Wednesday, January 7, 2009

YALE GLEE CLUB at Grace Cathedral

The Yale Glee Club is singing at Grace Cathedral tonight at 7:30. Because of that I'm going to miss the Schola Cantorum's end of holiday season party at Sam Smith's place on Potrerro Hill.

I offered to put up one of the singers tonight, but I was late in making the offer. The Alumni Club also preferred hosts' taking a pair of students. I could have done that; but one would have had special accommodations in Dennis' Venetian room, and the other would have had to be content with a sleeping bag. When I first moved to San Francisco Memorial Day weekend in 1973, I hosted two members of the Yale Glee Club within ten days of my arrival. I think I gave one my bed, and the other a place on the sofa, then in the dining room.

I'll be interested to hear the Glee Club at Grace. It's not the easiest place to sing for all kinds of music-- superb for some things, and terrible for others because of the seven second reverberation. It also helps to sit near the front section of the pews.

The new sound system may make a difference too. After one of our Christmas Concerts with the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, I mentioned that several people had expressed their disappointment that the choir had been amplified from the gallery. It defeated the wonderful and subtle acoustics. Dr. Jeffrey Smith, our organist and choir director, hadn't known that it was amplified and thanked me for the feedback. While in the rear gallery, it's impossible to tell. Supposedly the sound technician was told not to use the sound system when the choir sings there. In fact, he almost never should.

Tonight's concert will bring back memories of Fenno Heath, my Glee Club Director, who died a few weeks ago on the anniversary of Mozart's death. I toured Latin America with him in 1968. Fenno had been the 'boy wonder' when in his early twenties he succeeded Marshall Bartholomew, who had been there for decades. Fenno would do the same. He was still fairly young when I sang under him. Fenno was the director when Yale became Co-ed in 1969 and made the immediate decision to bring women into the Glee Club.

Fenno awarded me the shared last tenor voice lesson scholarship my Freshman year, autumn of 1967. I thought I was bound for singing group glory. I was courted by all the a cappella groups my first few months at Yale; but I never became a Whiffenpoof. That's a very long story. (Part of it was told in my posting on 09/29/08, my late friend Stan Ziegler's birthday.) The Spizzwinks(?) were in San Francisco at the St. Francis Yacht Club just a year ago. I'll be going back to New Haven for the 95th Anniversary Reunion in early April, just before my birthday. Fenno had been a Spizzwink(?). The last time I saw him was at the 90th Anniversary Reunion five years ago.

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Titian in the Frari (Venezia)