Dear Heath family,
Please accept my condolences for the passing of a wonderful family member
and friend. Thank you too for sponsoring a way for us to reflect on
Fenno's contribution to so many families of blood, song, and spirit.
I shared some of the moments that other posters have recounted. As class
of '90 I remember the commissioning of Fenno's portrait and the picture of
it with three "back row altos" (who were every bit the menace Karen
Sherman implied). Fenno knew how to draw the best from us with his unique
brand of coaxing, wheedling, and faux-berating. I say "faux" because it
seemed in rehearsal, as passionate as he was, Fenno was incapable of
really getting angry, no matter what slings and arrows he faced: sopranos
with flying knitting needles; basses blundering headlong into the start of
"Chariot;" tenors wandering off key into outer space or, in my case,
bleating out the yodel; altos muttering in the back row. This was
especially true on Sunday mornings when the "choir for hire" stumbled into
Battell Chapel (or BATTell, as Fenno pronounced it), bleary-eyed, looking
miserable and sounding even worse. He would let us know all at once that
we were a sorry lot and that he cared about us immensely. And then he
would dust us off and propel us forward to musical offerings such as "A
Winter Prayer," and Randall Thompson's incomparable "Alleluia."
I must also say that Fenno could not have been Fenno without Georgia
Whitney, in her office perch at the back of Hendrie 201, or Carol, "Mrs.
Fenno," in her perch in the front row of the first balcony. Both of you
were so much more than that--thank you. Fenno was a blessing and his music
and memory will remain so.
F F Heath Jr. 12-30-1926 to 12-05-2008
About the blog:
Please feel free to share your memories with us about Fenno/Dad. Send your stories/memories to firstname.lastname@example.org 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