No one ever asked, "Fenno who?" He was the first one-name major figure in my life, beating the one-named sports stars of recent vintage by decades.
His generosity—so many accounts of what he gave to us are on this web site. When in 1996 classmate Alex Gunn and I asked if he would be willing to lead a March weekend choral festival in Boston, his "yes" came out before the echo of our question faded. And what a job he did with us, usually with a new composition tucked under his arm, until 2004, when the weekend's strenuous nature forced him to pass his baton to Jeff Douma. Needless to say, the Festival Fenno began lives on. Next March we'll feature at least one of his works.
Another instance: a decade or so ago the men's chorus with which I had been singing seemed to have leveled off in its musical development and showmanship. Was it us? Had we gone about as far as our talents could take us, or had we outgrown the director who had led us for five years. I invited Fenno to Boston to lead part of a rehearsal, to take us through several songs—"Motherless Child," as I recall, and a couple of others. In ten minutes, Fenno had drawn out of us sounds we had never made before. We made music that night that some of us thought we were incapable of—and we hired a new director three months later.
Last Friday the a cappella group spun out of that chorus ended a well-attended concert with Fenno's arrangement of "September Song" in his honor. A couple of us had trouble getting through its lyrics.
With incalculable gratitude,
Linus Travers '58