Campus & Community

RiverSing rings in autumn

2 min read

Fall was grandly ushered in by local residents on Sunday (Sept. 21) with RiverSing, a unique arts festival along the Charles River in Boston and Cambridge.

Now in its fifth year, RiverSing is a collaboration between the Revels and the Charles River Conservancy, and is sponsored, in part, by Harvard’s Office of Community Affairs and Allston Development Group. Children’s activities, music, dancing, and communal singing on the banks of the Charles are all part of the celebration.

“This is just a great event and there’s lots of interesting people,” said Robin Guenzel of Cambridge as she watched her 3-year-old daughter, Katie, get her face painted pink with glitter at the pre-event kids’ activities at Winthrop Square.

“It’s so wonderful because people can make things and be a part of it. It’s very community-oriented,” said face-painter Su Eaton.

A Mardi Gras-like parade processed from Winthrop Square to the Weeks Footbridge, with festively costumed entertainers — some on stilts, others blowing bubbles into the crowd — led by a brass band to the Charles River.

Young and old picnicked and lounged on blankets on the banks of the Charles, while participating in a sing-along, which began with “This Land Is Your Land” and covered other crowd favorites, such as “Down By the Riverside,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and “Shenandoah.” Kayakers peacefully paddling along the river paused to listen to the surprise serenade.

Children danced with glee, mimicking the fluidity of the giant puppets, Oshun and Poseidon, who for the past several years have presided over the party. The two puppets swayed in the wind as if gently coaxing the crowd to keep singing.

The revelry attending the autumnal equinox ended at sunset with a LED light show playing over bridge and river. The last song of the evening was “River Hymn,” written specially for the event by composer George Emlen.