Here are the latest Jamaica Plain neighborhood notes:

Opera performance

Boston Opera Collaborative will present a benefit concert, “What Am I Doing Here?” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 at the Loring-Greenough House, 12 South St.

Soprano Sigourney Cook, accompanied by pianist Alexander Johnson, will headline the evening. From a childhood immersed in gospel music, to singing background for international pop star Jennifer Hudson, Cook will take the audience on a journey that ultimately leads her home- balancing her love for gospel, God and classical music. She has been a member of Boston Opera Collaborative for two years.

A performing artist, she continues to use music as an avenue to inspire, educate and advocate for underprivileged youth.

Refreshments will follow the musical program.

Tickets are $50. Proceeds will benefit the community programs at the history Loring-Greenough House.

To purchase tickets and for more details, call 617-517-5883 or visit

Historical tours

The Jamaica Plain Historical Society will host free guided walking tours at 11 a.m. on May 12 and 19. The tours will start from the Loring-Greenough House, 12 South St.

The May 12th tour will focus on the Monument Square area, which includes a National Historic District. It also features the country’s oldest community theater company, an 18th century mansion that once served as the nation’s first military hospital, a house dated from 1716 that was once a tavern, the Eliot School and the First Church burial ground.

The May 19th tour will stroll through Sumner Hill, home of 19th century Victorian houses and the homes of several early feminists and anti-racism activists. This area was designated a National Historic District in 1987.

The tours take one hour, and reservations are not required.

Visit for more information about these and other tours.

Summer kitchen opens

In celebration of Boston Preservation Month, the Loring-Greenough House, 12 South St., will host the opening of the summer kitchen from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 12.

Visitors are invited to the historic 1811 Ell to see the restored summer kitchen, the drying room and the collection on exhibit. Free refreshments will be served while a fiddler performs classic American tunes.

The summer kitchen of the Loring-Greenough House features the original cooking fireplace, Rumford stove and laundry room that have survived intact from the 19th century.

Admission is free; donations are always appreciated.

Visit or call 617-524-5138 for further information.

Lilac walk at the Arboretum

The Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, will offer guided tours of the lilacs from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12.

The arboretum will offer special walks in the Syringa (lilac) collection with docent Chris McArdle, who trained with former head plant propagator and lilac expert Jack Alexander. Within the collection itself, she will present a thorough view into the rich history of the many varieties of this well-loved and Arboretum-renowned plant.

Participants should meet at the map table by the ponds, up from the Forest Hills Gate.

Registration is requested for this free program. Call 617-384-5209 in case of inclement weather.

Visit or call 617-384-5277 for further information.

Forest Hills walking tour

The Forest Hills Educational Trust will welcome historian Dee Morris for an illustrated lecture and walk from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 at Forest Hills Cemetery, Forsyth Chapel, 95 Forest Hills Ave. Visitors should meet at the visitors’ circle.

Established in 1848, the 275-acre Forest Hills Cemetery is one of the outdoor treasures of Greater Boston. Victorians not only created this landscape to memorialize their loved ones, but to have a park-like setting for the living to enjoy nature, works of art and beautiful monuments such as Daniel Chester French’s “Death and the Sculptor” that greets visitors at the Gothic Revival front gate.

Historian Dee Morris will lead a tour of this spectacular cemetery, exploring the history of the area and the art works inside this cemetery that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

Admission is $10 in advance or $12 at the door. For more details, call 617-524-0128 or visit

Lilac Sunday

The Arnold Arboretum will celebrate the 110th anniversary of Lilac Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 13 at 125 Arborway.

The lilac collection at the Arnold Arboretum is among the premier collections of these plants in North America. Visitors will enjoy an array of more than 165 kinds of lilacs with free tours of the lilac collection; Morris dancing; art exhibit; live music; food; science station; puppet shows; children’s activities; arts and crafts and more. Picnicking is allowed in the arboretum only on this special day.

Further information can be found at or by calling 617-524-1718.

