Fenno Follansbee Heath Jr., 81, beloved husband and father, passed away peacefully December 5, 2008 at his home in Hamden, CT following a long illness. He was born in Hampton, Va. on December 30, 1926 to the late Fenno F. and Dorothy Jones Heath. Prof. Heath was the Director of the Yale Glee Club from 1953-1992, a longtime conductor of the Litchfield County Choral Union and of the University Glee Club of New Haven, CT. Widely respected as a composer, teacher and choral conductor, Prof. Heath was a mentor to generations of young singers, and was active as a composer, guest lecturer and conductor long into his retirement years. Raised in Hampton, Virginia, he graduated from Newport News High School and attended Loomis School before entering Yale University. His college career was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army during WWII. He graduated from Yale with the Class of 1950 during which he conducted the Apollo Glee Club and sang with the Yale Glee Club, the Spizzwinks and the Whiffenpoofs. At the Yale School of Music he received his Mus.B. in 1951 and Mus.M. in 1952 as a student of Quincy Porter and Paul Hindemith. He remained at Yale to pursue a lifetime in music, eventually becoming the first Marshall Bartholomew Professor of Choral Conducting. Through the many tours he led nationally and worldwide he helped to bring international recognition to the Yale Glee Club. Yale?s new Alumni Chorus (YAC) is a direct outgrowth of Mr. Heath?s success in creating a life-long love of song in his former singers. Over the years, he has received numerous commissions for choral compositions and has received many awards including the Yale Medal, the Sanford Medal, The Yale Glee Club Medal, the University Glee Club of New York City Medal, the Mory?s Cup, and the Vernon Prize for composition. Among his works are the score for the play ?John Brown?s Body?, a Mass for Chorus with Brass, and collections of choral arrangements of traditional spirituals. Major works were written for four Presidents of Yale. Texts were chosen by each President and set to music by Fenno Heath. They were sung by the Yale Glee Club at the inaugurations of Presidents Kingman Brewster, A. Bartlett Giamatti, Benno Schmidt and Richard Levin. He is survived by his wife, Carol Quimby Heath of Hamden, CT, his children and extended family: Sarah Heath and Franz Douskey of Hamden, CT, Lucy (Heath) and Robert McLellan of Lebanon, NH, Marguerite Heath Ogilvy and Daniel Hertzler of Windsor, VT, and Fenno F. and Paris Heath III of Woodbridge, CT, and six grandchildren: Heather, Sedgwick and Benjamin Ogilvy, Max Heath, and Quinby and Eliza McLellan. Memorial Service Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 3:00 PM at The Battell Chapel at Yale University, corner of College and Elm Streets, New Haven, CT. Arrangements in care of BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden. Contributions in memory of Fenno may be sent to the North Congregational Church, P.O. Box 307, New Hartford, CT 06057.

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  1. Carol, I just became aware of Fenno’s passing through my daughter who teaches at Loomis Chaffee, where his obituary was also published. We enjoyed many a concert with him leading the Yale Glee Club. He brought so much music to so many people. Please know I am thinking of you. Penny Whalen

  2. Carol: Many wonderful memories of Fenno came flooding back this morning as I read his obituary. In particular, I remember a joint Yale/Smith performance of Honegger’s King David in Woolsey Hall, in which Fenno shared the podium with Dee Hiatt. It was an absolute blast! Fenno was a giant in the choral arena, as was Dee. I have been missing her for some years, and now I will miss him too. My thoughts and sympathy go out to you and your family. Sue

  3. Dear Carol and all the family, We loved being your neighbors for all those years in New Haven, and the caroling each Christmas night. Fenno was great; we all learned so much from him. Please know that our family is thinking of yours, and we send our best wishes, Jim and Sandy Righter

  4. Dear Carol and all the family, We loved being your neighbors for all those years in New Haven, and the caroling each Christmas night. Fenno was great; we all learned so much from him. Please know that our family is thinking of yours, and we send our best wishes, Jim and Sandy Righter

  5. Dear Carol and Family, Fenno and your shared music will live forever in our memories, let your love of song lift you through this difficult transition.

  6. Dear Carol and family, Please accept my condolences on the passing of Fenno, who was such a tremendous talent. I joined the LCCU many years ago, and had the pleasure of singing in the alto section under Fenno’s magical baton. I was so in awe of his talent and his ability to teach me to sing and to love choral music as I do. I had the pleasure of attending several Messiah sing-ins with him as well, and during this particular time of year, when I listen to the recordings I will be ever reminded of this great man. God Bless and you will be in my prayers.

  7. Dear Carol, Sarah, Lucy, Peggy, Terry: Our sincere condolences to you. We look forward to sharing in the celebration of Fenno’s life next weekend. He has touched the life of many; know that his spirit lives on! Deborah and Eduardo

  8. Dear Mrs. Heath and Family, My deepest sympathy for your loss. I have a very fond memory of the Heath family singing at family wedding; it was an extraordinary testament of love and talent. Know that his music lives on and touches the lifes of so many.

  9. Dear Sarah and Franz Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Your Dad’s lagacy to the Yale and New Haven Communities will live on throughout the generations. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, especially at this most poignant time of the year. Sharon and Dan Courcey Jr.

  10. Franz and Sarah: My thoughts are with you both at this difficult time–please accept my deepest condolences at the passing of Mr. Heath.

  11. I am sorry about the loss of your loved one. Words cannot describe feelings in a time like this. Many have found comfort in the Bible’s promises of seeing our past loved ones again such as at John 5 verses 28 and 29. Take care of yourselves and keep memories of your past loved one close.

  12. I never sang with Fenno, but the Yale Glee Club was one main reason I attended that great place. I admired the Glee Club, Fenno’s music, and Fenno was so kind to attend my operatic debut in CURLEW RIVER (1967). Why must a man of genius die? Stephen Dahl YC 1967

  13. I sang under Fenno 1962-63, including the wonderful tour of Europe after graduation. I’ll never forget the experience. He was the best!

  14. My condolences to you on the loss of such a talented and wonderful man. I was privileged to be a part of the Western Regional High School Chorus when he was the guest director, in January 1987.

  15. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family in this time of sadness. May great memories of your time together as a loving family help you through your time of pain. May God be with you. Dorsey L Kendrick

  16. Please accept my sincere condolences. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Your family will be in my prayers.

  17. To the Heath family, Fenno was a legend in our household. My late father was a contemporary and colleague of his, as well as an ardent admirerer. It gives me great joy that they are together again and making music for a much larger audience. With Deepest Sympathies

  18. University Glee Club of New Haven December 10, 2008 To the family of Mr. Fenno F. Heath Jr. When we appeared at Whitney Center on Saturday afternoon to do out annual Holiday Concert we heard of the passing of our friend and Director of 31 years Fenno Heath. We dedicated this year’s performance to our Member Emeritus. We sang his Bandolero song that included the talking part in the middle of the song. Tom Cabeen spoke of UGC memories with Fenno and it was great for members to reminisce. It was quite an emotional tribute. When the time comes to have his memorial service our Glee Club would be honored to sing at the service. Please let us know when it may be and what you would like us to sing. We will all miss our Brother in Song Fenno Heath. Respectfully, Tim Nolan President and 2nd Tenor University Glee Club of New Haven

  19. Very sorry for your loss and sincerely hope that any feelings of grief and remose are quickly replaced by fond memories. May you keep the ‘musicality’ that he imparted on you, and others, alive.

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