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Pops on the Heights 2013 A Night to Remember

Boston College Trustee John Fish, co-chair of the Pops on the Heights event, looks on as Monica Macheca ’16 introduces a video about the Pops Scholarships. (Photo by Caitlin Cunningham)

By Morgan Healey, Class of 2013 | Special to the Chronicle

Published: Sept. 30, 2013

There is no denying the effect great performances can have on an audience, and Friday night’s “Pops on the Heights” performances were nothing short of riveting for the 8,000 parents, students and alumni who returned to campus on Parents’ Weekend to partake in the Barbara and Jim Cleary Scholarship Gala.

Since 1993, the music of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra has rung loudly throughout Conte Forum in support of scholarships for BC students. The event is, most notably, a celebration on behalf of BC’s Pops Scholars.  As a result of funds raised each year, approximately 120 scholarships are awarded to students with financial need.

The Boston Pops, under the direction of Keith Lockhart, delighted the crowd with selections ranging from Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo” to Abba’s “Dancing Queen.”  Singer Katharine McPhee gave a stellar performance, charming the crowd with pop hits including Rihanna’s “Stay” and King of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” and singing with a voice that was perfectly complementary to the orchestra.  This year’s Pops also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the University Chorale, which sang a number of well-received selections under the direction of both Keith Lockhart and BC’s own John Finney.

Boston College Trustee and event co-chairman John Fish offered a heartfelt speech in which he shared his personal experiences and affiliation with BC.

“There really is something special going on here,” said Fish. “Boston College is a wonderful place with a lot of heart, and that has never been clearer than on nights like tonight. This is why we do what we do…to see our students excel, and to give them a chance to be a part of one of the greatest universities in the country, BC.” 

After his introduction, the crowd enjoyed a video that showcased recent scholarship recipients and the effect the scholarships have had on their BC experience.

“I am just so thankful to be a recipient of a Pops Scholarship,” said Anxhela Mile, a member of the Class of 2017. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to attend a school like BC, and look forward to a bright future ahead.”

The evening closed with BC’s beloved fight song “For Boston” and John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” amid a shower of maroon and gold balloons and to the delight of the audience. 

Prior to the event, Senior Vice President of University Advancement Jim Husson spoke of the importance Pops on the Heights plays in assisting students at Boston College. “It is a gratifying event each year, and really brings benefactors together to do what they always love to do, which is to support students, and carry on our mission.”

“The event is terrific—always terrific,” said Vin Quealy ’75, president of the Boston College Alumni Association, who noted that the event is the result of continued support from faithful alumni and parents. “This night, right here, is really what it is all about. This is why we do what we do, to see the efforts in action, and really realize the benefit our work is having on the students we serve.”

“There is something that fundamentally unites us,” said Fish. “We are proud of our mission, and with every event, and every effort we make, we always stay true to the tried and true, few but powerful words: ‘Ever to Excel.’”