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Sound Bites - Issue #79 - December 2020 #355

On the Cover
15% Discount on Community Ed Classes

This is the first year that SMC Community Ed has opened registration in November for both the winter and spring sessions, and to cap that off, a 15 percent discount on all classes is being offered for those who register by December 31.

“The code is JOY15, which is an appropriate and hopeful expression of what many of us feel as this very challenging year is coming to a close,” said Alice Meyering, Community Education Program Coordinator.

As always, the program is offering a wide range of personal enrichment and professional development classes, all in a "Remote Live" format, from the arts and writing to languages and business. In addition, Community Ed is offering a new course, “How to Write a Romance Novel,” which begins January 7.

Register by Dec. 31 and get a 15 percent discount on all winter and spring classes!

Register now at our website or email

What's Next:
Looking Forward to 2021!

Alice Meyering

Instructor Alyssa Kress’ class “How to Write a Romance Novel.”

New instructor Alyssa Kress

from the desk of Alice Meyering

Happy holidays!

December is a good time to look back on the very challenging year that was 2020 and to look forward to what we all hope will be a better year ahead.

As many of you may recall, in the middle of March, we successfully switched to online formats for about 30 of the 45 classes being offered in the Spring Semester. That was when Community Ed, following the lead of SMC's academic program, decided to close down in-classroom instruction because of the COVID emergency. I remain proud that our instructors and students rose to the occasion to preserve most of our learning opportunities through our online "Remote Live" classes. Online instruction will continue at least through the end of the 2020-21 academic year, which ends in mid-June 2021.

It's an extraordinary achievement that we have preserved most of our classes - and we will even be adding a new remote live class for the Winter 2021 session - How to Write a Romance Novel. The instructor is Alyssa Kress, who has self-published 18 romance novels, three of which became Amazon bestsellers. She also runs a successful book editing business with dozens of clients.

Like many of our other instructors, Alyssa also had a previous life in other careers but has since transitioned herself as a successful author, editor, and business owner. If you are interested in trying your hands at writing, I highly recommend checking out our writing course.

There are many offerings in both the Winter and Spring sessions on our website that are now open for registration. And don't forget, you receive a 15 percent discount on all classes if you register by Dec. 31. The code is JOY15.

As 2020 draws to an end, this will be the last issue of Sound Bites for while. For over seven years, we have been very privileged to tell the many important and wonderful stories of SMC Community Ed, inspired by students, instructors, and community supporters alike. Thank you for walking this journey with us through 79 issues, our readers have always been our greatest support.

However, we are making room for newer and better things to come in 2021, so stay tuned. As our subscribers, you will continue to receive emails about our classes, promotions and more.

Again, our very best wishes for a happy holiday season and new year to the best community of students, instructors and supporters!

Please browse our courses on our website. If you have questions, please feel free to email us at

Behind the Scenes:
We Get Fan Mail!

Actor Rosanna De Candia is thrilled with her Italian instructor Silvia Masera

Italian instructor Silvia Masera (foreground)

Rosanna De Candia with her Italian mother

Every once in a while we receive fan mail and, of course, it’s always wonderful to get a pat on the back. This email was sent by actor and student Rosanna De Candia, praising Italian instructor Silvia Masera.

I just completed my second course with Silvia and wanted to let you know how satisfied and happy I am with my experience over the past 12 weeks. I haven’t studied Italian in over 30 years, since high school, and at first I didn’t know what to expect and if I was going to be intimated and overwhelmed.

I was pleasantly surprised how Silvia makes students feel comfortable and so helpful and really enjoys teaching. My parents are from Italy and I could only converse a little bit with my mom in Italian, but now I am having full blown conversations and even she said to me that the Italian class has been so beneficial for me. She is even encouraging me to continue lessons.  

I am grateful that your college offers Italian lessons and I hope you will continue to offer higher levels for people like me to continue learning such a beautiful language with such a great teacher. Silvia truly is wonderful on every level and I think that is why I am doing so well with the language. 

Thank you for having Silvia as a teacher in your curriculum and I hope to continue learning from her through your college.

Silvia Masera is a multilingual native of Milano, Italy. Before moving to Los Angeles in 2008, she served as an Italian tutor at the British Council and at the British Institutes in Milano as well corporations for seven years. Aside from her classes at Santa Monica College, she has been teaching both individual and group Italian classes at all levels to physicians at UCLA and Cedars Sinai and the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute. She also works as an event manager and producer in the entertainment industry and for non-profits. She is also a freelance entertainment correspondent for an Italian magazine.

New Perspectives:
Holiday Recipes? Try Native American Blue Plate Specials

Chef Courtesy of Javier Kaulaity

Courtesy of Clayton Jones

Couresy of Percy Sandy

December, as we all know, is chock full of all kinds of holidays, from Christmas to Kwanzaa to Hanukkah and many more. For this holiday season, we thought we would share some Native American chefs’ sumptuous offerings.

Smithsonian Magazine has come up with seven such recipes, ranging from Braised Buffalo to Turkey Green Chili Tamale Pie to, for vegetarians, Sweet Berry Wild Rice.  The link above will take you to all seven recipes.


Chef Javier Kaulaity’s braised buffalo with masa polenta and savory pumpkin. (Courtesy of Javier Kaulaity)


Chef Clayton Jones’s turkey green chili tamale pie with roasted winter squash and pinto beans. (Courtesy of Clayton Jones)


Chef Justin Pioche’s blue corn stuffing. (Courtesy of Justin Pioche and Tia Pioche, Pioche Food Group LLC)


Chef Elena Terry’s sweet berry wild rice. (Courtesy of Elena Terry, Wild Bearies)


Chef Brian Pekah’s Comanche-style corn. (Courtesy of Brian Pekah)


Percy Sandy (A:shiwi [Zuni], 1918–1974). "Blue and White Corn Grinding," 1930–1940. Taos, New Mexico. 23/3320. (National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian)


Happy holidays to all!