Back Bay-Midtown neighborhood notes
Art and architecture tour
The New England Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., will host an art and architecture tour from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 15.
The society has been collecting unique items of Americana and fine art since its founding in 1845, including a mid-18th century easy chair belonging to John Hancock, a mahogany slant lid desk made by prominent cabinetmaker Elijah Sanderson, early family registers and portraits of some of New England’s prominent citizens. Attendees can learn the story behind these pieces and use the society’s resources following the tour.
Admission is free. Visit www.americanancestors.org or call 617-536-5740 for more information and to register.
History of Ellis Island
Historian and author Vincent Cannato will be the guest speaker at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19.
Ellis Island’s heyday from 1892 to 1924 coincided with one of the greatest mass movements of individuals the world has ever seen with 12 million immigrants inspected at its gates. Cannato will talk about his compelling and widely-praised book “American Passage: The History of Ellis Island.”
Admission is free. Call 617-536-5400 for further details.
The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., will welcome author David M. Powers in a free lecture from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19.
Powers is the author of “Damnable Heresy: William Pynchon, the Indians, and the First Book Banned (and Burned) in Boston” that provides the first comprehensive account of William Pynchon (1590-1662), the Puritan entrepreneur and founder of Springfield. He will explore the fabric of Pynchon’s times and the roles he played in the Puritan venture in Old England and New England.
To register, call 888-296-3447 or visit www.americanancestors.org.
Students from the New England Conservatory will perform in a free concert from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 20 at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St.
The Ravos String Quartet, featuring violinists Gergana Haralampieva and Geneva Lewis, violist Zhanbo Zheng and cellist Audrey Chen, will perform.
For more information, visit www.necmusic.edu or call 617-536-5400.
Black women in the New Deal
The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St., will present a talk, “Sadie Alexander, Black Women’s Work and Economic Citizenship During the New Deal Era” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20.
Lauren Meyer of Yale University will focus on Sadie Alexander, the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in economics and a successful practicing lawyer. She offered an alternative, black feminist definition of economic citizenship that shifted discussions on the relationship between race, gender, labor and the meaning of citizenship.
Registration is required for this free program, by calling 617-646-0578 or online at www.masshist.org.
Brass and chorale programs
The Old South Church, 645 Boylston St., will present the Boston Conservatory Brass Ensemble at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 21 and the Boston Conservatory Chorale and Boston Conservatory Women’s Chorus at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 22.
The ensemble will perform works by Adler, Bernstein and Plog on Friday. Trumpeter Tom Siders will be the featured soloist.
Saturday’s performance will feature selections by Bainton, Britten, Higdon, Jeffers, Mendelssohn, Parry, Poulenc, Sametz and Wadsworth.
Admission for both concerts is free. Call 617-536-1970 or visit www.oldsouth.org for more information.
The Back Bay chocolate tour will be held at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, starting and ending at the Flour Bakery, 131 Clarendon St.
The two-and-a-half-hour tour will highlight the architecture of the Back Bay, the history and life of chocolate and how gourmet chocolates are made. Participants will pick up tips on tasting, buying and storing chocolate, as well as be offered plenty of samples.
Advance reservations are required as space is limited, and can be made at www.bostonchocolatetours.com.
Graphic design show
The New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University is displaying works by the students of the Graphic Design Senior Show now to April 23 at the gallery at 75 Arlington St.
This gallery show will exhibit the print, digital, multimedia and three-dimensional work of the undergraduates in the Graphic Design program, a presentation of visual design solutions that inspire, engage and provoke, utilizing various print and electronic communication mediums.
Gallery hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Call 617-573-8785 or visit www.suffolk.edu/nesad for more information.
The Chameleon Arts Ensemble will perform the fourth concert in the season, “proud music of the storm” at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 23 at the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough St.
The program will feature life affirming and joyful music that emerged from suffering and tragedy. The ensemble will perform works by Gerald Finzi, Erwin Schulhoff, David Bruce, Michael Berkeley and Ludwig von Beethoven.
Call 617-427-8200 or visit www.chameleonarts.org to purchase tickets and for more details.
The New England Historic Genealogical Society will host the annual family history benefit dinner and special evening with Stacy Schiff from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 28 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, 128 St. James Ave.
The evening will feature a reception at 6 p.m. with the dinner at 7 p.m. Biographer Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America,” “Cleopatra: A Life” and “Vera: Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov,” will be honored with the NEHGS Lifetime Achievement Award in History and Biography.
Further information can be found at www.americanancestors.org or by calling 888-296-3447 or 617-536-5740.
Trinity Church, 206 Clarendon St., will present organ concerts featuring innovative programs by recitalists from across the nation and abroad at 12:15 p.m. on Fridays in April.
Performers will include Alcee Chriss, Amanda Mole and Mary Jodice. There is no charge for admission, but donations are welcome.
Call 617-536-0944 or visit www.trinitychurchboston.org for more information.
Portraits of artists
The French Cultural Center, 53 Marlborough St., is hosting “RAW: Portraits of Artists,” photographs by Bernar Venet, now through May 2.
This intimate exhibit features a selection of previously unpublished photographs of icons of art in the 1960s, such as Warhol, Rauschenberg and Indiana, taken by Venet almost all by chance, a mix of historical evidence and friendly instantaneous moments. Throughout the years, Venet collected works by these artists who he knew and with whom he socialized, many of who were his friends.
The exhibition is free, but reservations are recommended. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
For more information and to make a reservation, call 617-912-0400 or visit www.frenchculturalcenter.org.
The Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., is presenting the J. S. Bach cantatas at 10 a.m. on Sundays through May 21.
The orchestra and chorus of Emmanuel Music, conducted by Ryan Turner, will present weekly performances of the cantatas and motets of J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn and others.
For more information, call 617-536-3356 or visit www.emmanuelmusic.org.
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, ext. 2216.