Monday, December 8, 2008

Fenno Heath R.I.P.

Fenno.  For decades, his name was synonymous with choral and small group singing at my alma mater, and last week Fenno passed, but will never be forgotten like the rest.....

Fenno blazed the trail for decades of us songsters at Yale.  I came up through the singing group ranks as he did---Yale Freshman Chorus, Yale Glee Club, and the Whiffenpoofs.  But the similarities more or less ended there---Fenno touched hundreds, thousands of lives, through his musicianship, love of song, devotion to Yale, and ubiquity among anyone and everyone whose Yale career was brightened by song.

Fenno was quintessential Yale for a suburban midwestern boy like me who was lucky enough to come East for college.  Accomplished, masterful, with a quick, tart wit, his Yale pedigree must have been conferred at birth; from my very first encounter with him during my sophomore year, he appeared to have sprung from the Ivy, fully formed.  Formidable and somewhat frightening to a green undergrad, Fenno also had an irreverence and naughtiness that manifested quietly but clearly after a few cocktails during post-concert afterglows.

My dearest friendships were made and cemented in those rehearsal rooms under Fenno's direction.  And I would see him during concerts and alumni gatherings over the years.  He won't be there to lead us at the Whiff 100th celebration next fall, but there won't be a person there who won't be thinking of him with affection.  

Bulldog, bulldog, Eli Yale.  Thank you, Fenno.

No comments:

Post a Comment