A MEMORIAL SERVICE WAS HELD ON SAT. MARCH 28TH, 2009 AT BATTELL CHAPEL, Yale University, at 3:00pm. All were cordially invited. Over 800 in attendance! DVD available through the Yale Glee Club office.

Service details: Tom Murray, University Organist, started the prelude 20 minutes before the 3 p.m. service began. There were performances by The Yale Glee Club, The Yale Alumni Chorus, The Whiffenpoofs of 2009, The SLOT's, and The University Glee Club of New Haven. A magnificent, and humbling, tribute.

Contributions in memory of Fenno may be sent to the
North Congregational Church P.O. Box 307 New Hartford CT 06057.

Condolences may be sent directly to the family (Carol, Sarah, Lucy, Peggy, Terry) at pogilvy@comcast.net

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F F Heath Jr. 12-30-1926 to 12-05-2008

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Please feel free to share your memories with us about Fenno/Dad. Send your stories/memories to pogilvy@comcast.net and we will gladly post your letter, unless you indicate otherwise.

Thank you. Your letters bring us joy.


~Carol, Sarah, Lucy, Peggy, and Terry Heath

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wonderful Gift

Our hearts are heavy to hear about Fenno, but glad to know he will be able to say goodbye in such a warm and loving way. As usual, your family has a wonderful understanding of how to face transition with grace, dignity, and celebration.


The word “worship” isn’t an exaggeration to describe the deep respect I feel for Fenno.  He took a chance on me when he accepted me into the Glee Club my sophomore year of college, 1990, even though I bombed my audition. I had spent a year with friends from the singing group Out of the Blue building up my image of him as something akin to a musical Zeus: a grand father figure, all-knowledgeable and all-powerful, terrible when angered but gloriously radiant when pleased, and most amazingly, able to eke professional music from the throats of young singers.   So when I walked in the door to meet him I could barely squeak out my name, let alone a note. My sight-reading was terrible. My pitch went kerflooey. I couldn’t remember a note he played when he asked me to sing them back to him. There was no way I should have even been considered.  My then-boyfriend, Jay Cowles, did far better and was accepted immediately.  Rightly, I was not.


But luckily for me, within the week, my singing group gave a concert for the Glee Club which he attended. We performed a complicated, long arrangement by former OOTB pitch and Glee Club student director Eric Banks, and I sang my heart out for Fenno to prove, no, really, I was a good singer, even if I would never be in the Glee Club. And he heard!  The next day our pitch received a call from him inviting me to join the Glee Club, and I’ve been grateful ever since.  With the Glee Club and the Alumni Chorus, I’ve had experiences I never thought I could have – singing with some of the world’s great orchestras and conductors, traveling through the country and the world, sharing musical memories and building friendships with people of all ages and backgrounds.  I had never sung classical music before that point, and it was a wonder placed before me; the huge breadth of sounds and emotions that can be evoked through this medium still astounds me now.


It was an enormous pleasure and honor to sing and work with him in his last two years at Yale.  I’ve had many proud moments in my life, but really, some of the purest moments of pride and happiness I can conjure in memory are those last moments of a Glee Club concert, while Fenno’s hands were still raised, as we sang out our extended “Eli Yale!” at the end of the football medley.   We had done a wonderful job, we had made beautiful music, we had made our audience happy, and we had made Fenno happy. At the end of the long, held note, his hands would snap to his side, and he’d give us a small smile of satisfaction. 


I cannot rave about Fenno without also saying that watching his tender affection and respectful relationship with Carol Heath made a strong impression upon me. They always seemed to enjoy one another and support one another in a way that it seems to me a couple should do.  I married Jay - that charming Glee Club boyfriend of mine - in 1995, and we’ve tried to enjoy one another with just as much zest and appreciation.  We can’t sing a duet as well as Carol and Fenno, unfortunately – I’m an Alto II and Jay’s a Tenor I, so in the end we have the same range.  Bad planning, there.


Should any member of the Heath family be in Austin, Texas, where I now reside, there’s a seat in the newly finished music and performance hall, The Long Center, that was dedicated to Fenno by me and my husband. We’ll be happy to find a way to show it to you.  But the more important tribute to his affect on our lives happens in the evenings, when we sing to our children, now 5 and 7 years old – we often sing songs we learned under Fenno to them. One favorite is his setting of The Lamb, by William Blake, which we vividly remember singing with the Glee Club and hearing his daughters sing in tribute to him in Commons one evening; there’s so much parental love encased in that gentle melody.  We hope we pass on this love of performing vocal music to our children, as he so intensified our own.


Thank you for letting us send our thoughts at this time – it’s a gift to all of us to say goodbye while we still can. Our prayers and warm thoughts go out to all of your families.


Katelena (Kati) Hernandez Cowles, Class of 1993


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