Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra?

The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, a.k.a. “America’s orchestra,” is the most recorded and arguably the most beloved orchestra in the country. Celebrating its 138th anniversary season in 2023, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra has a remarkable history that began with its founding in 1885. Four years earlier, Civil War veteran Henry Lee Higginson founded the Boston Symphony Orchestra. From the start he intended to present concerts of light classics and the popular music of the day. The “Promenade Concerts,” as they were originally called, were soon informally known as “Popular Concerts,” which eventually became shortened to “Pops,” the name officially adopted in 1900. The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, under the direction of maestro Keith Lockhart, who is in his 29th season helming the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, play “everything from jazz to pop, rock to big band, film music to the Great American songbook, and Broadway to classical.”

What is Pops on the Heights and where is it held?

The annual Boston College Pops on the Heights: the Barbara and Jim Cleary Scholarship Gala is a celebrated tradition at BC. Always featuring a spectacular line-up of musical performances and so much more, Pops on the Heights embodies the shared sense of purpose that defines scholarship support at Boston College and that shapes the future of hundreds of Eagles each year. 

Thanks to the generosity of so many, Boston College remains need blind in admissions and able to meet the full demonstrated need of undergraduate applicants—Eagles who want to use their talents in the service of others.

Since 1993, Pops on the Heights has raised more than $130 million for financial aid, helping more than 3,500 students pursue their dream of a BC education.

Pops on the Heights takes place in Conte Forum—home of BC basketball and hockey— during BC’s Family Weekend on the Boston College campus in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Who are Barbara and Jim Cleary?
Deeply passionate about philanthropy, higher education, and the arts, the late Barbara and James F. Cleary ’50, H’93, founded the annual Pops on the Heights BC scholarship gala in 1993. Jim—a BC Trustee and founder of the Fides and President’s Circle annual giving societies—and Barbara worked tirelessly to help grow the event to become the University’s largest annual fundraiser. Today, Jim and Barbara’s children (Kara ’84, MA’91; Kristin ’89, JD’93; and Jim Jr.) continue their legacy as Pops benefactors.

In honor of the Clearys, BC has since established the annual James F. Cleary ‘50, H’93, Masters Award, which is given to a fundraising volunteer who exemplifies creativity, dedication, and leadership.

Individual Tickets

How do I buy tickets?

Due to the incredible support of the Boston College community, this year’s gala on Friday, September 29, is sold out. If you would like to join our waitlist, please fill out this form with your name, contact information, and ticket details. If seats do become available we will contact you based upon the waitlist registration order and desired ticket level.

Is the ticket tax-deductible?

A portion of the ticket price is for student scholarship and tax-deductible. Please see below:

Seat Type

Ticket Price

Tax Deductible 










Premier Loge



Boston College will send tax receipts within four weeks after your ticket order is placed. Most donor-advised funds and many private foundations state that as a condition of their gift, no benefit can accrue to the person recommending the gift.

Tickets just went on sale, but it looks like a number of them have already been sold.

Some seats are held aside for BC student groups and a limited number of advance sale tickets are offered to members of the Parent Leadership Council.

I’ve purchased e-tickets, but I don’t see my confirmation email. Where is it?

Your order confirmation email will be sent by, not a email address, so it may be in your spam/promotions folder.

Can I download my tickets and print them at home?

Yes. Your confirmation email will have an option to download your e-tickets. After the download is complete, you may print them and bring them to the event.

If I purchase tickets and later find I cannot attend the event, can I get a refund?

There are no refunds on tickets. Pops on the Heights is an important philanthropic event which funds need-based student scholarships. If you are no longer able to attend and would like to convert your ticket purchase to a tax-deductible donation, please contact by September 15, 2023.

Do I purchase a ticket for my BC student?

Yes, BC students who choose to attend are required to purchase full-price tickets. We are not able to add additional tickets to your seat location once the purchase is complete.

Am I able to resell my tickets?

We do not endorse or condone the reselling of tickets. Please be very cautious if someone offers to sell you a ticket. It may be an unauthorized copy.

Can I transfer tickets to a member of my family or party, such as my son or daughter?

Yes. You may print tickets and give them to someone you know or send them a mobile version. Please note that the unique bar code on each ticket allows only one entry per ticket to the event. The first copy of an e-ticket to arrive at the event will gain entry after scanning and validation. Other copies of the ticket will be denied entry.

Is ADA-accessible seating available?

Yes, we have a limited number of wheelchair accessible and companion seats available. For more information, please call the Pops Ticket Office at 1-800-767-5591 with any questions. ADA parking is available with a state-issued disability license plate or disability placard.

Where can I park?

Free on-campus parking is available in the Commonwealth Avenue Garage, as well as on the Newton campus. Shuttle buses will provide transportation to and from the Newton campus. 

During Family Weekend and the Pops on the Heights event, Boston College welcomes more than 2,000 families to campus. Please allow extra time.

When do the doors open? When does the concert start and end?

Conte Forum will be open to the public starting at 6 p.m. You must have a ticket to enter. There will be pre-show performances on stage beginning at 6:45 p.m. The official program begins at 8 p.m. It ends at approximately 10 p.m.

What kind of food and drink are served?

Ticket holders can expect a gourmet picnic-style dinner with a hearty sandwich and dessert at their seat when they arrive. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available by exchanging your meal at the Pops Box Office or our information tables located on the concourse at each entrance. Complimentary bottled water is available in coolers stationed along the walkway. Bars serving complimentary beer, wine, and soda are located on the concourse and open at 6 p.m. and close promptly at 7:45 p.m. These reopen during intermission.

What is the dress code?

Pops on the Heights is a business casual event, however many attendees choose to dress in business attire and cocktail dresses. Jackets and ties are optional.

Benefactor Tables

I have purchased a table. Do I also need to buy individual tickets?

No, you do not need to purchase individual tickets in addition to your table.

Can I pay for my table using a donor-advised fund (DAF)?

Many DAFs have specific guidelines regarding grants to support charitable events such as Pops on the Heights. Please consult your fund’s custodian should you have any questions.

Where can I park?

Each table benefactor is allotted one VIP parking spot in the lot next to the Connell Recreation Center, which can be accessed via the Commonwealth Avenue entrance to campus with the appropriate parking pass.

For table guests, each table benefactor will receive parking passes for the Beacon Street Garage, which can be accessed via the Beacon Street entrance to campus. The parking pass is required for entry.

When do the doors open?

The VIP reception begins at 6 p.m. and is located at Alumni Stadium, Gate D. Guests will be asked to move from the reception to their table in Conte Forum at 7:30 p.m.

When does the concert start? When does the concert end?

Pre-show performances begin on stage at 6:45 p.m., before the official program. The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra will begin playing at 8 p.m. and will finish around 10 p.m.

When will I receive my tickets?

Tickets and parking passes for you and all of your guests will be sent to you via FedEx the week before the event. If you have a special mailing request, please contact us at

What is the dress code?

While there is no dress code for the event, we suggest festive business or cocktail attire.

What kind of food is served?

BC Dining serves an award-winning picnic-style dinner at your table. Prior to the concert there will be plenty of tasty hors d’oeuvres at the VIP reception. Please notify your server of any dietary restrictions.

When do the bars open and what do they serve?

Full bars in the VIP reception area open at 6 p.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. The two bars on either side of the Conte Forum floor and the Mezzanine bars are open from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. and during intermission. Each table has complimentary bottles of red and white wine.

Where can I learn more about becoming a Table Benefactor?

For more information, visit

Don’t see your question? Email