Neighborhood Roundup

Return of the Swans May 10

 Boston Parks Commissioner Chris Cook welcomes Boston’s most popular waterfowl back during the 31st Annual Return of the Swans event on Friday, May 10.  The celebration in the Public Garden begins with entertainment at 10:15 a.m.

After wintering at the Franklin Park Zoo, Romeo and Juliet will reside during the summer months in the Public Garden.  The swans will be returned to the lagoon following a parade that begins at the Beacon and Charles Street corner of the park near the “Make Way for Ducklings” statue.  Carts beautifully decorated by Boston’s Winston Flowers will help usher the swans to the release site. 

Led by a brass band, the parade will continue to the George Washington Statue at the Commonwealth Avenue/Arlington Street entrance, over the pedestrian bridge, and end on the Boylston Street side of the lagoon for the official Return of the Swans ceremony.

The accompanying entertainment program, sponsored in part by the Friends of the Public Garden, begins at 10:15 a.m.  The celebration will include a brass band, face painters, a reading of “Make Way for Ducklings” led by the Boston Park Rangers, and children’s activities presented by the Four Seasons Hotel Boston.  In-kind sponsors HP Hood LLC and the Four Seasons Hotel Boston will provide refreshments.

Forum to be held for Distric 8 City Council hopefuls

The Boston Ward 4 and Ward 5 Democratic Committees will co-sponsor a Forum and Panel Discussion for candidates seeking the District 8 city council seat on Tuesday, May 21, at 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the third floor of Berklee College of Music at 160 Massachusetts Ave. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

   Margaret McKenna, president emerita of Lesley University will serve as moderator for the event, which is fee and open to the public.

Boston Bubble Festival coming to Boston Common May 11

 The air will be filled with fun as Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department bring the Boston Bubble Festival back to Boston Common on Saturday, May 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 Building on the popularity of “Bubble Guy” Jim Dichter’s presentations at previous Parks Department children’s events, the Boston Bubble Festival will offer free outdoor activities in and around the historic Parkman Bandstand at 167 Tremont Street.

The celebration will include giant floating bubble demonstrations from various bubble performers, a DJ, live entertainment, giveaways, and more.

 The Boston Bubble Festival is presented by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department with sponsors Uncle Bubble, HP Hood LLC, “A Dog’s Journey” in theaters May 17th,  “Spirit Riding Free” and “She-Ra and the Princesses Of Power” now streaming on Netflix, and partners Country 102.5, Ameriprise Financial, KIND Snacks, Polar Beverages, Power Crunch nutrition bars and “Bubble Guy” Jim Dichter.

 This event is weather permitting.  For more information, please call the Boston Parks and Recreation Department at (617) 635-4505, visit www.boston.gov/parks or go to www.facebook.com/bostonparksdepartment.

Tour Boston’s first cultural center for free during historic library’s annual open house May 4

 The Boston Athenæum will host its fifth annual Open House on Saturday, May 4, opening all floors of the library at 10½ Beacon St. for exploration and photography. Visitors of all ages are invited to engage with docents and staff members throughout the building and learn about the Athenæum’s history, its remarkable special collections, and its landmark home.

   Areas usually restricted to members—including the dazzling fifth-floor reading room, normally a silent space for reading and contemplation—will be open for self-guided tours, while fun activities will run throughout the day starting on the first floor. Don’t miss the aquarium, book nooks, and kid-sized easy chairs in the Children’s Library. 

   The Open House runs from 9 a.m. to last entry at 3 p.m. Your visit may take 90 minutes, so plan accordingly. Visit  www.bostonathenaeum.org/open-house for information on directions and parking, accessibility, bag and coat check and visiting with children. 

A Kaleidoscope of Musical Gems

 Come to the Church On The Hill at 140 Bowdoin St. for a concert of music written by composers from Antonio Vivaldi to Undine Moore on Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. 

Some of the music to be performed will be “Ce Moys De May,” “Il desio di Vendetta a di Morte” (from “Lucio Silla”), “Schon eilet froh der Akkermann (from “Seasons”), “Spring” (from “The Four Seasons”), “Alma Brasileira,” “En Une Seule Fleur,” “Love Let The Wind Cry,” “How I Adore Thee” and many more.

   This concert is free and open to the public, but you must have a ticket. A reception immediately following, and the concert site is handicap accessible.

