Dear Fenno, Carol, and Heath Family,
What do I remember? I remember Carol sitting at the back of Hendrie Hall, knitting, nodding her head with the music, and looking up every now and then. I remember Fenno waving his arms in front of us, a bi-weekly ritual to wake us from our post-prandial stupor, to inspire us to sound worthy of the pictures on those walls, the history in that room, the music itself. I joined the Glee Club in my senior year, 1991-1992, an quietly opinionated violinist who had never completely understood “choristers.” Why did I jump the orchestra ship to join the choir? Because of Fenno. It was his last year as music director of the YGC, and I knew even then that this was an opportunity to last a lifetime. Here was somebody whose light I wanted to shine on me. My emotional attachment to Yale is primarily through the songs of the Glee Club. My fondest memories of Yale are of learning to sing with a group, learning to be a musician with my voice, and Fenno has everything to do with that.
With Carol’s constant presence – whether in Hendrie Hall or not – and Fenno’s boundless energy and devotion to this organization and to each of us, they created an enormous family – of hundreds? thousands? – built around music, love, and affection. My consolation today in contemplating his passing, is that he has left to us his music on the page, in our hearts and in our minds. For anyone else that would be a cliché. Not for Fenno. And because this is the Glee Club, we can be sure that when our voices become strong, we will raise them joyfully.
Thank you, Fenno for giving so much of yourself to so many. Thank you, Heath Family, for sharing Fenno with us for so many years.
We are everlastingly grateful.