Dear Fenno, Carol, and the Heaths,
Where to start? It's fair to say that you, Fenno, are personally responsible for our 20 years of couplehood, 15 years of marriage, and two wonderful (and musical!) children. We met in the Freshman Chorus, grew to be friends in the Glee Club, and started dating during our senior year, when we served as President and Business Manager. (As we recall, you were more or less clueless about our romantic relationship, though Georgia Whitney sussed it out early on....) As you always loved to say, "the best friendships are made through singing," and we couldn't agree more.
We of course have special musical memories from our YGC years -- beautiful Heath originals like "Fern Hill," spirited renditions of the football medley, thrilling spirituals with great soloists like Sonya and Dave, sublime choral classics from Bach to Bruckner to Berlioz. And then there are those quirky, memorable moments from rehearsals, concerts, tours -- your gleeful gestures at a sudden modulation, your perfect balance of withering disdain (when we stunk) and heartfelt gratitude (when we soared), your remarkable ability to conduct with your eyeglasses. It was a particular pleasure to work with you as part of the officer corps, to see how deeply you cared about the YGC, its members, and its history.
But perhaps our most treasured experience with you came when you graciously agreed to conduct the chorus at our wedding in 1993. When we first approached you with the idea, you eagerly accepted, declaring that our ceremony sounded a lot like your daughters': "a concert, with a little wedding on the side." You conducted the Durufle "Ubi caritas" and your own setting of 1 Corinthians 13, "The Greatest of These Is Love." We'd assembled an all-star chorus for you, made up of friends from high school, Yale, and New York, including soloists from YGC, the Whiffs, the Alley Cats, and the Metropolitan Opera. The combination of their voices, your conducting, and your amazing music was by far the highlight of the ceremony -- a breathtaking way to begin our marriage. We also remember how touched we and the singers were when, after the rehearsal run-through of the Corinthians piece (the first time this particular group had ever sung together), you dropped your hands, smiled, and announced, "Well, that's just about how I wrote it." We could imagine no higher compliment from a composer.
We've loved seeing you and Carol occasionally over the last few years, and we regret that we weren't able to see you more often. As we sing with Sam and Ellie, we think of you, and we remain ever thankful that we walked up the stairs in Hendrie Hall those many years ago. It was a rare privilege singing with you and knowing you, and you will always be with us.
Juliette and Jeff Hyson '89
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