Activities at the Summer School
Harvard Summer School offers a rich array of free films, concerts, dances, social gatherings, lectures, and athletic events. In addition to campus activities, the Boston area is filled with many opportunities for enjoyment.
There are many ways to remain active around campus: work out at Harvard gyms, participate in a tennis tournament or swim meet, or join Weld Boathouse and row on the Charles River. Learn more about the athletic facilities and resources.
Students may participate in a variety of musical opportunities, including the Summer School pops band, chorus, and orchestra. Watch a video about the various musical opportunities offered during the summer.
Harvard Summer Pops Band
The band, led by Harvard University Band Assistant Director Mark Olson, is open without audition to all brass, woodwind, and percussion players from both Harvard and the Greater Boston area, regardless of age or experience. No audition necessary. Interested wind, brass, and percussion players are advised to come to the first rehearsal with instrument and, if possible, a folding music stand.
Rehearsals are Wednesdays from 7:15 to 9:30 pm in Sanders Theatre. There will be two concerts, (tentatively scheduled): one in Harvard Yard on the Memorial Church steps, Thursday, July 25 at 4 pm, and one at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade, Sunday, July 28.
Harvard Summer Chorus
The chorus, under the direction of Harvard University’s Director of Choral Activities Andrew Clark, is open by audition to Harvard Summer School students and Greater Boston community singers. The chorus performs masterworks with full orchestral accompaniment.
Auditions for community members will be held in Paine Hall, Room 8 from 7 to 10 pm on Monday, May 13; 3 to 6 pm on Tuesday, May 14; 7 to 10 pm on Wednesday May 15; and from 7 to 10 pm on Monday, May 20. Community members who cannot make an audition time in May can audition in Holden Chapel from 6 to 9 pm on Sunday, June 23, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.
Auditions for summer school students will be held in Holden Chapel from 1 to 4 pm on Saturday, June 22; 1 to 4 pm; and 6 to 9 pm on Sunday, June 23; and from 5 to 9 pm on Monday, June 24.
Final decisions on acceptance into the chorus will be made for all singers after the conclusion of auditions on Monday, June 24, and will be announced shortly thereafter via e-mail.
Rehearsals are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 to 9:45 pm, in Sanders Theatre, starting Tuesday, June 25. The concert is held in Sanders Theatre, tentatively scheduled for Friday, August 2, at 8 pm. Visit the Harvard Summer Chorus Facebook page or e-mail email@example.com for more information.
Harvard Summer School Orchestra
The Harvard Summer School Orchestra is currently in its 28th season under the direction of Judith Zuckerman. Orchestral musicians of all ages are invited to audition. A Harvard affiliation is not required, and there is no fee for participation but participating musicians must be available for the entire Summer School term. The orchestra comprises approximately 60 players and performs works from the classical repertoire.
This year’s program includes: Copland’s “Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo,” Sanae Kanda’s “Five Pieces for Tuba and Chamber Orchestra” (Michael S. Milnarik, tuba soloist), Bottesini’s “Gran Duo Concertante for Violin,” Double Bass and Orchestra (Jodi Hagen, violin, and Susan Hagen, contrabass), and music of Edvard Grieg.
The orchestra forms anew each summer and therefore has openings for the following instruments: piccolo, flute, oboe, English horn, Bb and A clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (glockenspiel, xylophone, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, slap stick, woodblock), piano (celeste), harp, violin, viola, cello, and contrabass. Returning players must re-audition.
Harvard does not provide instruments on loan. Musicians are responsible for bringing their own instrument (with the exception of piano and large percussion). Those who may be coming to Cambridge for the summer and cannot bring their own instruments when they travel may be able to rent an instrument from an area music store.
Auditions will be held on a first-come, first-served basis (no appointments) Tuesday, June 25, to Thursday, June 27, 5 to 9 pm in Memorial Hall, room 038. Audition requirements: one prepared piece (auditionee’s choice—anything you love to play and feel you play very well without accompaniment) and sight-reading excerpts from our planned program. The whole audition lasts no more than eight minutes. If your chosen prepared piece is long, please select a short section or sections that you feel best display your musicianship. It is not necessary to memorize your audition piece.
Rehearsals are Mondays from 6:30 to 9 pm in Sanders Theatre, July 1 to 29. There is a dress rehearsal on July 31 as well.
The performance will take place at 8 pm in Sanders Theater on Saturday, August 3.
For more information, please contact Judy Zuckerman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer Servers contacts area nonprofits to determine the number of volunteers needed at the organizations throughout the summer weeks. This collaboration provides opportunities for Summer School students to give back to the local community through time spent on activities like sorting food at the Greater Boston Food Bank, serving a hot meal at a soup kitchen, or helping to set up an arts and food festival.
Students sign up for volunteer expeditions with Summer Servers at the Activities Fair, held on the Sunday of Opening Weekend. Trips are scheduled throughout the summer, mainly on Saturdays.
Harvard Summer School students can contribute to the Harvard Summer Review, a literary journal published once a year.
The Summer School hosts a number of readings from popular and local authors, including Harvard faculty, around Harvard Square. In the past there have been readings by Paul Harding, author of the novel Tinkers; Tom Perrotta, author of the novel Little Children; and Christina Thompson, author of Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story.
The city of Boston, across the Charles River, has many cultural, historic, and scientific institutions. Dance, music, and theater also flourish. The Boston Pops Orchestra gives free concerts each summer on the Esplanade along the Charles River, and there are a number of parks and trails in the city.
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
- Museum of Science
- Boston Public Library
- Institute of Contemporary Art
- Museum of Afro-American History
- New England Aquarium
- Freedom Trail
- Fenway Park
- Charles River Canoe & Kayak
Sponsored trips beyond Boston
The Summer School also sponsors trips to Cape Cod; the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island; the beaches and shopping centers in Maine; and Tanglewood in western Massachusetts—the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Information and schedules for these trips are available at the Activities Fair, held the Sunday of Opening Weekend. You can sign up for these activities at the fair or in the Activities Office throughout the summer.