As you may recall, I am not a person of few words, and yet I am left nearly speechless (nearly!!) as I think of how to express my deep gratitude to you for all you have given to me and to my generation of Yale singers. But there is one memory that stands out for me – my first concert for Parents Weekend, October 1983. I had joined the Glee Club late, with extreme gratitude after being left off the original selection list, but with extreme trepidation, because I had most likely been left off the list due to my pitiful (read, non-existent) sight-reading ability. I then found out, to my utter shock and humiliation, that the Glee Club sang both mixed and memorized. But Fenno, that was my salvation – I ended up learning to hear the alto line even if I couldn't "see" it in the music (it helped to have Rachel Monfredo Gee, and later Karen Sherman, Liz Miller and the other fabulous altos to buoy me up!). And I had to watch you rather than bury my face in the music, which was a most galvanizing experience, as you managed to conduct with every part of your body (s ee the comments of Deborah Miles Czech), especially your luminous eyes.
That October evening, I faced yet another Glee Club challenge – on stage at Woolsey Hall, I was placed in the front row (and, as I recall, in that horrible black polyester gown!), and I thought, that's it, I'm a goner. But with the billowing sound of the chorus behind me, the altos strong and clear, and nothing (save the piano) between me and your indescribable conducting, channeling our energy and sending it back to us, guiding us and bringing us together, I found myself transported, and I remain transported every time I hear our music, sing it at reunions, or simply recall it, as I am doing right now, in my home in New York City.
'Nuf said. With all my love to you, and to your wonderful family.
Back Row Alto
F F Heath Jr. 12-30-1926 to 12-05-2008
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Thank you. Your letters bring us joy.
~Carol, Sarah, Lucy, Peggy, and Terry Heath