Boston Children’s Theater provides creative programs for children whose parents are interested in introducing them to the performing arts. Designed for youngsters ages four through nineteen, the theater, which is one of the oldest children’s theatrical organizations in the country, offers year round classes in acting, dance and musical theater. Programs last up to eight weeks and classes feature both classic and modern shows where kids can sign up for affordable main stage productions. Classes include a myriad of options, from an after-school theater class or a playwright project to a summer program or a live theatrical performance like Of Mice and Men. All performances are held at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, located on Tremont Street in Boston.
The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.
Children who are interested in music early on can get their start at From the Top, a non-profit organization designed for kids eight and older to showcase their talents on the radio. Vocalists, composers and ensembles are featured in live national performances of classical music on National Public Radio. Young budding musicians, up to age eighteen, are eligible for a scholarship program and can sign up for workshops to prepare them for a live on-air performance of classical music and future career in the arts. Live shows give kids a chance to display their musical abilities in a variety of performances, broadcasts and concerts. Past productions have also appeared on the PBS series From the Top at Carnegie Hall.
Made by the famed Italian Guarneri family of luthiers in 1743, the Bonjour violin comes to life today in the hands of master violinist Vadim Repin. The Russian virtuoso coaxes heart-tugging tones from the gorgeous wooden body of the violin—whose acoustics have blossomed along with its value over the years—as well as the radio receiver inside the instrument. Praised for his "unshakable bravura" by the New York Times' Steve Smith, Repin drives the instrument with a muscular, energetic style.
The New England String Orchestra, which has garnered accolades from The Boston Globe and The Boston Musical Intelligencer, produces stirring renditions of both classical and contemporary stringed masterpieces. Listen in as the orchestra performs its vibrant interpretations of Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet in C Minor, op. 18, no. 4; Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto in D Major, BWV 1054; and other pieces, all without the aid of Auto-Tune or magic flutes. The orchestra’s professional string-vibrators will work within the acoustically impeccable confines of First Parish Congregational Church as well as historic Jordan Hall, which was built in 1903 and designated a National Historic Landmark because of its role in William Howard Taft’s “Viola Folly” scandal. Ticket holders who show up 45 minutes in advance of either performance can also serenade their brains with a spoken-word symphony of knowledge from Italian-educated musical director Federico Cortese, who leads an interactive discussion prior to each NESO concert.