If you hear music in the air in Newton this month, it’s not just the birds rejoicing in spring’s late arrival.
Starting Saturday, May 2, the city is hosting its Festival of the Arts, a month-long event with concerts and performances by local artists every week. With 55 acts across multiple venues — including City Hall, churches, cafes, and a tent and a temple — the happenings are part of the biggest cultural event Newton has ever seen, according to Linda Plaut, director of the mayor’s office of cultural affairs. Dancing, music, and theatrics are all on the schedule.
“We think we are involving 400 artists of every stripe,” Plaut said.
Among those scheduled to take the stage, and kicking things off at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 2, the Newton Theatre Company will perform Moliere’s comedy, “The Imaginary Invalid,” a 17th-century, family-friendly show, at Newton Cultural Center at City Hall, according to a press release. It tells the story of a hypochondriac and his plans to marry his daughter off to a young doctor. When others try to stop him, antics ensue.
On Sunday, May 3, the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists will also appear at City Hall, with performances by singers Sara Brodsky, Phil Kassel, Stephen Smith, and Leni Webber, joined by pianist Tom LaMark and cabaret duo Linda Marks and Bonnie MacLeod. Musical numbers will range from the Great American songbook and jazz standards to Broadway hits and favorites.
Proceeds from the rain-or-shine events will be divided among local cultural organizations and the Newton, Centre Street, Arabic-Baptist, and Brigham House food pantries.
“People don’t know,’’ said Plaut, “there is a food insecurity in Newton as well.”
On Wednesday, May 20, all the proceeds from the “Ovation Celebrity Concert: The Stars Align: A Music for Food Concert” at Newton North High School will go to the four pantries. Boston Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Malcolm Lowe, violist Kim Kashkashian, violinist Lynn Chang, pianist Jonathan Bass, and cellist Mickey Katz, will play Bartok and Ravel duos and the G minor Piano Quartet by Brahms.
Plaut said she was not sure how much the festival will raise, but emphasized her hope that it will inform the public of the city’s cultural diversity and vibrancy.
“We’re doing it to make sure this community knows what’s going on,” she said, “or otherwise, you’ll lose it.”
For information about other festival events, visit www.newtoncommunitypride.org/festival/FOAevents.html.
Christopher Gavin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org