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December 10, 2008

Former Glee Club director dies

Yale Daily News:

Fenno Heath ’50 MUS ’52, director of the Yale Glee Club from 1953-1992, passed away Friday evening at the age of 81. His family did not wish to release the cause of death. One of only seven Glee Club conductors ever, he devoted 39 years to the chorus and played a vital role in the a cappella community on campus.

“Fenno made so much music, with so many people, for so many years, and anyone who ever sang with Fenno became a much richer person for it,” said Jeffrey Brenzel ’75, the dean of undergraduate admissions.

Heath was a leader to singers all over the world, and an inspiration in his own home. “He was our encyclopedia, our dictionary, our movie critic, our connection to the Arts world, our literary scholar, and our rock, as he would give anyone in his family, his beloved wife Carol, his 6 children, and his 6 grandchildren, the shirt off his back,” daughter Peggy Heath Ogilvy wrote in an email to the News Tuesday night. “He was the family patriarch.”

Heath majored in music as a Yale undergraduate, singing in the Yale Freshman Chorus, the Apollo Glee Club, the Yale Glee Club and the Spizzwinks(?). During his senior year, he served as conductor of the Whiffenpoofs. Heath continued his musical pursuits at the Yale School of Music immediately after graduating from Yale. It was during this time that he became the conductor of the Apollo Glee Club.

One year after graduating from the School of Music, Heath became the conductor of the Yale Glee Club. In 1969, when women were first admitted to Yale, Heath took a progressive stand by admitting females to the chorus the following year. “When the history of music at Yale is recorded, a special chapter will be devoted to the legacy of Fenno Heath,” said School of Music Dean Robert Blocker. “As director of the Yale Glee Club, he explored new musical frontiers — from international tours to football concerts, from his own compositions for the Glee Club to his performances of major works in the literature.” Read more.

Posted by acapnews at December 10, 2008 10:30 PM

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