Programs offered during the week at Chatuauqua include a devotional service and a lecture on a social, political or academic issue in the morning, an afternoon lecture on a religious topic, and an evening program. This evening Amphitheater event may be a symphony concert by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, a dance program by the Chautauqua Ballet Company, or a program by a special guest artist. During most weeks, there is at least one opportunity to catch an opera and a play, both put on by Chautauqua's resident summer companies. Operas are performed in English at Norton Hall, a 1930s era art deco structure. There are also regularly scheduled organ recitals on the Massey Memorial Organ, student recitals, master classes, forums, and seminars for the sophisticate.
A range of special studies courses in music, art, dance, drama and general topics are also offered. The Chautauqua Schools of Music offer extremely competitive programs on the basis of scholarship. George Gershwin visited Chautauqua as a summer refuge to compose parts of his Concerto in F in a small wooden piano studio and give its first public performance.
The 10:45 morning lecture program is one of the most distinctive features of the program at the Institution. The program for each week is built around a unifying theme, such as world events. Chautauqua has been visited by United States Presidents from Ulysses S. Grantto Bill Clinton, and by other prominent Americans including Booker T. Washington, Karl Menninger, Tom Ridge and, in 2006, Al Gore.Franklin D. Roosevelt's historic "I hate war" speech was delivered from the podium in the Chautauqua Amphitheater (1936).
Sundays at Chautauqua feature worship services, both denominational and ecumenical. There is an afternoon Amphitheater program, such as a military band or student dance program. On Sundays, entrance to the Institution grounds is free. Worship services are coordinated by the permanent Department of Religion staff.
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