Summer Activities

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 Director of Harvard University Band and Wind Ensemble Mark Olson, is open 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.

If you think you'd like to join the band this summer, please register. For questions or more information, please call (617) 496-BAND (2263), see the Harvard Summer Pops Band website, or e-mail meolson@fas.harvard.edu.

Harvard Summer Chorus

The chorus, founded in 1936, is led by Andrew Clark, Harvard University’s Director of Choral Activities. The ensemble is open by audition to Harvard Summer School students and Greater Boston community singers. The Summer Chorus performs masterworks each year with a professional orchestra and soloists in Sanders Theatre. Visit the Harvard Summer Chorus Facebook page or e-mail summerchorus@hcs.harvard.edu for more information.

Harvard Summer School Orchestra

The Harvard Summer School Orchestra is currently in its thirtieth 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. 

For more information, please contact Judy Zuckerman at hsso@verizon.net.

Summer Servers

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 on 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.

Around Boston

In addition to Harvard libraries and museums, the city of Boston, across the Charles River, has many cultural, historic, and scientific institutions to explore. 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.

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 on Opening Weekend. You can sign up for these activities at the fair or in the Activities Office throughout the summer.

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