Here are the latest Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes:
A sale of gently used library books will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 at the French Cultural Center, 53 Marlborough St.
Classic and contemporary works, fiction and non-fiction, will be for sale, starting at $1.
Call 617-912-0400 or visit www.frenchculturalcenter.org for more details.
Music inspired by nature
The Chamber Orchestra of Boston will present the final concert of the 2017-2018 season at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 at the First Church Boston, 66 Marlborough St.
The evening will feature a program of music inspired by nature, with “Three Tone Pictures” by Charles Tomlinson Griffes; “Indigo Sun” by Adrienne Elisha; “Evening in the Mountains” by Edvard Grieg; “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland; and the world premiere of “Springtime in Boston” by Robert Edward Smith.
A reception with the hors d’oeuvres and wine and a chance to mingle with the artists will follow the concert.
Tickets are $25 to $50, and $15 for students.
Further information can be found at www.chamberorchestraofboston.org or by calling 617-266-1626.
The French Cultural Center will present the seventh annual “Le Bal Révolution” from 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 at the Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles St.
French cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and desserts are complimentary for all guests throughout the soirée. The evening will also feature an art display and a silent auction with fabulous prizes.
This black-tie event is for those 21 plus. Reservations are required.
Proceeds will help support of the center’s Mosaique initiative for cultural programming, as well as the center’s after-school French language instruction program in Boston public schools.
RSVP by calling 617-912-0400 or visiting online at www.frenchculturalcenter.org.
A night at the opera
The Old South Church, 645 Boylston St., will present the Renaissance Men in concert from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 13.
Boston’s acclaimed male vocal chamber ensemble will celebrate rarely performed men’s ensemble repertoire by composers primary known for their contributions to the operatic stage, featuring works by Rossini, Richard Strauss and Rufus Wainwright. Major pieces will include Jake Heggie’s “A Hundred Thousand Stars,” Bizet’s “Saint Jean de Pathos” and Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” overture.
Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for seniors and $15 for students.
Call 617-536-8061 or visit www.oldsouth.org for more information.
Candidates for governor
A forum hosted by the local alumni of Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School - “Where do the Candidates for Governor Stand on Gun Safety?” will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15 at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St.
Candidates will respond to questions posed by MSD alumni about gun safety and how to ensure that Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in public safety measures. All candidates are invited, regardless of their party affiliation. The forum is free and open to the public.
For more information, call 617-536-5400.
The 12th annual Boston Handbell Festival will be held from 8 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15 at the Old South Church, 645 Boylston St.
Sponsored by the Back Bay Ringers and Old South Church, the festival will feature area handbell choirs – Back Bay Ringers, Merrimack Valley Ringers, New England Ringers and Old South Ringers – in a program that ranges from classical works to popular favorites.
The Back Bay Ringers will donate its portion of the evening’s free will offering to its chime donation program that will purchase a two-octave set of Malmark Choirchimes for a Boston area school.
For more information, call 617-536-1970 or visit www.backbayringers.org.
Back Bay through time
The Gibson House Museum, 137 Beacon St., will welcome historian and author Anthony M. Sammarco at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15.
A reception will be held at 6 p.m. with the lecture at 6:45 p.m.
Sammarco will talk about his latest book “Back Bay of Boston Through Time” that chronicles the development of the neighborhood from marshlands to quintessential Victorian neighborhood to today. He is a noted historian and author of over sixty books on the history and development of Boston, and he lectures widely on the history and development of his native city.
Admission is free.
Call 617-267-6338 or visit www.thegibsonhouse.org for more information and to purchase tickets.
A public one-hour tour of the Ayer Mansion, 395 Commonwealth Ave., which showcases the striking interior and exterior embellishments designed and created by Louis Comfort Tiffany, will be offered at noon on Wednesday, May 16.
Reservations are required. Admission is $15 general and $10 for students and seniors.
To make a reservation, send an email to email@example.com or call 617-536-2586.