‘Burger Slam’

J.P. Manning School will host the seventh annual Burger Slam from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 at the Loring-Greenough House, 12 South St.

The evening will feature a friendly cook-off competition between local restaurants organized by parents at the J.P. Manning Elementary School, a Boston public school in Jamaica Plain.

What began as a school community night has grown into a citywide event, attracting foodies in the area and support from generous sponsors. The primary goal of this event is to celebrate the restaurant community and to raise funds to support a strong curriculum for the kids and teachers who work so hard at this small public school.

Every ticket includes a slider hamburger from each restaurant, sides, desserts and one beverage (beer/wine/soda). Vegetarian options will be available. There will also be live musical entertainment and a cash bar.

Tickets are $45 or $300 for a table of eight, and can be purchased at

Art display

The Arnold Arboretum is displaying “Impressions of Woody Plants: Disjunction, Two Artists and the Arnold Arboretum,” copper etchings by Bobbi Angell and watercolor paintings by Beverly Duncan, in the Hunnewell Building, 125 Arborway, now through July 22.

An opening reception with the artists will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 and a workshop with the artists from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 9.

Botanical artists Angell and Duncan have different approaches to their work: their media, copper and watercolor, their plant focuses, exotic and native, and their backgrounds, botany and art. In the end though, it is all about the wonder of woody plants and the artists’ approaches to creating images.

Angell is attracted to unusual, cultivated specimens due to her long history working with botanists and horticulturalists. Her drawings are developed into finely crafted copper etchings, which are then printed in limited editions.

Duncan is drawn to the familiarity of native plants. She translates the common and recognizable into intimate portraits in detailed watercolor paintings. For this exhibition, Duncan focused on paintings of seedlings, the delicate early life of a tree or shrub.

Call 617-384-5209 or send an email to for more information.

Traveling tidepools

Educators from the New England Aquarium will visit the BCYF Curtis Hall Community Center, 20 South St., from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 20.

Kids can see and touch hermit crabs, snails, clams, oysters, sea stars and more and learn all about these creatures found in local New England waters. Admission is free.

For more information, call 617-635-5193 or visit

Music at Jamaica Pond

MusiConnects will host the second annual Jamaica Pond run and performance at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 20.

Some of the musiConnects resident musicians will run around Jamaica Pond while others play to raise awareness of their work.

The community is invited to cheer them along and listen to music of the banks of the beautiful pond.

Call 617-522-0043 or visit for further details.

Columbarium lecture

Forest Hills Educational Trust will welcome historian Dee Morris in an illustrated lecture from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20 at Forest Hills Cemetery, Lucy Stone Chapel, 171 Walk Hill St.

Morris will talk about the history of Forest Hills Crematory, some of its famous proponents and their stories. Abolitionist and women’s suffrage advocate Lucy Stone was the first person in New England to be cremated there in 1893 and this event was front-page news.

Morris will look at the lives and deaths of some other Greater Boston notables, including Linda Richards, America’s first trained nurse; Edgar Helms, founder of Goodwill Industries; Maria Baldwin, first African American school principal in Massachusetts; and famed restaurateur Ruby Foo.

Admission is $10 in advance or $12 at the door. For more details, call 617-524-0128 or visit

Arboretum tours

Free, guided walking tours of the Arnold Arboretum will be offered at 10:30 a.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays and 1 p.m. on Sundays during May. Walkers should meet at the Hunnewell Building, 125 Arborway.

Volunteer docents will lead tours of the 285 acres, pointing out seasonal highlights, the science of trees, arboretum history and points of interest. These tours last 60 to 90 minutes and are geared toward adults.

Registration is not required.

Call 617-524-1718 or visit for more details.

Loring-Greenough tours

The 1760 colonial mansion Loring-Greenough House, 12 South St., has resumed the guided tours of the house from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sundays during May.

Visitors will see the newly acquired portraits of David Greenough II and his wife Maria, as well as other historic treasures. Reservations are not needed, but visitors can contact a docent with any special inquiries at A donation of $5 is suggested.

For further information, visit or call 617-524-5138.