Collective Memory: The stories we tell about ourselves
Our communities are formed and defined by the stories we tell, the rituals we share, and the monuments we sculpt. We receive culture from those who come before us, but we are also responsible to recreate it. To retell the stories, to reimagine the stories, and to remake the monuments, literally or figuratively. Join us as we explore who we are, how we want to remember the past and how we want to be remembered.
Steeped in history, Diane Taraz uses the music of various eras to show the inner lives of people who lived long ago. The stories of women and those at the base of the social scale have often been left out of the simplified stories we tell ourselves about the past. Diane shines a light on people from many walks of life who deserve to be better known for their courage, ingenuity, and endurance.
Among those people was Candace, a woman enslaved from an early age by Gosport’s beloved minister, John Tucke. From 1742 until just before the Revolution she lived and worked on Star, enduring a life made more difficult by her status. At least four other people were enslaved in Gosport. In her introductory day Diane detailed what we know about their experience, and the mindset and social and economic conventions that made their enslavement possible. For much too long their story was not part of our story, and it is well past time to include them.
The second day’s talk traced events from the American Revolution. As the new nation began, conceived in liberty, it did not extend the right of liberty to all. The legacy of this injustice persists. Day Three celebrated the life of Elizabeth Freeman, known as Mum Bet, who sued for her freedom during the Revolution and won her case in a Massachusetts court. Her remarkable legacy included a large estate for her daughter and grandchildren, and her victory set in motion other cases that led to the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts.
Day Four took a deep dive into the Civil War and its remarkable music. The repercussions of this struggle, made inevitable by the compromises made at the nation’s founding, remain very much with us today. The last day’s program explored the effects of the invention of steam power, from early pumps and vessels to steam automobiles that originally outnumbered both electric and gasoline cars. The railroad brought many changes worldwide, and in the U.S. fueled both the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Migration.
Diane performed in hand-sewn garments made from original patterns, and accompanied her singing on dulcimer and guitar.
Diane is on the Scholarly Advisory Board of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, based in New York City, and brings her programs to museums, universities, libraries, and historic houses throughout New England. She directs the Lexington Historical Society's Colonial Singers, a group of music-loving reenactors. She researches and arranges songs, teaches them to the group, and leads them in various events. She has produced two CDs for the group, and in 2017 and 2018 directed three presentations of a play from 1728, The Beggar's Opera, which she adapted.
She just released her latest of her many recordings, “More Songs of the Revolution.” More about her can be found at www.Diane Taraz.com.
Minister of the Week
Rev. Anastassia Zinke
Rev. Anastassia Zinke serves as minister at the UU Church of Annapolis, MD. She previously served All Souls Unitarian Church in Indianapolis. Anastassia is particularly known for her powerful storytelling as part of worship, and for her warmth and spiritual leadership. She and her family (her spouse Kent, and two children, Sadie and Benjamin) are all looking forward to returning to LOAS II this year for the second time.
Cece Braun and Topher Soltys
We're so excited to welcome you to a week of learning, community, and fun.
Registrar: Alison Green
Alison is the one to contact with any questions around registering for the conference, including accommodation issues.
Youth Coordinator: Anna Henschel
Anna is putting together a team of youth leaders, who will lead morning and afternoon activities for children.
Week-long classes, offered daily
with Ellen Schmidt
The Writing Circle creates a supportive and stimulating environment for anyone who wants to discover more about themselves and to connect more deeply with others. Whether you consider yourself a writer or not at all a writer, you are warmly welcome! Writing is different from thinking or speaking. Writing is magic: You make a few scratchings on paper or tap-tap-tap on a keyboard in a certain order — and presto! — you give your thoughts and feelings shape, parameter, and clarity. When you write a story from your life or your imagination, you know a bit more of who you are. As we listen to each other, we come a step closer to one another. In a world that is coming apart at the seams, writing has the power to connect us and to create community.
