Special Programs

Special Events

An In-town Field Trip!
Richmond and its French Connections

Friday, June 22

We will gather at Can-Can restaurant at 11 a.m. for a lecture by VCU instructor Edwin Slipek. “Richmond and its French Connections” will explore the fascinating and continuing influence of France on our community from colonial to modern times. It will be followed by un dejeunur. Following our prix fixe meal we will repair to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (on foot or on wheels) where we will reconvene to view “Napoleon: Power and Splendor,” a major international exhibition presented in cooperation with the Montreal Museum of Art.

Cost TBD and will include lecture, meal and admittance to exhibition (reduced price for VMFA members).

Instructor: Edwin J. Slipek Jr. is an architectural historian, editor at Style Weekly and VCU adjunct faculty member.


Sunday, July 29
3pm to 6:45pm – seminar and dinner with Anthony Dowd
7pm to 8:30pm – concert

​Spend a day and evening at Firehouse Theatre with Richmond’s own jazz star Anthony Dowd in a combo program that includes an entertaining and informative seminar about the history of jazz piano from Scott Joplin’s ragtime to the avant-garde experiments of Cecil Taylor, followed by a catered dinner before a jazz concert with Anthony (piano), Randall Pharr (bass), and Aaron Binder (drums).

Instructor: Anthony Dowd was born and raised in Richmond VA. He started playing piano by ear at age 6 and began lessons at 12. He learned to play guitar from his father and became the country’s youngest carilloneur at 15. In 1975 he began performing with the Kings of Swing at Kings Dominion. For the next decade he played piano at Busch Gardens and Carnival Cruise Lines and studied with legendary jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams. Anthony enjoyed a few “house gigs” in the 80’s including Spencer’s Restaurant in Hartford, CT and Benjamin’s Restaurant in Richmond. Anthony had the good fortune to play with Frank Sinatra, The Four Aces, Marian McPartland, Clark Terry, Andrew White, Victor Goines, Steve Wilson, James Genus, Clarence Penn, and Jim Snidero. Besides his solo and trio work Anthony tours the East Coast with the Jeff Decker Quartet and occasionally subs with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Cost: $40 if a member of The Commmonwealth Society

The Commonwealth Society Book Group

All members are invited to be a part of The Commonwealth Society book group. Meeting most months on the fourth Friday at 10 am, the discussions are always interesting and enlightening. While many members have attended these discussions for many years, new participants are enthusiastically welcomed to the group! The selections for 2017-2018 include:

May 25 – The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
June 22 – Code Girls by Liza Mundy
July 27 – Lullaby Road: A Novel by James Anderson
September 28 – The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Lecture Series

These lectures are free and open to members of The Commonwealth Society.