”

Session 2:  Deutsch Opera – Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Wagner’s “Lohengrin,” and Richard Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier”

Session 3:  English Opera – Purcell’s “Dido & Aeneas,” Britten’s “Peter Grimes,” Floyd’s “Susannah,” and Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess”

Oct. 8, 15, 22 (W); 6  – 8:30p.m.

Room: 6 – 173

Fee: $99


Poetry Reading and Writing

Gain confidence in analyzing poetry, writing a poem, and presenting your work under the guidance of acclaimed poet and teacher John Stanizzi. This day-long workshop will explore several poems ranging from classic to contemporary. Through creative prompts, small group discussion and one-on-one coaching, you will have the opportunity to create your own draft of a potential poem or two and share it with the class.

Oct. 18 (S); 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Fee: $95

Instructor: John L. Stanizzi has delighted readers and listeners throughout New England and beyond. A guest on Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac,” Stanizzi is the author of “Ecstasy Among Ghosts,” now in its fourth printing, “Sleepwalking,” “Windows,”Dance Against the Wall,” and “After the Bell.” Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, in 1998 Stanizzi was named The New England Poet of the Year by The New England Association of Teachers of English. He teaches English at Manchester Community College and Bacon Academy.


Academy Award Winners: Best Foreign Films












Join film professor Bob Kagan for an exploration of three European films that received Academy Awards in the best foreign film category. Each class features background material on the evening’s film, a look at how the director uses cinematography, sound and editing to tell a story, insights into the cultural context of the film and a lively post-film discussion.

The class will screen “The Counterfeiters,” about Jewish counterfeiters forced by the Nazis to assist in a plan aimed at destabilizing the United Kingdom; “The Sea Inside,” featuring Javier Bardem as a man paralyzed in a diving accident; and “All About My Mother,” directed by Pedro Almodovar and depicting a mother struggling to understand life’s tragedies.

Oct. 9, 16, 23 (Thurs.); 6:30 – 9:30pm

Fee: $25

Instructor: Bob Kagan is a professor of communication at Manchester Community College and Central Connecticut State University. He is the director of the International Film Series at Manchester Community College and also leads film discussions at The Wadsworth Atheneum and Real Art Ways in Hartford.



You must have a LinkedIn account or visit to set up an account prior to taking these classes.

The Basics

Learn how to complete a LinkedIn profile and leverage LinkedIn to improve your networking. Get the most from your profile and LinkedIn, the professionals’ online networking site. Author and instructor Carol Mon will teach you how to create a LinkedIn profile, search and make connections, and join groups and follow companies of interest.

Oct. 7 (T); 5 – 7 p.m.,

Room: 205

Fee: $25

Beyond the Basics

You have a profile, you log on and make connections but you want to know what else you could be doing with LinkedIn. In “Beyond the Basics,” you will learn many of the features you can use to get more from your online networking. You will also learn how to sort your contacts, make introductions, forward profiles and get recommendations.

Oct. 21 (T); 5 – 7 p.m.

Room: 205

Fee: $25

Instructor: Carol Mon has trained hundreds of people on how to use social media for business and fun. She is also the author of “A Guide to Networking for Introverts, From Icebreaking to Deal Making.” Mon is a corporate storyteller who relies heavily on networking for business development.


Learning to Live The Four Agreements

Are you living the life you were meant to live or do you allow fear, doubt and self-criticism to hold you back?

Learning to Live The Four Agreements is a day-long exploration based on the bestselling book by Don Miguel Ruiz. This workshop will show you how to bring The Four Agreements into your life and overcome the fears and beliefs that stand in your way. The Four Agreements are: Be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best.

Nov. 1 (S); 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Fee: $85

 Instructor: Lisa Crofton, a student of Don Miguel Ruiz, is also a teacher, coach and Reiki master with more than 25 years of instructional/facilitation experience. She is a published columnist, inspirational writer and motivational speaker.


An Invitation to Mindfulness


“The quality of care you give to others is related to the quality of care you give yourself.”—Sharon Gutterman

You have the inner capacity to deal with the stresses that life brings along your path.  You also have the capacity to savor life’s joys. Learn how to practice mindfulness so that you can live a calmer, more satisfying life. This workshop will cover: present moment awareness, mindful meditation, stress management, body scan, mindful communication, mindful eating, and handling strong emotions

Nov. 15 (S); 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Room: 6 – 173

Fee: $95

Instructor: Sharon Gutterman, Ph.D., teaches mindfulness practices to people from all walks of life in the United States and internationally. She trained in the highly successful Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program developed and taught by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli.