Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes
The Hatch Shell is currently under construction. Someday winter will end and it will be time for outdoor concerts.

Bach birthday celebrations

The First Lutheran Church, 299 Berkeley St., will host the 10th annual Bach birthday celebrations from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 17.

The day will feature concerts, organ recitals, a Vespers service and the famous German lunch.

This year’s celebration will be presented as a day in the life of Bach’s house in Leipzig around 1739. At 10:15 a.m. there will be a drama “Waiting for Cousin Sebastian” performed by students and Youth Pro Musica.

There will be three organ recitals, with Colin Lynch at 8 a.m. Arvid Gast at 3 p.m. and Heather Krikconnell at 4:15 p.m. Additional solo recitals will be presented by Denise Fan on Baroque cello at 9 a.m. and guitarist Aaron Largent-Caplan at 2 p.m.

Also featured will be two ensembles: FLC’s ensemble-in-residence Canto Armonico at 12:45 p.m. and a small chamber ensemble playing music of JS Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel at 1 p.m.

The day will conclude with Vespers for the fifth Sunday in Lent at 5 p.m.

All musical events are free and open to the public and concertgoers may come and go as they please. An authentic German lunch will be served at noon. Tickets for the luncheon are $15.

For further details, visit or call 617-536-8851.

Women composers

La Donna Musicale and Divine Sisters will present the music of the Divine Sisters at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 18 at the Old South Church, 645 Boylston St.

Divine Sisters is inspired by the groundbreaking lives of two 17th century women whose stories resonate in the current society. Catalina de Erauso was raised in a Spanish convent and went on to wear men’s clothes and live the life of a soldier. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a Mexican nun and poet, became the first feminist voice of Latin America. Along with works incorporating the writings of these two figures, the ensemble will present music composed by women throughout the centuries with a Latin twist, including Hildegard von Bingen, Diana Arismendi, Diana V. Sáez, and Señora Anonymous.

La Donna Musicale, formed in 1993, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the research and historical performance of Renaissance, Baroque, classical and contemporary music by women composers.

Tickets are $35 reserved, $20 general admission, $15 seniors and $5 for low income.

Visit or call 617-536-1970 to purchase tickets and for more details.

Stopping a highway

The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St., will welcome guest speaker Dr. Karilyn Crockett from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. with the talk at 6 p.m.

Crockett, the director of Economic Policy and Research, Small Business Development with the City of Boston, will reflect on “Stopping a Highway,” the story of how an unlikely multiracial coalition of urban and suburban residents, planners and activists emerged to stop an interstate highway.

She is the author of “People Before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners and a New Movement for City Making.”

Admission is free for members and EBT cardholders and $10 for non-members.

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

Boston’s South End

The Gibson House Museum, 137 Beacon St., will present a talk on the South End at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. A reception will be held at 6 p.m. with the lecture at 6:30 p.m.

Lauren Prescott, executive director of the South End Historical Society, will discuss her new book, “Boston’s South End,” which traces the history of this dynamic area of Boston from its 19th century inception as a wealthy residential district to its development in the early 20th century as a vibrant immigrant community.

Admission is $10 for members and $15 for non-members.

Call 617-267-6338 or visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

Discovering Irish ancestors

The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., will welcome John Schnelle in “Discovering Irish Ancestors” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21.

For rural ancestors, the land they farmed determined every aspect of life. Land valuation books shed light on the latent capabilities of their soil and thus provide insight on what these ancestors did to survive. Schnelle will discuss how to use the Irish Valuation Office Field Books to paint a detailed picture of the lives of ancestors, including the limitations, possibilities and hard realities they faced.

Schnelle created the Townland Valuation Translator to help researchers mine important data from the Valuation Books. He has conducted extensive research into land valuation, early agricultural science and mid-19th century farming to breathe life into the numerical evidence ancestors left behind.

Admission is free.

For more details, call 617-536-5400 or visit

Introduction to genealogy

The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., will host a new visitors day at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 21.

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 or by calling 888-296-3447.

Student art exhibition

The New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University will display works by seniors of the Illustration program from March 23 to 30 at the gallery at 75 Arlington St.

An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 23.

This exhibit features the work of Illustration seniors Caela Chau, Sylvan Huynh and Jacqueline Mancini, which exemplifies the creative process and inventive thinking and represents the best ideas used in illustration.

Gallery hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Call 617-573-8785 or visit for more information.

Acclaimed pianist honored

The French Cultural Center, 53 Marlborough St., will host a special celebration in honor of world-renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 23.

For more than 30 years, Thibaudet has performed worldwide, recorded more than 50 albums and built a reputation as one of today’s finest pianists. He has won numerous awards and honors, including the title Officier by the French Ministry of Culture in 2012.

This event will be presented in English. Business attire is required. Tickets are $75.

Proceeds from this reception will benefit the Mosaïque Cultural Fund of the French Cultural Center of Boston.

RSVP by calling 617-912-0400 or visiting online at

Dr. King’s last hours

Journalist Joseph Rosenbloom will be the guest speaker at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. March 27.

His latest book “Redemption: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Last 31 Hours,” is an intimate look at the last fateful hours of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. It draws on dozens of the author’s interviews with people who were involved in the Memphis events as well as on recently released documents from archives in Atlanta. The fresh material yields a wealth of illuminating detail, including a lapse, never before reported, by the Memphis Police Department to provide security for King. It juxtaposes the narrative of King’s last hours in Memphis with an account of what his assassin James Earl Ray was doing in Memphis at the same time.

Admission is free. Call 617-536-5400 for more information.

Art of Haiti

The French Cultural Center, 53 Marlborough St., is displaying “Migrating Colors,” artworks by Haitian artists, now through April 2.

This impactful and beautiful exhibit features the work of several artists from the Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachusetts. Artwork of various influences and mediums depict the daily lives, Haitian landscapes, spirituality, vaudou and memories of its artists and the resiliency, creativity and sustainability of the Haitian people.

This exhibition follows the release of the art book “Migrating Colors: Haitian Art in New England,” which features the artwork of more than 30 artists of the association.

The exhibition is free, but reservations are required. 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

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.