Seniors Flock to Free Quality Shows at the Boston Public Library
The Never Too Late Group offers entertainment that's a hit with retired Bostonians.
It’s not unusual to have about 100 people show up to enjoy some free culture and entertainment as part of the BPL’s Never Too Late Group. While open to everyone, it’s been gaining popularity among aging Bostonians who say they come for the timing and quality of the programs.
“It’s mostly about the entertainment,” said Joe McGrath, 69, and a resident of the West End. “If you went to a night club you couldn’t get a better performance.”
Joe Galante, 78, of Medford had a simpler reason for showing up.
“I’m retired, I have nowhere else to go,” he joked.
“Dear God, get off the violin,” McGrath quipped.
The two have been coming on and off for about 20 years, and the program itself has been going on for more than 60. They stop first at Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street for the senior luncheon, then head to the Rabb Lecture Hall to sit back and enjoy whatever the library has in store. It’s the perfect finish to their day.
“I find the variety very pleasing,” Galante said. “It never gets boring. Whoever does the programming deserves a compliment.”
That would be coordinator Denise Deboer, who has the schedule planned out through November.
“When we put the calendars out they come running for it,” she said. Deboer is consistently in talks with entertainers from around the region. Sometimes she calls them; other times, like with the Lisa Yves with Rich Rancatore & Friends jazz band that played last Thursday, groups go there once and ask to come back.
Steve Cassidy, of West Roxbury, said he enjoys the Boston Conservatory shows in particular, and is excited for the June 14 film Presumed Innocent. He also recalled a lecture from years ago about opera. The speaker explained the music and showed clips, and Cassidy walked away with a newfound understanding and appreciation.
“I do a mixture of all different kinds of things,” Deboer said. And she’s never gotten any complaints. If people aren’t into what’s being offered, they’ll just wait until next week.
“It’s not a lot of feedback. It’s ‘thank you.’” she said. “They let us do the picking and choosing.”
The Never Too Late Group has grown in popularity mostly through word of mouth, but McGrath said it’s a shame there’s not standing room only in the lecture hall.
“I’m always puzzled there’s not more people here,” he said. “They should put a sign outside the library [with the program being offered]. And put ‘free’ on there. Seniors love free.”
It’s clear the people who do know about it look forward to it every week. People like Jean Connell of Charlestown, who’s been going for the past five years.
“It’s absolutely fabulous what they have here on a Thursday afternoon,” she said. “I can’t think of anything I’d rather do.”
View the full schedule
Presumed Innocent (film, 1990, 127 min.)
A prosecutor is charged with the murder of his colleague and mistress. Secrets and lies abound as he fights to clear his name. Stars Harrison Ford and Brian Dennehy. You can also borrow the DVD from the library.
The Trouble With Harry (film, 1955, 100 min.)
The trouble with Harry is that he's dead and everyone seems to have a different idea of what needs to be done with his body. Stars John Forsythe and Shirley MacLaine. You can also borrow the DVD from the library.
Back Bay Guitar Trio
Featuring David Newsam, John Mason, and Sharon Wayne, this classical guitar concert will include original compositions by John Mason, South American songs by Astor Piazzolla and Paulo Bellinati, and a new take on jazz classics by Django Reinhardt and Dave Brubeck.
Charade (film, 1963, 113 min.)
A woman is chased through Paris by several men who believe she has a fortune in stolen loot. Stars Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. You can also borrow the DVD from the library.
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (film, 1973, 102 min.)
A low-level Boston gangster decides to snitch on his friends to avoid jail time. Stars Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle. You can also borrow the DVD from the library.
Picnic at Hanging Rock (film, 1975, 107 min.)
On Valentine’s Day, 1900, a group of Australian schoolgirls and their teachers set out for a picnic. Four of them disappear. Stars Rachel Roberts and Helen Morse. You can also borrow the DVD from the library.
My Man Godfrey (film, 1936, 94 min.)
A scatterbrained socialite hires a vagrant as the family butler, but there’s more to him than meets the eye. Stars William Powell and Carole Lombard. You can also borrow the DVD from the library.
Marilyn Monroe: An Icon for All Seasons
Author John De Vito presents an illustrated talk on Monroe as an enduring cultural icon unlike any other Hollywood star. You can also borrow his book The Immortal Marilyn: The Depiction of an Icon from the library.