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Despite Stormy Weather, Concert Guests Share an Evening on Campus

St. John's University Library
Monday, August 7, 2017

A mid-summer thunderstorm was no match for St. John’s spirit on August 2 when more than 150 of the University’s most generous alumni chose to celebrate on the Queens campus despite the weather-related cancellation of a popular outdoor concert.

The threat of lightening forced the University to cancel its 19th Annual Summer Concert, featuring the Queens Symphony Orchestra. Sponsored by St. John’s Office of Community Relations with support from the Queens Borough President’s Office, Con Edison, and Astoria Bank, the event draws more than 1,000 guests to the Great Lawn every August.

This year’s cancellation became an opportunity for alumni and other guests to reconnect with St. John’s and each other. Rather than leaving, they gathered in St. John Hall’s classrooms, where the Office of Alumni Relations hosted a barbecue reception featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, and dessert. One scheduled performer, tenor Christopher Macchio, offered an impromptu performance of “Nessun dorma,” the aria from Puccini’s Turandot.

“The turn-out this evening says a lot about the spirit and enthusiasm of St. John’s alumni,” said Christian P. Vaupel, Ed.D., Vice President for Advancement and University Relations. “Even though we had to cancel a concert everyone was looking forward to, our graduates were pleased to get together and celebrate the bond they share.”

“I applaud the St. John’s alumni who turned out for this event—and who are spending the evening with us despite the weather,” said Joseph Sciame ’71Ed, Vice President for Community Relations. “This reflects what St. John’s is truly about—a spirit of sharing a time-honored tradition at the University.”

The Office of Community Relations at St. John’s hosts a full schedule of events each year that draws local residents to the Queens and Staten Island campuses. Programs include blood drives, a salute to Italian heritage and culture, and a “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk. The Office also engages in regular community meetings and activities.

Although they missed hearing the Queens Symphony Orchestra, alumni said they still enjoyed the evening. “This was well worth it,” said Stephen Maresca ’72CBA, a member of The McCallen Society. “I go to a lot of University events—it’s always an opportunity speak with other alumni, to catch up, and just enjoy good company.”

“I love it,” said Anna Maria Montuori ’68Ed, ‘70GEd, ’82PD., a member of The McCallen Society who serves as an advisor to The School of Education. “St. John’s University is a very special place. Whenever I can come back to campus, to meet with friends from years ago, I’m here. This is home.”