‘Love letters from the Front’
The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., will present a musical love story “Love Letters from the Front” from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 17.
The story centers on soldiers and their loved ones sharing letters from home and abroad during World War II. The music of the era is highlighted to reflect the love and loss of the war years, such as “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “Moonlight Serenade” and “Boggie Woggie Bugle Boy.” Writer and vocalist Bob DiCicco and singer Wendee Glick will narrate and perform the music for this show.
Admission is free.
Visit www.bpl.org or call 617-536-5400 for further details.
20th anniversary concert
The Chameleon Arts Ensemble will perform the final concert in the season, “opus twenty” at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 20 at the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough St.
The ensemble will perform Benjamin Britten’s “Lachrymae” Reflections on a Song of John Dowland Op. 48,” “Palimpsest” for flute, clarinet, string trio and piano by Marc-Andre Dalbavie, Igor Stravinsky’s “Divertimento” from “The Fairy’s Kiss” for violin and piano, “Fantazia 13 (after Purcell) for clarinet, violin, cello and piano” by Colin Matthews and Felix Mendelssohn’s “Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20.”
Call 617-427-8200 or visit www.chameleonarts.org to purchase tickets and for more details.
Inspired by Wagner
The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., will host “Wagner on the Mind in Eastern Europe” from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 19.
Czech composers Bedrich Smetana and Antonin Dvorak, the most important composers of their day, were greatly influenced by the works of Richard Wagner. This program will be filled with comparative moments in the music of these three composers, illuminating the influence of Wagner’s innovations within the opera and symphonic works of the other two.
Admission is free. Call 617-536-5400 for more details.
The Gibson House Museum, 137 Beacon St., will host its annual baseball program “Honoring and Memorializing the World Champion 1918 Red Sox” at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 21.
In 1918 the Red Sox were cementing their place as baseball’s first great dynasty and would win their fifth World Series in 16 seasons—and their last in 86 years.
Red Sox team historian Gordon Edes, a former sports journalist for the Boston Globe and ESPN, and Skip Desjardin, author of the book “September 1918: War, Plague and the World Series,” will be the guest speakers for the evening.
Prior to the program, Edes will offer a special tour of Fenway Park at 3:30 p.m. The tour is limited to 30. This is a unique opportunity to get a special, behind-the-scenes look at the park from the perspective of a sports journalist and historian who has covered the team for decades. Tickets are $10. Registrants should bring their e-mail receipt to the meeting point of 4 Yawkey Way.
A “ballpark cocktail hour” reception will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the Gibson House, featuring beer, hot dogs and Crackerjack. The program will begin at 6:45 p.m. in the trustees’ reading room at Fisher College, 118 Beacon St.
Admission is $30 general and $25 for members.
To RSVP, call 617-267-6338 or register online at www.thegibson.org/events.
Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., is presenting its 42nd season of the J. S. Bach Cantatas at 10 a.m. on Sundays now through May 20.
The orchestra and chorus of Emmanuel Music will present weekly performances of the cantatas and motets of J.S. Bach and others, conducted by Ryan Turner.
For more information, call 617-536-3356 or visit www.emmanuelmusic.org.
The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St., will host tours of the collections of the society at 10 a.m. on Saturdays.
Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the 90-minute tour focuses on the history and collections of the MHS.
The tour is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required for individuals or small groups. Parties of eight or more should contact the MHS.
Further information can be found at www.masshist.org or by calling 617-646-0560.
Boston Public Library volunteers will give art and architecture tours of the McKim Building, a National Historic Landmark, in its main building, constructed in 1895, throughout the week.
Highlights include the murals of John Singer Sargent, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Edwin Austin Abbey and the work of architect Charles Follen McKim.
Self-guided tours are available as well, and literature describing the architectural highlights is available on the web at www.bpl.org/central/tours.htm.
For tours by appointment, call 617-536-5400.