Each day I will provide a different writing “spark” to get you started on a short write. There’s no way to do this wrong; it’s inconceivable. Everyone will have the opportunity, but not the obligation, to share their writing. You can attend one, some, or every day of the LOAS II week. Please bring your favorite writing implement and a notebook. (I will have a few extras.)
More about Ellen Schmidt: www.
with Elizabeth Hutchinson
Thinking About Gender
with Eleanor Willard
Do you wish you were more comfortable talking to and about trans people? I am a nonbinary trans person who wants to help you get there!
In this workshop, we will start with Gender 101 (vocabulary and data), and then move onto a deeper examination of how gender as a societal construct shapes all our lives. We will reflect on our own identities, and focus on common experiences shared by trans and cis people, rather than differences. I hope by the end of the week participants will feel more equipped to create welcoming communities at home and to resist anti-trans oppression.
I ask that you commit to attending every day of the workshop, so that we can build trust and have one long conversation throughout the week. While I will focus on education about transness, people of all genders, identities, and awareness levels are welcome to attend.
with Nicole Tomassi
My style of teaching revolves around embracing intuition and self practice. I encourage throwing your own flavor into my class — taking poses to the next level or down a notch for whatever fulfills your needs. My classes are usually filled with flows and unique sequences. I am so excited to share my practice with you all!
Sock Monsters for Everyone!
with Diane Taraz
Make your own little buddy out of a sock. The process is easy and does not require fancy sewing — in fact, crooked stitches add character. Diane will have lots of socks, or you can bring some that are too exciting to wear. There will be boxes of buttons, beads, bells, and hardware so our monsters can rock piercings and bling. Come any day, to one or all the sessions.
with Sara Coursen
OK, ok. I stole a lot of that from Girl Scouts — but ever since I started coming to Star, the idea of badges for completing Star Island traditions (or making new ones!) has been percolating in my brain. Old Shoaler? Come to this workshop and share your Star fun! New Shoaler? This is a perfect place to come and find out all the amazing things to do on Star! Do you have something you have always wanted to do on Star and were unsure how to do it? (For me it took me 10 years to be brave enough to row to Smuttynose Island.) We will find you a buddy to make your Star dreams come true!!! Are you the kind of person that just likes to collect badges? Come learn how to add badges to your sash (or other collection area — many choices for how to display your prizes!). Here are some previews — Lime Rickey Badge, Porch Rocking Badge, Polar Bear Badge, Napping Badge, Children's hour volunteer badge.... and so much more!
Mini-workshops led by conferees
Everything You Wanted to Know About Philanthropy But Were Afraid to Ask
with Nan Jefferys
with Jessica Robidoux Leger and Sarah Jensen
with Ellen Schmidt
Beloved Community Workshop
with Rev. Christana Willie McKnight
with Susan Soltys
with Diane Teraz
Star Island Governance and Strategic Plan
with Topher Soltys & Joe Watts
with Aileen Dashurova
Ahoy, ye hearties and fair maidens!
Ye be cordially invited to set sail on a night of swashbuckling enchantment at our Pirate Prom. 'Tis an evening where the high seas meet elegance, and adventure awaits at every corner.
Join us on 8/26 at 6:30pm at our decked-out pirate cove, transformed into a realm of treasure and romance. X marks the spot on the map enclosed. Prepare to don yer finest pirate garb or elegant attire that would make even Blackbeard himself swoon. Pirattire can run the full gamut: gritty tattered pirate, a fancy dandy pirate, prom queen pirate.
The night shall be filled with wondrous delights fit for a crew of fine buccaneers. Feast upon a bountiful buffet of savory delights and indulge in sweet treats that rival the finest plunder. Raise yer tankards high as we toast to friendships forged on this memorable night.
But the feast is just the beginning of the adventure! Engage in lively conversation with fellow rogues and share tales of daring escapades at the after party!
