This year, Broadway, movie, and television star Kristin Chenoweth will grace the stage in Boston College’s Conte Forum as the guest performer at the 2016 Pops on the Heights: The Barbara and Jim Cleary Scholarship Gala.
Chenoweth has appeared on the Emmy Award-winning TV show Glee and the Broadway play Wicked. She won a Tony Award in 1999 for her performance in He’s a Good Man, Charlie Brown and an Emmy Award in 2009 for her performance on Glee. She has been nominated for various other awards, including a People’s Choice Award and Screen Actors Guild Award.
Alumni Relations worked closely with the director of the Pops, Keith Lockhart, to select Chenoweth, said Joy Moore, associate vice president for Alumni Relations. The guest performer, she said, must be someone who can work well with the orchestra. The Pops usually gives Alumni Relations a few suggestions, and then the group selects a performer based on its budget and its audience. Last year, the guest performers were Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill.
“We want to make it something that the parents, of course, are going to enjoy,” she said. “We want to be sure it’s someone who’s going to appeal to a wide audience.”
Chenoweth has the talent that they were looking for as well as a passion for community service, Moore said. Chenoweth currently has a charity partnership with the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center (BA PAC) Foundation in her hometown in Oklahoma. In 2012, the center renamed the theater after Chenoweth to celebrate her dedication to educational outreach and serving as a role model to students.
“We want someone with personality—someone who does things in the community outside of the professional world, because we have very strong values and missions around service at BC,” Moore said.
For the second year in a row, there will also be a surprise student performer at the concert, Moore said. Alumni Relations, along with Sing It to the Heights in Student Activities, held auditions to select the student performer this past spring, following the Sing it to the Heights competition.
This will be the 24th annual Pops on the Heights. Barbara and Jim Cleary, BC ’50, founded the gala in 1993 as a way to raise money for student scholarships. It is now the University’s largest annual fundraiser, raising $22 million in 2015 to fund around 800 scholarships.
Tickets for the Pops concert went on sale June 8 and are almost sold out.
“People are responding with great enthusiasm,” Moore said.
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