Live, from Harvard...it's Saturday Night!
Featuring your host Walter Cronkite, with guest stars actor John Lithgow '67, writer George Plimpton '48, and about 700 others. Guest musical groups: pianist Ursula Oppens '65, and John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra. And, of course, a multi-media show including fireworks produced by Tommy Walker, who organized the Liberty Celebration and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics.
The Saturday night stadium celebration will be only the finale to Harvard's five-day 350th anniversary celebration. Earlier in the week folk singers Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt '72 and Tom Rush '63 will perform an outdoor concert in Harvard Yard. And at the very start of the ceremonies, there will be a "floating birthday party" on the banks of the Charles River, complete with a 600-foot inflatable rainbow straddling the banks of the river.
"The focus of this affair is on what we call the Harvard family," said 350th Coordinator Thomas W. Stephenson '37 at a press conference at Bright Hockey Rink yesterday. Stephenson outlined the four sections of the celebration: the religious observances, the 104 academic symposia, the three convocations, and the numerous entertainment events. Stephenson has called the latter, "the fun part" of the ceremonies.
"Visually there will be some spectacular things," said Clara Wainwright, coordinator of the floating birthday party, which is free and open to the public. Wainwright, the Cambridge artist who founded the Boston New Year's Eve celebration First Night, said that the floating extravaganza will also feature laser pictures projected onto a 50-foot high water screen.
The gathered media representatives were treated to a preview of the 10- foot John Harvard marionette and its creator,Cambridge sculptor Bert Snow. Snow said that his"kinetic sculpture" would be roaming through thecrowd at the floating birthday party on September3, shaking hands with members of the audience,which official estimates place at 50,000 to100,000 people.
Bandit of Harvard
There will be a folk concert for 18,000 inTercentenary Theater two nights following the openparty, modelled after the legendary Club 47 wherefolk singer Rush got his start.
Rush is one of a number of 350th celebrationfolk singers who played at the former Mt. AuburnSt. club while beginning the professional circuit.Baez, who will perform in the 350th concert withRaitt and other folk singers, also played at Club47 before she became famous.
Rush gave a preview yesterday of his September5 appearance, performing the folk song "Bandit ofBrazil." Rush added some levity to the pressconference, explaining that the song he was aboutto perform came from "a movie you will never seeon TV, no matter how late it gets."
And for the Grand Finale...
The following night, Harvard, with the help ofWalker, will produce a stadium concert whichStephenson said about 25,000 will attend. Cronkitewill narrate the hour-and-a-half long program andLithgow will read poems by Ralph Waldo Emersonwhile colored smoke wafts through the stadium.
About 700 Harvard people will participate inthe celebration, three-quarters of whom will beHarvard students. The concert will feature theHarvard band, the Kuumba singers and the HastyPudding Theatricals Club. Jazz singer FionaAnderson '88 will perform with Don Braden's Jazzband, a student group, and with the Boston Pops.Concluding the gala event, fireworks will bedropped from a helicopter above the stadium.
While officials declined to give the exact costfor the stadium concert, they said that it wouldbe in the hundred thousands. Projected estimatesfor the main stage alone are about $50,000.
However, officials have said that they hope tomake the money back in ticket sales. Tickets,according to seating, cost $12.50, $25 or $175