Montrose Celebrates 40th Anniversary in Style in Boston Gala Event

Jenn Uche '22, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

Imagine being hundreds of feet high in one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. There’s an incredible view of the city right at your feet in the front of Boston’s magnificent clock tower on the Custom House, giving the night a wonderful shine.

March 7, Montrose held its 40th Anniversary Gala at the State Room in Boston. One word to describe it: elegant, fun, tearful, filled-with-smiles. Okay, that’s not one word. 

Once the sun had fallen behind the buildings and only the spotlights on the dance floor illuminated the room, I knew this was probably the fanciest place I’d ever go to as a high schooler. You hear it all — the chatter and laughter of current teachers, family, alumnae, retired teachers, and friends. The chinks of glasses, the smiling faces, strums of the guitar, the hums of the saxophone, the bang bang bang of the drums– jazzy music floating through the air, filling spirits.

I performed at the Gala, along with three other Montrosians: Andrea Rodriguez-Gomez ‘21, Emily Nelson ‘20, and Sarah Ling ‘20. We were in the good company of other volunteer students from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes.

The night started off with words from Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who spoke kindly of Father Dick, our chaplain emeritus who passed away last December. Following was a beautiful video in his memory, which included students and alumnae telling their personal stories and memories of Father Dick. Tears glistened countless faces that added a solemn glimmer for a touching moment early in the evening.

Andrea  started off the first performance with the negro spiritual “My Lord, What a Morning.” Andrea explained the research paper she wrote last month about Marian Anderson, an African American vocal genius who was denied singing on the stage of a great concert hall because of segregation and racism. The crowd moved to the Lincoln Memorial where she sang “My Country “Tis of Thee.” An incredible event in music history.

Andrea’s song immediately followed with overwhelming applause. I heard many in the crowds saying: “I’ve never heard of something so beautiful!” and “So talented!” Andrea is indeed a talented member of the Montrose Chorus and a mass cantor, and anyone who hears her sing knows can attest.

There was plenty of food to go around for the guests as well as raffle ticket sales. However, soon after, I was up next to perform my Lions Club competition speech on the topic “What is Heroism?” To say I was stressed out would be a ridiculous understatement. I thought my heart was beating so hard it would jump onto the band’s drum set. I decided, with Head of School Dr. Bohlin and Director of Development & Alumnae Relations Ms Lashmit, that I would wear a little mic attached to my dress, allowing me to walk around during the performance. Ignoring the little voice in my head telling me to run away, I walked onto the dance floor and started the speech: “I think it’s time we sort the difference between heroes and some guy who did a pretty cool thing.”

It went better than I thought. One of the most memorable parts of the night were the people who said my speech touched them and had them tearing up. I tried not to start bawling. But those golden moments– where others told me about themselves after I told them about me– those are the moments I will remember forever.

Most of the night for me was a blur of drinking Shirley Temples, resting my screaming feet (heels do that, wow), and handing out favors to the guests.

Later in the evening,  I got to see the wonderful performances of Emily Nelson ‘20 and Sarah Ling ‘20. Emily sang “Rise Up” by Andra Day, accompanied by Sarah on the piano. Of course, it was followed by thunderous applause and more astonished comments for the talented duo.

The night truly was stunning and something to really remember in Montrose’s history.