The sea shanties shall echo through the night as our talented musicians weave melodies that will set yer hearts aflutter. Be prepared to dance the night away, guided by the light of the moon and the spirit of adventure in yer souls.
Capture the memories of this special occasion with our pirate-themed photo booth, where ye can strike a pose with treasure chests, cutlasses, and all manner of pirate props.
Spaces be limited, so do not tarry, or ye risk walkin' the plank!
We promise ye an evening of revelry, camaraderie, and memories that will forever be etched in the annals of pirate lore. So hoist the anchor, set sail, and join us for a prom night unlike any other!
Fair winds and a starry sky,
Captain Jack Swallow (Justin) and the Haase Crew
Shirts: Ruffled, billowy shirts in white or off-white colors are commonly worn, sometimes with lace-up fronts or open collars.
Coats and Jackets: Velvet or brocade coats with rich, dark colors such as black, burgundy, or navy blue. These coats may feature wide lapels, gold or silver trimmings, and ornate buttons.
Pants: Tight-fitting trousers or breeches, often in black or dark colors, occasionally embellished with buckles or laces at the knees.
Belts and Sashes: Wide leather belts with oversized buckles or decorative sashes worn around the waist can add a pirate flair.
Boots: Knee-high or calf-high leather boots, preferably with a worn or weathered look. These may have fold-over cuffs and sometimes feature buckles or straps.
Accessories: Eye patches, tricorn hats with feathers or ribbons, bandanas, and long, flowing scarves are popular pirate accessories. Men might also wear gold hoop earrings and carry a sword or dagger (usually decorative or prop versions for safety).
Jewelry: Gold or silver necklaces, rings, and bracelets can enhance the overall pirate look.
Remember, pirate prom attire allows for some creativity and personalization. Consider adding unique touches such as faux tattoos, faux facial hair, or incorporating elements like a parrot accessory or a treasure chest-inspired clutch to complete the ensemble.
The week is made magical by our volunteers!
Volunteers will be listed as they are confirmed.
We are currently in the process of updating each volunteer position's description.
At the conference, volunteers will be provided with a description to review and potentially update so it accurately reflects the position. Please provide it back to Patti Emmons after updating.
During the week, make announcements that art produced by conferees during the week can be displayed on the last day of the conference.
Work with art workshop leaders to encourage participants in workshops to display their creations.
On the last day of the conference, set up the art show in Newton to run from 3:30 to 6:15.
Take down display and ask artists to pick up their work to take home with them from the island.
Beverly Smith & ???
Sara Kornbluh & Jeanna Steele
Jessica Robidoux Leger
Nightly outside the kids’ library on Oceanic 2nd floor, 7:45 - 8:00 PM
Erin Barbot, Bill Barbot, Beverly Smith
Susan and Justin Haase
Discuss location/rain location with the Chairs. The party starts after evening chapel and winds down around 11:30.. Since alcohol will be served at the party, New Hampshire’s liquor law prohibits people under the age of 21.
The Provisioner orders the food and drink. The party includes alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages and typically the food includes platters of cheese and crackers, vegetables and dip as well as nachos.Talk with Conference Services the day before the party to:
Arrange the set-up of refreshment tables;
Arrange the set-up of sound equipment;
Determine the extent of the cleaning up that Conference Services expects.
Ask the leaders of the Scholarship Auction to remove the auction items before the party.
Money is included for decorations in the line item on the budget for Final Parties, ask Chairs or Treasurer how much is available. It’s typically around $50. You can get a reimbursement form on Island from the Treasurer.
(Check with the leaders of the Starlight Café to learn if their decorations will remain festooned in the back room of Newton throughout LOAS 2. If so, for LOAS 1, you may decide to use fewer decorations of your own.) Simplicity is the guideline. No helium balloons are allowed since helium is prohibited on the ferry, and the balloons impact the island and ocean environment adversely.
Arrange the food in the back room near the kitchen.
Stock the tables of refreshments so long as the food and drinks last.