For more information, phone 617-523-4575 or visit http://churchonthehillboston.org.

Cellist Ifetayo Ali to make Boston debut at Gardner Museum

Rising-star cellist Ifetayo Ali performs an exciting, colorful program for her Boston debut as part of the Weekend Concert Series on Sunday, May 5 at 1:30 p.m. at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Calderwood Hall, located at 25 Evans Way.

   Her full program includes: Johannes Brahms, Sonata No. 1 for Violoncello and Piano in E Minor, Op. 38 (1865); Ludwig van Beethoven, Seven Variations on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” (from The Magic Flute), WoO 46 (1801); Alberto Ginastera, Pampeana No. 2 for Cello and Piano, Op. 21 (1950); and

J.S. Bach (arr. Silioti/Casals), Adagio from Toccata in C Major, BWV 564 (c. 1715/1925).

   Tickets for the floor level and first balcony cost $36 for adults,  $33 for seniors, $24 for members, and $15 for students and children 7–17, while tickets for the second and third balconies cost $31 for adults, $28 for seniors, $19 for members and $15 for students and children 7-17. Children under 7 will no be admitted to the performance.

   For information and tickets, call 617-566-1401 or visit www.gardnermuseum.org.

Charles Street Planting and Cleaning Day   coming May 7

The Beacon Hill Civic Association, the Beacon Hill Business Association and the Beacon Hill Garden Club are partnering to sponsor the annual Planting and Cleaning Day on Charles Street on Tuesday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to noon.

   Meet at Tatte Bakery & Café at 70 Charles St., where brooms, disposable gloves and trash bags will be provided. Volunteers are encouraged to bring trowels and garden gloves, and children are welcome.

King’s Chapel’s Tuesday Recitals

King’s Chapel, 58 Tremont St., presents its Tuesday Recitals. Admission is by suggested donation of $5 per person; the donations are given to the performing musicians. Programs begin at 12:15 p.m. and last approximately 35 minutes; for more information, call 617-227-2155.

   Programming includes Richard Spicer on the C.B. Fisk organ performing works by Bach, Buxtehude and Ritter on May 7; Karl Henning Ensemble performing music for flutes, horn and percussion by Marshall and Henning on May 14; flutist Alison LaRosa Montez and organist Heinrich Christensen performing Pietro Locatelli’s “Sonata I” and Daniel Pinkham’s “Miracles” on May 21; and Justin Breuggeman on C.B. Fisk organ performing works by Bach, Bruhns and Schumann on May 28.

Hidden Gardens tour returns May 16

The Beacon Hill Garden Club presents its Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Annual Tour takes place on Thursday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. Tickets cost $50 each through May 9 and $60 each thereafter.

   Also, the fourth annual Soiree to benefit the Garden Club’s civic projects takes place on Wednesday, March 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the King’s Chapel Parish House at 55 Branch St. The event will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a jazz combo, and guests will be able to preview three gardens featured on the tour. Tickets cost $150 each until May 9 and $175 each afterwards.

Visit beaconhillgardenclub.org for more information on both events.

Visit Hidden Art Gallery during Hidden Gardens tour

The Hidden Art Gallery at 25 Myrtle St. will be open during Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Annual Tour, and guests are invited to stop in and look at the garden paintings on Thursday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ten percent of proceeds will go to the Beacon Hill Garden Club.

Hill House’s Senior Dinners

Hill House serves a hot meal to the seniors of the community on the third Tuesday of each month, including May 21, at 74 Joy St.

   No sign up is required for the seniors, and they are more than welcome to come by for a meal and socialization. Volunteers are always welcome at Senior Dinners, and little ones can help, too.

   Contact  [email protected] or 617-227-5838 ext. 22 to learn more about the requirements for this monthly event.

BSNJ Community Children’s Chorus  

The Boston Society of The New Jerusalem (BSNJ) Community Children’s Chorus is a comprehensive musical training program for children in the third through seventh grades.

   Your child will be participating in a program that promotes: the love of music, expressive singing, teamwork-cooperative learning, building new friendships, self-assessment and the fun of being in an outstanding program.

    The group meets at 140 Bowdoin St. on Saturday mornings. Tuition is free for any child with a Greater Boston-area address. All levels of singing ability are welcome. To register, contact Carlton Doctor at 617-523-4575 or visit www.churchonthehillboston.org (click on “music.”)

