Here are the latest Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes:
Introduction to genealogy
The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., will host a New Visitors Day at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 19.
This free orientation and tour will introduce resources available at the NEHGS research facility, home to more than 15 million artifacts, books, manuscripts, microfilms, journals, photographs and records to help research family histories. Tour attendees are welcome to use the resources following the tour. Registration is not required.
Further information can be found at www.americanancestors.org or by calling 888-296-3447.
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.
Lafayette in America
The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St., will welcome author Alan Hoffman from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 21.
In 1824 and 1825 General Lafayette made a farewell tour of the United States. The 67-year-old hero and sole surviving major general of the Continental Army was welcomed in an adoring frenzy and his visit to Boston was one of the largest celebrations the city had ever seen. Hoffman will recount the general’s visit and discuss his translation of Lafayette’s private secretary’s journal.
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 p.m.
Registration is required for this free program, by calling 617-646-0578 or online at www.masshist.org.
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.
The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., will welcome Benjamin Zander of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 24.
Maestro Zander will screen the world premiere of “Shining Eyes,” a 26-minute documentary that follows the young people of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra as they perform for crowds of thousands across the South American continent. The players, age 12 -21, are astonishingly skilled musicians, and are no less remarkable for the warm and authentic friendships they form wherever they go.
Admission is free.
Call 617-536-5400 or visit www.bpl.org for more information.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Parks and Recreation Department will host the 20th annual neighborhood coffee hours from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 24 at the Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
Residents will enjoy coffee and breakfast treats from Dunkin’ Donuts and Whole Foods Market while they discuss open space and recreational needs with the mayor.
There will be prizes, including gift certificates, swan boat rides, free downtown parking and gift baskets. Attendees will receive a flowering plant grown in the city’s greenhouses.
Call 617-635-4505 for more information.
Music of Bach
Les Bostonades will perform in concert from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, May 25 at the Old South Church, 645 Boylston St.
This concert will feature the music of Johann Bernard and Johann Sebastian Bach. It will include J. S. Bach’s “Concerto in C minor for Two Harpsichords” and “Overture for Violin and Strings in A minor.” The program will also feature two rarely performed works, “Orchestral Suites No. 3 in E minor” and “No. 4 in D Major” by Johann Bernhard Bach, Johann Sebastian’s second cousin, whose musical style has been compared to that of Telemann.
Tickets are $30 general admission, $25 for seniors and $15 for students.
For more information, call 617-323-6088 or visit www.bostonwagnersociety.org.
Art Deco in the Back Bay
Boston by Foot will offer a walking tour, “Art Deco in the Back Bay” from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, May 28. The tour will meet at the fountain at Statler Park on Columbus Avenue and Stuart Street.
This tour through the first four blocks of the Back Bay highlights examples of Art Deco design, from residential and commercial properties to institutional landmarks, including the second John Hancock building and New England Power. Participants will learn about the evolving character of the Back Bay and the development of new Art Deco buildings as well as the incorporation of Deco design into existing structures.
Tickets are $15 or $5 for members and can be purchased online in advance or from the guide.
Further details can be found at www.bostonbyfoot.org or by calling 617-367-2345.
New play at the library
The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., will present “I Am Zelda” at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 31.
This original play sheds light on the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, the muse and infamous flapper wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of “The Great Gatsby.” The play takes place in 1940 when Zelda is living with her mother in Montgomery, Alabama. Her husband has recently died and her Southern belle and flapper days are long since behind her. On the verge of a new year, Zelda will come face to face with her past and her possible future.
Admission is free.
Call 617-536-5400 or visit www.bpl.org for more information.
Victorian Back Bay
Boston by Foot is offering 90-minute guided, walking tours of the Back Bay at 2:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. on Sundays, now to October. Walkers will meet the guide on the steps of Trinity Church at Copley Square.
Visitors will discover how the Back Bay, once a body of water, was filled in and how the neighborhood was developed in the mid-19th century to become one of the nation’s richest collections of art and architecture. The treasures of the Back Bay tour include Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library, Old South Church and the grand Back Bay townhouses.
Tickets are $13 adults, $8 children ages 6 to 12 and free for members if purchased in advance or an additional $2 if purchased from the guide.
For more information, visit www.bostonbyfoot.org or call 617-237-2345.
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.