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Yale 62

YAM Notes: November/December 2020

By Dick Riseling, for the Communications Team.

Chris Cory writes: A number of professional musicians adorn our class, but one of the most accomplished and celebrated is probably unknown to most of us because he is a celebrity in jazz. There’s no jazz in saying this, friends: Steve Swallow, who dropped out after sophomore year to pursue his calling, is known as one of the world’s greatest performers on the electric bass. He’s also a significant composer in the field, with works performed by what a recent reviewer listed as “some of the greatest jazz musicians” – Lee Konitz, Bill Evans, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Gary Burton and Lyle Mays. (The “recent reviewer” is Michael Ullman, writing in the May 27 edition of The Arts Fuse, a 13-year-old weekly online arts magazine out of Boston.) Steve, he says, has “created a distinctive contemporary jazz style.” An album of Steve’s works, “Swallow Tales,” played by a jazz trio including Steve, was released this spring by ECM records and has drawn favorable reviews on no fewer than 32 websites and publications in the US and abroad including Downbeat, The New Yorker and BBC News.

Bill Sullivan wrote to us midsummer: “Dear Yale ‘62 Communication Team, there’s not much news about myself.  I’ve been spending recent weeks doing copy editing for the annual LACUS forum, journal of the Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States.  I’m almost finished with one number (we have a couple of back issues still hanging), but I already have my next editing job lined up.  My wife Mary has just completed a monograph length draft of her eye view of our experiences on a teaching Fulbright to Poland in 1979-80.  We had our three pre-teen children with us in the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL), just after the end of Gomulka’s Soviet regime there.  It was an adventure for five Americans at a time and in a place where Nikt nic nie miał or, in rural Florida vernacular, wasn’t nobody had nothin’!  She’s been having a lot more fun with her project than I have with mine.  No working title as yet. Stay healthy, y’all!”

One classmate, Art Mann, reports that his grandson Ben is on campus as a first year, this fall. We hope to have some first-hand news from him concerning what living on campus is like during Covid. If any other classmates have grandchildren now studying in New Haven, let us know their names, class and observations about this extraordinary experiment in education

Birthdays, as the majority of the class turns 80 this year, have developed into a topic “with legs,” returning over and over again, especially on our class website, where we’ve published celebration accounts from classmates as they’ve come into our mailbox. Phil Proctor sent us a few jokes we may consider “groaners,” which his brother-in-law bestowed on him, as he reached his foray into the ninth decade this summer. “Proctor is so old,” opined his relative, “that he visited the Dead Sea when it was only sick. When he was in school, they had no history, only current events. And when he saw Jurassic Park, it brought back memories!”

Our Virtual Coffee Hours continue on a monthly basis, on the first Thursday at 1:00 PM Eastern. We’ve tackled news of the day, China’s politics, COVID, Yale and its DOJ woes, and much more. Each month classmates get the chance to discuss, share and question each other on their opinions. Please join us! Send a note to asking to receive a link to the Zoom meeting, and we will make sure you get one.

Please be sure to visit the class website, to see what new items we have in store for your reading pleasure. We’ve employed original reportage by our classmates on a wide range of topics recently, including COVID news (by Lee Bolman and also by Bill Stork), social unrest in Portland, OR (by Jonathan Ater), Hong Kong political news (by Bill Stork), and participating in a COVID test kit project (by Ken Merkey). There’s much more, and more still, once this column reaches your mailbox.

Sadly, we note the loss of another classmate. Dennis “Denny” Snyder passed away on September 1. His obituary will be posted on our class website in due course.