To The Heath Family:
I was an early teen ager in the mid 50's when my father (Harvard '39) announced that the family was going to New Haven for the Harvard-Yale football game (notice I said Harvard-Yale). We were to overnight at some out of town motel on Friday and Saturday, and then I was informed that we were all going to the Harvard-Yale Glee Club concert on Friday night.
As the concert started, the Harvard Glee Club sang first. I was a newly self-discoverd singer and lover of classical music, so this was a new, eye-opening treat for me.
I thought the Harvard Glee Club sang beautifully. "How could anyone sing better than that", I mused as the Yale Glee Club entered on stage. Of course, there was an underlying competitive spirit within as I was preparing to go to the Yale Bowl the next day and scream for Harvard.
Well, a funny thing happend. I saw this guy named Heath rise to the podium and embark on a selection of anthems and songs and I was totally spell-bound. I remember feeling that I was being taken into "another place". I could not help thinking (as hard as I tried not to) that this chorus was better than Harvard's. I kept trying trying to suppress the thought, but I was swept into that other world to which only good music could take you. And to top it off, Yale sang without music, Harvard sang with music! I began to realize that Yale had defeated Harvard, at least on that Friday night.
I had the pleasure of watching Fenno conduct numerous times after that, almost always in those memorable Friday concerts.It pushed me towards allocating much of my time into singing (and some conducting).
And, 2 years ago, I sort of came full circle after 50 years and joined the Yale (ahem, that's correct, Yale) Alumni Chorus on their tour of the Netherlands and their Beethoven 9th concert with Maestro Gergiev.
After my first memorable experience that Friday in New Haven, even during my undergraduate years at Harvard, I always had a little sense of comparative inferiority when I was listening to the Yale Glee Club.
But I still point towards that first concert in New Haven where the Yale Glee Club beat Harvard and turned me on to a life of such immense pleasure. I will never forget it.
God bless him.
Tim Russell '66