Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes

Book sale

A sale of gently used library books will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 13 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 for more details.

New musical

The Brown Box Theatre Project will present “Songs for a New World,” a musical by Jason Robert Brown, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 13 at the Prudential Center, South Garden, 101 Huntington Ave.

In this free outdoor performance, theatergoers will enjoy this new song cycle that weaves together the stories and voices of a diverse cast of characters in a musical journey that transcends time and space. The soaring score will transport the audience through an exploration of the unknown world and the tough choices that follow.

For further details, visit

Handbell festival

The 11th annual Boston Handbell Festival will be held from 8 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 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 Penobscot Ensemble from Camden, Maine, will be the guest choir.

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

NASA astronauts

The induction ceremony of NASA astronauts into the Jewish-American Hall of Fame will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17 at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St.

Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman and Dr. Judith Resnik will be inducted into the Jewish-American Hall of Fame.

Dr. Hoffman will talk about his experiences in the NASA space program and Dr. Charles Resnik will give a talk about the life of his sister, Judith, who was a NASA astronaut killed in the 1986 Challenger explosion. The community is invited to celebrate and honor the lives of these two Americans who have contributed another chapter to the history of Jews in the United States.

Registration is required for this free program, by calling 888-296-3447 or online at

Cooking Boston

The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St., will present a talk, “Cooking Boston: Sweet Boston,” from 5:30 to7 p.m. on Thursday, May 18.

This panel discussion will feature Joyce Chaplin, Michael Krondl, Carla Martin and moderator Gavin Kleespies.

The Boston area has long had strong interest in sweets. From the numerous ice cream establishments, the huge concentration of candy manufacturers, the obsession with doughnuts and the flourishing of companies on the cutting edge of chocolate and the cacao trade, Boston has been a pioneer of the sweeter things in life.

Admission is free for members and $20 for non-members. There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 p.m.

Registration is required, by calling 617-646-0578 or online at

Scottish castle

The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., in partnership with the Boston branch of the English Speaking Nation, will welcome John Crichton, the 7th Earl of Erne, in a reception and talk from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 18.

A reception will be held at 5 p.m. followed by the talk at 5:30 p.m.

Hailed as a hidden gem above the shimmering waters of Lough Erne and surrounded by 2,000 acres of land managed by the National Trust, the present Crom Castle was built by John Crichton, 3rd Earl of Erne, in the 1830s. The present Earl will speak about his family home, the challenges of maintaining such a property and his plans for its future.

Admission is $30 and tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 888-296-3447.

Art of the garden

The French Cultural Center, 53 Marlborough St., will display “Les Gardiens du Jardin” by Mary Beth McAllister, from May 18 to July 5.

An opening reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 18.

The works are gouache and ink, and are a collection of drawings relating to all things French, gourmand and garden.

American artist and designer McAllister was influenced by a magical childhood garden, which became a muse for the worlds she creates in her paintings, sculptures and designer show houses. Her work has been exhibited in numerous art exhibits on the East Coast and is in many private collections.

The exhibition and reception are free, but reservations are recommended. Gallery hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

For more information and to make a reservation, call 617-912-0400 or visit

Music of Bach

Music for All at Trinity Church will present the Bach “Mass is B minor” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 19 at Trinity Church, 206 Clarendon St.

The Trinity Choirs and Orchestra will perform one of Bach’s most significant and masterful works. Completed just one year before his death and never performed in his lifetime, this work is the culmination of his prolific compositional output.

Tickets range from $20 to $60. For more information, visit or call 617-536-0944.

Mansion tour

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 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 20.

Reservations are required and a $10 donation is requested to help with the ongoing restoration costs.

To make a reservation, send an email to or call 617-536-2586.

Victorian Back Bay

Boston By Foot is offering 90-minute guided, walking tours of the Back Bay at 2 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 or call 617-237-2345.

Art exhibit

The Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury St., is hosting the annual Members’ Juried Exhibition now to May 27 in the President’s Gallery.

A juror’s panel will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 14 and an art talk will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 18.

Visit or call 617-536-7660 for more details.

Bach cantatas

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

Organ concerts

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 May.

Performers will include Rosalind Mohnsen, Raymond Nagem, Ondrej Hornas and Nicholas Bideler. There is no charge for admission, but donations are welcome.

Call 617-536-0944 or visit for more information.

Library tours

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

For tours by appointment, call 617-536-5400, ext. 2216.