Assign a DJ for the evening.
Tell any remaining revelers just before midnight that boarding for the ferry starts at 8:00 A.M.
Arrange a clean-up crew. For any people who don’t want to leave at midnight, recruit them to help as well.
Bring great music, tapes or CDs, for dancing at the party. Dancing takes place in the front room.
Talk with Conference Services the day before the party to:
Assist the Final Party Host with setup planning
The chief purpose of the Grand March is to say good-by to everyone in the
conference. We do this by passing everyone individually as we spiral in and spiral
out. We also have a lot of fun.
Due to COVID the Grand March now takes place on the porch.
Decide with the Chairs how the march will be configured. Ask to have a couple of minutes at the end of the Final Banquet to explain of the Grand March: The line forms behind the Grand Marshall with Current Chairs followed by the next two years of Chairs. The march proceeds through Elliot to pick up the kids, out through Gosport, and onto the porch. Once everyone is on the porch, switch to Auld Lang Syne with arms crossed and holding hands, then a Star Cheer for next year’s conference. Have someone in the banquet who will cue the Music Director when to play the March and then cue when to switch to Auld Lang Syne.
Ask conference services to turn rocking chairs sideways and push chairs up to the railing.
Arrange music and timing with the Music Director.
Ask someone to sing the new song into a mic that projects onto the porch.
Make sure the porch speaker system is on and active.
There are two versions of the Grand March:
Version I is for the Hotel Lobby. It’s more intimate and has better singing.
Version II is for the front lawn. It can handle a large crowd – children, adults, entire
conference. Don’t use this version unless there’s enough outdoor light. It’s
important that you see faces as the line passes you. For LOAS, at the end of the
banquet, it is usually dusk and beyond – hard to make out faces.
1) Arrange music and timing with Music Director.
2) Have lobby cleared of furniture.
3) Make sure porch speaker system in on and active (so music can be heard when
4) Form pairs (by two’s) led by March leader, this year’s conference chairs and
then next year’s chairs.
5) March around dining hall, thru Elliot (pick-up children), onto porch, down east
porch onto lawn and up the front stairs to enter lobby.
6) Go to the right when entering lobby.
7) Immediately switch to single file. Station someone at the door to make sure
everyone is single file.
8) Spiral in and then out. Use entire lobby space from the piano to writing desk
and front door to snack bar door to make spiral as large as possible.
9) Form single or double line to make a big circle and hold hands.
10) Sing Auld Lang Syne, then a Star cheer for next year’s conference.
1) Follow steps 1 – 5 in Version I, but omit going up the front steps. Stay on the
2) When everyone is on the lawn, switch to a single file, holding hands and begin
the large spiral.
3) Follow steps 8 – 10 in Version I to finish the Grand March.
4) Have someone on the front porch, watching the Grand March, who will cue the
Music Director when to play the music, when to play Auld Lang Syne, and when to
stop for the final cheer.
Susan Soltys & Mike Soltys
Terri Behm & Tiffany Reed
LOAS has an option to serve clams and mussels during one of the adult Social Hours. Usually, the Chairs, the Provisioner, and the Social Hour hosts concur to offer this event. The Chairs will then recruit a Coordinator to announce, tally participants, and collect the cost of participation.
1) Identify yourself to the Provisioner as the Coordinator of Clams & Mussels.
2) Your job begins on Star once the Provisioner tells you the day that the clams and mussels will be provided.
3) Determine from the Provisioner the cost per person for the clams and mussels.
4) Prepare a sign-up sheet to record a participating person’s name and payment. Place the sheet on the “Sign-up Desk” in the lobby.
5) Announce at Saturday evening's orientation the scheduled day and the price of the clams and mussels, plus the location of the sign-up sheet.
6) You may find it convenient to bring the sign-up sheet to Social Hour for a couple of days and collect payments there.
5) Make a simple accounting of your sales and give the collected money to the Treasurer.