Lakeside Living – February 2021


Carol D. Bradley

Phone: 33-2506-7525

February 2021


The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today…The whole future lies in uncertainty: Live immediately.”


Our Lakeside community is reeling; still reeling, from the insidiousness of the Covid-19 virus.  After months, almost a year, of sheltering in place, lockdowns, COVID-19 protocols, we are finally seeing a light at the end of our tunnel.  The vaccine is coming.  In the meanwhile, keep safe my friends.  If you can; safely go out, enjoy your favourite restaurants, your favourite musicians. If you aren’t going out, all restaurants have pick-up and/or delivery. They need your support. I’ll bet you can get a serenade or two if you play your cards right.

The Lake Chapala Society hosts Open Circle every Sunday at 10AM, a popular community gathering in Ajijic, to enjoy a diverse range of presentations.

For more information and to make reservations, see their website:

In order to follow State of Jalisco safety precautions, attendance will be limited to 80 persons, reservations required, use of mask is mandatory and temperature checks on entry. During this period, we recommend bringing your own coffee or bottled water, and please remove containers upon departure. Open Circle video Consent. As a service to our audience and presenters, Open Circle will video-record presentations and upload them on the LCS YouTube channel.

Open Circle presentations for February 2021:

February 7:  Your Life Is a Battlefield. Your Weapons: Power, Control, and Domination

Presented by Daniel Acuff

Dr. Acuff will explore how you and the important others in your life use power, control, and domination to win, get ahead, and avoid losing in the game of life. He will analyze each of the weapons that you and others utilize in this battle, and will show how you also apply your physical body along with intellectual, emotional, social, and ethical powers to gain control. You’ll be surprised to discover how these forces play out consciously and subconsciously in your everyday life.

Dr. Acuff’s Ph.D. is in philosophy, sociology and education. He has been a seminar leader, radio talk show host and marketing consultant for more than 40 major corporations. He is author of fifteen books including three philosophical/spiritual works of fiction: God Lied–What’s Really Going on Here, The Mysteries of Quan, and Golf and the Zen Master.

February 14:   The Great Pause (Postponed from January 3rd)

Presented by John Stokdijk  

John Stokdijk

John Stokdijk

John Stokdijk will share his thoughts about the coronavirus crisis as a spiritual experience. What insights can be gained? What lessons can be learned? How are we to live now? John will share some of his exciting new discoveries during this extremely disruptive pandemic. His presentation will be a continuation of the spiritual journey he shared at Open Circle in 2015, accessible by clicking here: Secular Spirituality. 

John and his wife Pat moved to Lakeside in 2012. Locally he is best known for launching the Ajijic Book Club in 2016. ABC has continued to meet and thrive utilizing Zoom. In addition to reading, John enjoys tending his garden and exercising on his treadmill. He and Pat have remained mostly in quarantine supported by local shopping and delivery services.

February 21: When Vulnerability Becomes Strength: From Care Giver to Receiver

Presented by Loretta Downs

Loretta Downs

Loretta Downs

How do we adjust when health challenges upend our independence? Whether parent, child, spouse, partner, friend or neighbor, we face vulnerabilities while adapting to role reversals from care giver to care receiver. Being vulnerable is never welcome yet receiving care provides opportunities for developing compassion, expressing love, achieving personal growth, and finding grace. Learn ways to welcome your vulnerability and surrender to “what is.”

Loretta Downs, MA, CSA has studied death and supported the dying since the AIDS crisis in 1985. Since then she has been a hospital, hospice, and nursing home volunteer and earned a Master’s Degree in Gerontology, specializing in Thanatology. She is Past-President of the Chicago End-of-Life Care Coalition, a Certified Senior Advisor, End-of-Life Care Practitioner, Advance Care Planning Facilitator, and Death Doula. She has given workshops, published articles, been quoted in articles and books, and is featured in a video about the importance of advance care planning. After ten winters as a snowbird, Loretta has returned to Lakeside as a permanent resident.

My sources in our Theatre groups, Lakeside Little Theatre and Bare Stage Theatre, our Music, Lake Chapala Community Orchestra and Live at the Met are disheartened they cannot bring you anything new and exciting during this time of such risk. 

Many in-person events are growing and thriving online, like the Ajijic Writers Group, gathering a global audience (contact to register). Check your favourite Facebook pages for more current updates.

As I had lunch on the Ajijic plaza at Christmas time, I delighted in hearing Carols from a group of classical musicians. I wondered over.  This is what I learned:

The International Institute started teaching strings the year they opened in 2011. The first classes were very small. In 2015, they formalized a program for a string orchestra. Instruments now include violin, viola and cello, though they have had string bass, piano, flute, clarinet, saxophone and percussion players join in the past.

The International Institute

Pre-pandemic, three concerts per year were performed with additional concerts for charity at assisted living homes, such as Ohana in San Juan Cosalá. 

Rehearsals were for-credit music classes, and students rehearsed twice per week for 90 minutes per rehearsal during the school day. Students from 7th grade through 12th participated. The program grew from about 5 students in 2015 to about 40, pre-pandemic in 2019. In addition to the strings’ methods classes given during the school day, an after-school orchestra rehearsed twice per week. The after-school orchestra was a “community” orchestra which included interested students, teachers, and general community members who liked to play string arrangements for fun. We play everything from Christmas music, to musicals, Disney soundtracks, basic arrangements of classical pieces (Canon in D, Beethoven’s 9th, etc). 

Lake Chapala Community Orchestra

International Institute students, and their program have benefitted from programs already offered in the greater Lakeside community. Many students take private lessons with CREM in Ajijic and the Casa de Cultura in Chapala. Michael Reason’s Lake Chapala Community Orchestra has been kind enough to receive the most talented strings players in several rehearsals, which has been a welcome opportunity for the students to learn from practicing musicians with decades of experience. LCCO’s concertmaster, Martha Murphy, even gave a free strings clinic, and Michael Reason came to the school to give a talk about power of music and its’ role in the events of 20th century history. 

The last, pre-pandemic concert was in conjunction with the Yacht Club of Chapala, and it was absolutely magical. Luis Villaseñor Parra invited 15 students to take their instruments and music to Mezcala Island, in boats, to play a one-hour dinner concert, under the light of the full moon on the 11th of February 2020.

Not long after, Jalisco went into COVID lockdown, and rehearsals stopped for several months.

Now, post-pandemic, orchestra numbers have dropped to about 10 dedicated students, teachers and community members. We rehearse in Cristiania Park in Chapala on Saturdays at 1 PM; they had a Facebook Live concert in December, and we performed for a fundraiser led by Susan Larson, benefiting the cats at the Lake Chapala Society. They hope to have another Facebook live concert at the end of March.

Beginning strings’ classes start again on Saturday mornings at 9AM at the International Institute, C. Internacional 63 in Col. Brisas al Jaguey, in front of the Tecnológico de Chapala on the Libramiento to Guadalajara. Classes are taught by Mtra. Fátima Flores and Lily Ehlebracht, with two of their star strings’ players from high school acting as teaching assistants in order to comply with their community service graduation requirement.

International Institute students

International Institute students on Mezcala IslandInternational Institute students on Mezcala Islandperforming a moonlight concert


Anyone can join, but attendees must RSVP for a space at 376 688 0004 (in order to comply with social distancing) and students must bring their own instruments and books.

Lakeside Living thanks Mtra. Lily Ehlebracht for her write-up, information, invitation and photos. CDB


El Ojo del Lago – Home Page

For more information about Lake Chapala visit:


For more information about Lake Chapala visit:

Ojo Del Lago
Latest posts by Ojo Del Lago (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *