Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FROM Peyton G. Craighill '51

Since I've just been asked for my memories of my years in the Glee Club, I'm responding.
I have so many wonderful memories that they overwhelm me. But by far the most outstanding one is of our Caribean tour in the spring of 1951. This was Barty's last tour. Fenno participated as a fellow member of the tenor section. During these past months when we've been recalling his tremendous contribution to choral singing, it's been a special joy for me to remember our friendship on that tour.
The year 1951 provided a window that made our tour possible. After that it rapidly closed. Even then, when we sang in Havana and Santiago, we were well aware of the political changes ahead and the inequalities in society that were bringing them on. This was also true in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. But for us who soon would be leaving our college years and moving on to our careers in the world, we didn't give too much thought to political and social tensions. After a cold winter in grey, grimy New Haven, we basked in our lovely tropical surroundings, sang our best in our concerts, and had fun splashing under the sun in hotel pools. I especially remember a cockfight in Cuba, the drums of Haiti, and a glimpse of a Voodoo ritual there. Our receptions everywhere were outstanding, in particular at the presidential palaces in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Coming back to Miami couldn't help but be a letdown. For people there we were just another college glee club - no longer ambassadors from the great neighbor to the north!

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