   BSNJ/The Church On The Hill sponsors this initiative, but we are not promoting any religious ideology.

MGH seeking volunteers

Massachusetts General Hospital Volunteer Department is seeking volunteers for its very busy office.  Candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills in dealing with a broad international community of volunteers, as well as the ability to handle multiple tasks. Various shifts are available.

   Contact Kim Northrup at 617-724-1826 for more information.

‘Coloring for Adults’ at the West End Branch Library

The West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, located at 151 Cambridge St., presents “Color Your World: Coloring for Adults“ on Fridays from 2 to 4 p.m. 

   At this time, the library will supply coloring pages, colored pencils, markers and crayons, or bring your own supplies if you prefer. Feel free to drop in between these hours.

   Call 617-523-3957 for more information.

Spanish/English Language Exchange

The West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, located at 151 Cambridge St., presents the Spanish/English Language Exchange/Intercambio de Idiomas en Inglés y Español on Mondays from 3 to 5 p.m.

   At this time, English speakers can practice Spanish and Spanish speakers can practice English in this fun, informal conversation class.

   Call 617-523-3957 for more information.

BSNJ Community Children’s Chorus

The Boston Society of The New Jerusalem (BSNJ) Community Children’s Chorus is a comprehensive musical training program for children in Grades 3 to 7.

   Your child will be participating in a program that promotes: the love of music, expressive singing, teamwork-cooperative learning, building new friendships, self-assessment and the fun of being in a well organized program.

   The rehearsals take place at 140 Bowdoin St. on Tuesday afternoons. Tuition is free for any child with a Boston address. All levels of singing ability are welcome. To sign up, please contact Mr. Doctor at 617-523-4575 or visit www.churchonthehillboston.org (click on “music”).

   The Church on the Hill sponsors this initiative but we are not promoting any religious ideology.

‘Preschool Story Hour’ at West End Branch Library

   The West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, 151 Cambridge St., offers the  “Preschool Story Hour” on Tuesdays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

   Children, ages 3 to 5, and their caregivers join the children’s librarian for weekly stories, songs, rhymes and movement. This is a high-energy story time, and families, daycare and school groups are all welcome to drop in.

ESL conversation group resumes meeting at West End Branch Library

   The West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, located at 151 Cambridge St., welcomes the English as a Second Language (ESL) conversation group every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Come and practice your English language skills with other newcomers and a facilitator.

West End Playgroup meets Tuesday mornings

The West End Community Center, located at 1 Congress St., welcomes the West End Playgroup on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. through the fall and winter.

   This is a free drop-in time to let kids play and adults chat with one another. Small toy donations are welcome.

‘Toddler Time’ at the West End Branch Library

The West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, 151 Cambridge St., presents  “Toddler Time” on Wednesdays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

   At this time, children ages 18 months to 3 years and their caregivers join the children’s librarian for developmentally appropriate stories, rhymes, movement, and songs. Drop-in for families, and groups, should contact the library ahead of time at 617-523-3957.

Get homework help at the West End Branch Library

The West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, located at 151 Cambridge St., offers homework help every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m.

Get help from a Boston Public Schools teacher. No appointment necessary; simply drop in with your homework.

Call 617-523-3957 for more information.

Compassionate Friends group reaches out to bereaved parents,   families

The Boston Chapter of The Compassionate Friends (TCF) meets at Trinity Church on the first Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

   TCF is a national self-help, mutual-assistance organization offering friendship, understanding and hope to bereaved parents and their families. Call

617-539-6424 or e-mail [email protected] for more information.

West End Food Pantry seeking donations

The West End Food Pantry needs help to continue serving its more than 120 clients per month. They welcome donations to replenish the supply of food that they give out to hungry residents in the neighborhood.

   The pantry is located in the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library and is staffed by volunteers from ABCD’s North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center. Non-perishable (canned and boxed) items are being sought, including rice, pasta, canned tuna, canned chicken, chili, beans, vegetables, cereal, soups, cup of noodles, etc.

   Donations can be left at the library, 151 Cambridge St., on Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Volunteers needed for hot meal program

The North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center (NE/WE NSC), located at 1 Michelangelo St., serves a hot, fresh, home-cooked lunch to seniors in the neighborhood Mondays and Fridays, and is looking for two volunteers to help with shopping, food preparation, cooking, serving and clean-up. The non-profit providing services and programs to low-income residents of the North End, West End and Beacon Hill is looking for volunteers who can assist with the whole meal from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a Monday and/or Friday, but can make arrangements to fit your schedule.

