Some pictures from the 40th reunion of the Yale Slavic Chorus
Hannah and I rendezvoused in New Haven last weekend to join almost 100 other women, ages about 19 to 60-something, to sing loud music from the Balkans in Battell Chapel.
The first night we had Thai food, sang a little, and poured over old photo albums.
It's amazing that there are singers in some of the pictures who simply cannot be identified. The institutional memory of undergraduate groups is so poignantly short; four years and you're out. So it's easy for events, and people, to be forgotten...
This instantly became one of my favorite t-shirts ever. The girl wearing it is a baby Lutheran minister.
We tried to behave ourselves and pay attention. Unfortunately, the conductor was very short. To boss that many women around, she should have been about seven feet tall.
This is me and Galen Brandt, who was conductor way back when. The first time I heard the Slavic Chorus sing, I got goosebumps from the top of my head all the way down my calves.
There is a man in this picture, the only one ever attached officially to the chorus.. His name is "Celo" (as in chelovyek, guy) or "Cello" (he plays and teaches and conducts strings). He started the chorus in 1969, when a tiny handful of female students had just arrived at Yale to end the all-guy-club thing.
Celo told us he started the chorus "because it would be a good way to meet girls" and that when he announced auditions, "an amazing group of goddesses entered the room." Here he is with a few of the goddesses. That was actually before my time, and this was the first time I laid eyes on Celo; he had been a mythical figure for me all these years.
After our first day of rehearsing, the current slavs threw a party - fabulous food, and the playing of Zlatne Uste ("Golden Lips") Slavic Brass Band from NYC.
I forgot to mention that Hannah and I were not always paying as much attention as we should have.
The first reunion was the 25th - I took Hannah, she was only 11. The next, the 30th, she was 16 - I taught her all the songs and she sang in the concert.
The third, the 35th, she was a senior and, amazingly, was conducting the chorus, so I had the exquisite pleasure of watching my daughter boss us all around. She is very, very good at bossing. I wrote about it here and here.
This time, Hannah pointed out to anybody who would listen that it has actually only been FOUR years since the 35th reunion, the one she hosted, so there was a clear breakdown of arithmetic. However, Corinne really wanted to host us all, and who would pass that up???
Sunday afternoon we crammed ourselves onto the stairs in the Chapel and had a wonderful time making a huge amount of noise. I got a movie of it all - I think - but haven't had the nerve to try and figure out yet how to get it online.
This is our tiny conductor Corinne. She did a great job.
After the concert we massed for pictures as the sun went down.