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Around Campus

Bubbling Over

The next few days will be pretty busy for Boston College student musicians. Many will take part in the University’s annual Arts Festival, which kicks off today and runs through Saturday [www.bc.edu/artsfestival]. But some 30 BC acts also will perform Saturday at one of Boston’s more desirable locations for up-and-coming musicians looking for some stage experience and public exposure: Faneuil Hall.

In fact, Saturday’s event – titled “Break the Bubble” – is legitimately billed as “a BC music festival,” according to co-organizer John Guzzi ’15, president of the Music Guild, an organizational and networking group for BC musicians founded in 1981. Where in recent years BC has held smaller-scale events through Faneuil Hall’s street performer program, this festival – which runs from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. – will take place in two performance areas, ensuring some significant visibility for the student musicians.

“It’s pretty unusual for one college to get a showcase like this at Faneuil Hall. This is a great opportunity to highlight the phenomenal musical talent in the BC community,” says the guitar-playing Guzzi, a Fairfield, Ct., native majoring in biology with a minor in philosophy.

“We feel it’s important that the creativity here not be marginalized outside BC. That’s why we call this festival ‘Break the Bubble’: We want BC musicians to go beyond the campus environment, so that people can see what a vibrant and exciting music scene BC has.”

The line-up for “Break the Bubble” represents a range of genres and styles: “garage rockers, rappers, singer-songwriters, dorm room jammers” and more, says Guzzi, who will be in concert with the band Infidel Castro. [Guzzi and his band mates discussed the group’s origins, including its name, in an interview with The Gavel, at http://bit.ly/1GxJD4J.]

“Students here come from a lot of musical backgrounds and interests – not just rock or pop, but classical, jazz, many others,” he says. “What’s great is everyone knows everyone else, and gets together for music events and activities, like coffeehouses, or the ‘Battle of the Bands,’ or our volunteer trips to the Franciscan Hospital for Children. And, of course, they also like to just hang out and jam.

“When we first spread the word about the festival a few months ago, a lot of bands formed specifically to be part of it. Something like this gets you interested to hear what other people play, and inspires you to come up with ideas for collaborating.”

Although the performers in “Break the Bubble” will be primarily undergraduates, also appearing will be BC alumni band The Novel Ideas. The country rock quintet, whose members are from the Class of 2012, has toured nationally, released one album and is working on another.

“It’s good for the student musicians to be around a band that is out there making a living and can offer insights on what it takes to succeed,” says Guzzi. “We see this as part of what the Music Guild can do – obviously, we want everyone to have fun with music, but they can also have some learning experiences, too.”

For more about “Break the Bubble” and the Music Guild, see www.bc.edu/musicguild.

–Sean Smith

Jobs Well Done

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University President William P. Leahy, SJ, greeted, and raised a toast to, Boston College employees for their hard work this past winter, at a special reception held last week. (Photos by Lee Pellegrini)

For the employees who keep Boston College operating, this past winter was one for the memories, filled with overnight stays, double shifts and challenging conditions amidst a record snowfall. For the administration that runs the University, the effort and dedication shown by those employees was not to be forgotten either.

So last week, BC threw a special “Wicked Winter” reception in the Shea Room of Conte Forum to show its appreciation for the staff of Facilities Services, Dining Services, BC Police, Auxiliary Services, Health Services, Athletic Maintenance, Student Affairs, Emergency Management and other departments and offices that helped BC through the early months of 2015.

Those who attended the reception received a knit winter cap embroidered with a BC logo and a “Wicked Winter 2015” logo.
University President William P. Leahy, SJ, was among BC senior administrators attending the event to offer praise and thanks to the employees.

 “It was a great team effort,” said Vice President of Facilities Management Dan Bourque. “We missed four days of class and had one late start, but if you look around the city and the conditions that people were dealing with, we were in much better shape. Our employees went above and beyond to do such a great job.”

Keeping up the University’s administrative, service and infrastructure operations was a supreme challenge: equipment that needed tending to, meals that needed to be cooked, street and sidewalks that needed to be cleared. If the employees didn’t get it done, said administrators, there was nowhere else to turn.

“When there’s a snow emergency, you can actually stay home and still get paid for the day,” says Lois Kass, a first cook at the Stuart Hall Dining Room. “But we still had people who came to work because on Newton Campus, the shuttle buses were shut down and there was nowhere to go. It was like being on an island.  So a lot of us felt it was really important to make it into work to make sure the students were fed. It’s nice to be acknowledged for that.”

BC threw a similar party a few years ago after another challenging winter, but the unforgettable 2015 edition will long be remembered by those who had to work through it -– and so will the gratitude shown them by the University.

“I think it holds true to everything that Boston College encompasses: community, a sense of what we do for each other, the worth of the students and the safety of the students,” said Mark Dalton of Facilities Services. “It’s all encompassing, from Fr. Leahy down to the guy that salts the sidewalk. We have a great crew and great managers that allow us to do our job and we get it done.” 

Ken Howland, a plumbing foreman in Facilities Services, said long shifts, fatigue and burnout were issues he and his men faced, and to be thanked was a worthy reward: “It’s really nice to be recognized. It’s good for the crew, it’s good for morale.”

“This celebration was really nice of BC,” said Debbie Brown, a cashier at Stuart Hall. “I’m really surprised because usually we do it and there’s a ‘thank-you’ from our managers but nothing school-wide. This is nice, and nicer that it came from high above.”
“I appreciate it,” said Associate Director of Technical Services Joe Ducie. “The University is acknowledging everyone’s hard work.”

“A pat on the back goes a long way,” said Michael Franks, a head mechanic in Facilities Services.

-Sean Hennessey