“We Sing Boston” – a program made possible by the Boston Children’s Chorus in partnership with the Friends of the Public Garden – is continuing to bring interactive live-music experiences to outdoor public spaces in and around Boston, leading up to a citywide singing event on Saturday, Sept. 25, beginning at 2 p.m. at Brewer Fountain on the Boston Common.
The series kicked off on July 17 with “We Sing: Chelsea” at Clark Avenue Middle School in Chelsea and has also included singing events in Roxbury, Dorchester, Chinatown, and Mattapan. Remaining neighborhood dates leading up to the citywide event include “We Sing: Mattapan” on Saturday, Aug. 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., at Harambee Park, 930 Blue Hill Ave., Mattapan; and “We Sing: Chinatown” on Saturday, Aug. 15, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., at Chin Park on The Greenway Surface Road and Beach Street, Boston. (Two other scheduled events, “We Sing: Roxbury” on July 18, and “We Sing: Dorchester” on July 25, respectively, were both cancelled due to rain.)
At each stop, the event organizers and audience members learn and sing different composition together, as opposed to a traditional concert.
The all-ages events, which will comply with local COVID safety guidelines, will also include games and prizes, including a raffle for gift cards from Black- and brown-owned businesses in the neighborhoods where they will be taking place.
Attendance has been smaller than expected, with 10 to 15 people at each event to date, said Patrick Hanafin, associate producer of the Boston Children’s Chorus.
And while the turnout has been less than anticipated, Hanafin said, “The kids who are coming are having a blast. They’re playing games and learning to sing songs, as well as movement and dance while singing.”
In some locations with easy pedestrian access, unbeknownst passersby have stumbled across the singing events before joining in as participants.
“We Sing Boston,” which began as an offshoot of the outdoor rehearsals that Boston Children’s Chorus resorted to holding during the pandemic, is also bringing new exposure to the organization, which currently has over 300 young artists from over 100 different zip codes in and around Boston in eight choirs. BCC is now inviting singers, ages 7 to 18, to join them this fall for the 2021-2022 season. (Contact [email protected] or visit https://www.bostonchildrenschorus.org/our-programs/now-is-the-time/ for more information.)
Even though “We Sing Boston has yet to wrap up its inaugural season, Boston Children’s Chorus is already looking to next summer.
“We definitely want to do something over next summer where we engage the community and keep singing throughout [the season],” said Hanafin. “Our normal programing ends after the school year, but we love to get together at various outdoor places to continue the singing and the fun over the summer.”
Unlike other “We Sing Boston” outings, the Sept. 25 event on the Common will feature a concert by BCC singers and choirs following the traditional interaction with the audience, said Hanafin, which they hope will include all the individuals who attended the previous singing events.
“We want everyone who came to one of the singing events, or who wasn’t able to, to attend to come to the event on the Common,” said Hanafin. “We also want people to see what Boston Children’s Chorus is all about by coming to see our singers sing on the Common for free.”
Andrés Holder, executive director of the nonprofit Boston Children’s Chorus, said, “The experience we envision on the Common is to connect us and [participants] across all neighborhoods.”
From the onset, the goal of ‘We Sing’” has been to link Boston Children’s Chorus with communities across the city, said Holder, while connecting kids from neighborhoods across Greater Boston with each other. “We’re really trying to broaden this message and connect across barriers,” he added.
The program will include some of the songs learned and taught in multiple languages at the earlier events, said Holder, to reflect the diversity of the Greater Boston communities where they took place.
Holder credits all the work that Boston Children’s Chorus has done this summer to the “generous support” of the Friends of the Public Garden, especially Liz Vizza, its president, adding that he looks forward to a “long-lasting” partnership between the two groups.
“The We Sing Boston events are truly wonderful, encouraging kids of all ages to participate in community singing outdoors in public parks and schools throughout Boston this summer,” said Vizza. “What could be better, singing, socializing and sharing together in your local park?”
Visit https://www.bostonchildrenschorus.org/our-programs/we-sing/ for more information.