Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes

Choral concerts

The Old South Church, 645 Boylston St., will present the annual Boston Choral Ensemble concert from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 and the Back Bay Chorale at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 19 and 30.

On Saturday, the choral ensemble will perform Poulenc’s “Four Christmas Motets” as well as popular sacred and secular carols along with carols for audience, and a candlelight rendition of Gruber’s popular “Silent Night.” Tickets are $20 to $30.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Majestic Brass Ensemble will join the chorale performing works that span the centuries and invites the audience to join them singing beloved carols of the season in an evening celebrating the joy, mystery and glory of the holidays. Justin Barrett will conduct and play the organ.

Tickets are $25 and up.

Visit or call 617-536-1970 for further information and to purchase tickets.

Children’s holiday

The French Cultural Center of Boston, 53 Marlborough St., will present “Fete des Enfants” from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16.

Children will enjoy ateliers and holiday-themed activities including learning well-known French songs, cookie decorating, a cooking workshop and French story time. There will be a special visit from Papa Noel from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., hot chocolate and holiday treats.

Admission for members is $10 and non-members $15 per child and $2 per adult.

A schedule of activities and further information is available at or by calling 617-912-0400.

Native arts, culture

The annual Cultural Survival Bazaar and Festival of Native Arts and Culture will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17 at the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St.

Hundreds of artists and their representatives will sell traditional crafts, artwork, clothing, jewelry, carpets and accessories. The bazaar will also offer a wide range of cultural performances, including live music from around the world, Native American storytelling, cultural presentations, craft-making demonstrations, short films and more. Admission is free.

Call 617-441-5400, ext. 15 or visit for more details.

Craft Boston

Craft Boston 2017 will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec 16 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17 at the Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St.

The weekend-long fair produced by the Society of Arts and Crafts will feature more than 75 innovative craft artists showcasing one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces in baskets, ceramics, decorative fiber, art-to-wear, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper and wood.

There will also be lectures, tours and raffles.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and re-entry to the show is permitted.

Visit or call 617-266-1810 for further information.

Bell ringing

The Old South Ringers will present a musical evening “Songs of Good Cheer” at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17 at Old South Church, 645 Boylston St.

The audience will listen to their favorite carols and hymns and leave feeling inspired for the rest of the holiday season. The concert is free and family-friendly.

Visit or call 617-536-1970 for more details.

Holiday open house

The Gibson House Museum, 137 Beacon St., will welcome neighbors and visitors to the annual holiday open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17.

The house has been festively decorated for the holidays, displaying art objects from the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Light refreshments will be served, and free tours will be offered hourly.

Donations will be gratefully accepted.

To RSVP, call 617-267-6338 or send an email to

‘A Christmas Carol’

The Delvena Theater Company will perform “A Christmas Carol” at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 21 at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St.

The company will present a dramatic reading of the Charles Dickens’ classic, complete with period costumes, with a narrator and two professional actors.

Admission is free.

Call 617-536-5400 for more information.

‘Urban Nutcracker’

Tony Williams’ 17th annual production of “Urban Nutcracker” is being performed at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturdays and at 1 and 5 p.m. on Sundays through Dec. 28 at the Back Bay Events Center, John Hancock Hall, 180 Berkeley St. There will also be a 7:30 p.m. show school vacation week from Tuesday through Thursday, Dec. 26 to 28.

Dancers from the Tony Williams Ballet Company will be joined by the Boston Urban Ballet, Flamenco Dance Project, the Doo-Wop Singers and more than 75 children from dance schools in New England in this celebration of the classic with an urban edge.

The production fuses ballet, swing, hip-hop and tap with Tchaikovsky’s classical score and Duke Ellington’s beat.

Further information can be found at or by calling 617-572-9125.

Organ and brass concerts

Two musical programs featuring the 1921 Skinner pipe organ will be held at 3, 6:30 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31 at the Old South Church, 645 Boylston St.

The early performance will feature organist George Sargeant performing electrifying arrangements of popular classics.

In the evening organ and brass concerts, Sargeant will be joined by the best of Boston’s brass and percussion artists in “Pipes and Pops,” playing popular classics as well as leading the audience in singing favorites.

Visit or call 617-536-1970 for more details.

First Night Boston

The community is invited to First Night Boston events at Copley Square from 12:30 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Dec. 31 and noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1.

Performers will include a cappella group Sweet Harmony; Downtown Brass; Dancin’ Diamonds; Girls Night Out; Ulrich Johnson Steele Band, Dutch Rebelle; Carissa Johnson, Eli Paperboy Reed, the Lance Martin Band; Boston Opera Guy and more.

The Peoples’ Parade from Copley Square to the Boston Common will be held from 6 to 7 p.m.

Visit for a complete schedule.

Genealogy introduction

The New England Historical Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., will host new visitor tours at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

Attendees will learn about the resources available at the research facility as they tour the building and meet the expert staff. The NEHGS is the largest and oldest genealogy library and archive in the country with more than 15 million artifacts, records, books, manuscripts, photographs and more. Attendees are welcome to use any of the resources after the tour. Registration is not required.

Visit or call 617-536-5740 for more information.

Vietnam War film screening

The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., will host a free screening of Ken Burns’ Vietnam War documentary and a community discussion from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 4.

Participants will watch episode three of the documentary recently aired on PBS. In partnership with the WETA Productions in Washington, D.C. and the American Library Association, the Boston Public Library is one of fifty U.S. public libraries selected through a competitive application process to screen “The Vietnam War,” a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

Light refreshments will be served. Call 617-536-5400 for further details.

History of Ellis Island

The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., will host “American Passage: The History of Ellis Island” at noon on Friday, Jan. 5.

Ellis Island’s heyday, from 1892 to 1924, coincided with the greatest mass migration of individuals the world has ever seen, with some 12 million immigrants going through its gates. In his new book “American Passage,” Vincent J. Cannato tells the story of Ellis Island from the days when pirate hangings were witnessed by thousands of 19th century New Yorkers, to the turn of the 20th century when migrations sparked fierce debate and hopeful new immigrants encountered corruption, harsh conditions and political scheming.

Visit or call 617-536-5740 for more information and to register for this free program.

Art as narrative

The New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University is displaying “Speak, Object” now through Jan. 16 at the gallery at 75 Arlington St.

The works in the exhibition imply and also create their own narrative. Embracing a range of materials, they are all very personal and look both inward and out. As reflections of their respective artist-makers, they act as voice and vocabulary for ideas. Participating artists include Caleb Cole, Judy Haberl, Steve Locke, Greg Mencoff and Janice Redman.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The gallery is open to the public.

Call 617-573-8785 or send an email to for more information.

Bach cantatas

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

Collections tour

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 or by calling 617-646-0560.

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.

The Old South Church in Copley Square was first organized in 1669. Its present building was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Charles Amos Cummings and Willard T. Sears and completed in 1873.