Contact Maria Stella Gulla, director, at 617-523-8125, ext. 201, via e-mail at [email protected] for more information.

Introduction to laptops, eReaders and iPads at the West End Branch Library

The West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, 151 Cambridge St., offers an introduction to laptops, eReaders and iPads by appointment only. Get the most out of your eReader or Laptop. Receive tips and guidance during these one-on-one sessions. Call Branch Librarian, Helen Bender at617-523-3957 or e-mail  HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected][email protected] to set up an appointment.

Yoga for seniors at the West End Branch Library

The West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, 151 Cambridge St., presents yoga for seniors every Tuesday from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. Classes are led by Tatiana Nekrasova, a certified yoga instructor.

Volunteer at Spaulding Rehab

Stay active, meet new people and be connected with your community by volunteering at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Staff members will match your skills and interests to a volunteer opportunity. The hospital is currently recruiting volunteers, ages 18 and up, for two- to three-hour-a-week shifts for a minimum of six to 12 months commitment. Visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.spauldingnetwork.org” www.spauldingnetwork.org for more information.

After-work tai chi group at the West End Branch Library

The West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, 151 Cambridge St., welcomes after-work tai chi group every Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. Come and try this low impact energy exercise with yang-style tai chi instructor Arthur Soo-Hoo.

Give blood and getaway this fall with the MGH Blood Donor Center

Fly away with the MGH Blood Donor Center this fall. Donate blood at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Blood Donor Center or on an MGH Bloodmobile in your area to enter to win a roundtrip flight for two on AirTran Airways in September, Porter Airlines in October or JetBlue Airways in November. For more information about blood donation at the MGH Blood Donor Center or to find a bloodmobile near you, visit www.massgeneral.org/blooddonor or call 617-726-8177.

Volunteers needed for American Cancer Society cosmetic sessions

The American Cancer Society is currently seeking volunteers for the “Look Good…Feel Better” sessions held at Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington St. “Look Good . . . Feel Better” is a free program that teaches cancer patients hands-on cosmetic techniques to help them cope with appearance-related side effects from chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments. Cosmetologists certified and trained by the American Cancer Society conduct the sessions, which are non-medical and do not promote any product line. Volunteers are needed to assist the cosmetologist conducting the session and are responsible for set-up, cleanup, and any other needs of the program. Programs are held from noon to 2 p.m., one Monday every other month. For more information or to volunteer, contact Nanyamka Hales at 781-314-2611 or via e-mail at HYPERLINK “http://backbaysun.com:2095/3rdparty/squirrelmail/src/compose.php?send_to=Nanyamka.Hales%40cancer.org”[email protected], or visit cancer.org.

Be a friend to elderly in need

FriendshipWorks seeks caring people to offer help and support to isolated elders in the Boston area. Volunteers are needed to provide companionship and assist elders with tasks such as reading, organizing, or going for a walk – lend an hour each week and gain a friend and a new perspective. Volunteers also needed to escort elders to and from medical appointments. No car is needed and hours are flexible. For more information or to apply online, visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.fw4elders.org” www.fw4elders.org or call 617-482-1510.

Local residents needed to drive cancer patients to and from treatment

The American Cancer Society is in great need of Road to Recovery volunteers to drive local cancer patients to and from their chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments. An integral part of treating cancer successfully is making sure cancer patients receive their treatments, but many find making transportation arrangements is a challenge. The American Cancer Society provided more than 19,000 rides to cancer patients in New England last year, but needs new volunteer drivers to keep up with the demand for transportation.

   Make a difference in the fight against cancer by becoming a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery. Drivers use their own vehicle to drive patients to and from their treatments. The schedule for volunteers is flexible, and treatment appointments take place weekdays, primarily during business hours. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a volunteer driver for Road to Recovery, contact your American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345 or visit HYPERLINK “http://www.cancer.org/”www.cancer.org.

Join the Downtown Boston Rotary Club

The Downtown Boston Rotary Club, the first new Rotary Club in Boston in 100 years, holds meetings at the UMass Club in the Financial District on the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 6 to 7:15 p.m.

   For more information, visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.dbrotary.org” www.dbrotary.org or call 617-535-1950.

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