Monday, December 9, 2013

YWAA Highlights, 2013

YWAA activities in 2013 included (clockwise, from top) the annual picnic and Shakespeare outing on the Hudson River in Garrison in August, a day of community service at the Scarsdale community garden (with Mark Chang '94 Ph.d.) in May, and a dinner tribute to Bill Nightingale '53 (with his wife Nancy in November) in Harrison in November. (YWAA photos)

Year end almost always is a time to look back. Often that means a reflective review of what happened and a chance to pick special moments that can be locked in memory forever. YWAA concludes a year of abundant activities, events, concerts, and time spent for community service or tributes to fellow Yale alumni.

Where to start? Early in the year, in a lecture arranged by YWAA treasurer Rich Fabbro '76 and others, Yale political science Professor Paul Bracken discussed his new book The Second Nuclear Age  in Scarsdale, urging about a hundred Yale alumni and area residents to "think about the unthinkable" and reminding citizens to resume studying the threat of nuclear weapons.

Last April, YWAA greeted Westchester applicants admitted to the Class of '17 at a reception in Bronxville, hosted also by the Yale  Westchester Alumni Schools Committee (Bill Primps '71, coordinator). Parents attended, as well as a dozen or more alumni interviewers, some delighted to see students they interviewed beat the stark odds of winning admission to Yale.

Current Yale students joined Westchester's point person in the admissions office at the time, Marcia Landesman, in an upbeat, informative panel discussion, giving Westchester admittees a myriad reasons for making the right choice--the Yale choice, of course. "And let us tell you in a hundred ways why," they offered.

Before they embarked on a summer tour of China, the Yale a capella group Spizzwinks(?) sauntered into Scarsdale for a Saturday afternoon of crisp harmony and amusing tunes. The group, hosted by YWAA, thrilled a neighborhood audience with impressive renditions of songs of old and hip songs of new.

Last spring, alumni throughout the county combed through Westchester to participate in a day of community service, Yale's Day of Service in May.  Yale alumni led many projects--including cleaning up a state park, sprucing up a community garden, caring for puppies and doing  administrative work at an animal shelter, and more. Some projects, including the Scarsdale garden and work at the Briarcliff shelter, continue throughout the year.

Actors and audience members before the Boscobel performance in August (clockwise from top L), Juliet Strauss '17 at the Briarcliff animal shelter during Day of Service (top, R)in May, Debate Night in Blind Brook in November, and Bruce Jennings '71 speaking at at the Nightingale tribute in November. (YWAA photos)
YWAA again sponsored the book awards, given annually to outstanding high-school students in Westchester County, selected for exceptional academic achievement by administrators at their high schools.  Forty students, from Sleepy Hollow to Somers and from Yonkers Riverside to Yorktown, were 2013 recipients.  

The book awards are part of continuing programs to support Westchester-area students (those in high schools here and those from Yale), which include YWAA-sponsored summer fellowships, the debate program and scholarships.

Caramoor in Katonah hosted an outdoors summer concert featuring Yale Professor Peter Oundjian, conductor for the evening, and a lecture by Yale Glee Club director Jeffery Douma for alumni and families before the performance.  The concert, organized by YWAA chair Merrell Clark '57 '70 MAR and featuring works of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky,  marked YWAA's 15th-year partnership with Caramoor.

How can there be a Westchester summer without Shakespeare on the scenic banks of the Hudson River at Boscobel? YWAA director Bruce Jennings '71 organized two Yale-alumni outings to see the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.  King Lear was the featured performance in June.

The second performance in August, All's Well That Ends Well, was directed by Russell Treyz '65 MFA.  It included a pre-performance lecture from Yale professor Murray Biggs for alumni and guests. The rain held up, the heat and humidity stayed away, and no one in the Yale throng knew that in the production's final moments cast members would sweep Biggs from his seat and thrust him on stage for a few seconds of an ad-lib performance.

Debate once again flourished at the Yale vs. Harvard vs. Brown competition in November at Blind Brook.  Student teams tackled a topic du jour and presented strong, convincing arguments to an audience of about a hundred. Brown was selected the winner, but judges acknowledged it was really a toss-up.  Somebody had to win.

A dinner tribute to Bill Nightingale '53 helped cap the year. YWAA saluted Nightingale's long-time commitment to wear many Yale caps.  Alumni and guests honored him for a half-century-plus of service to Yale and to YWAA in just about every capacity imaginable--from serving as class officer to serving on university committees, leading countless Yale Westchester fundraising activities and events, and launching the debate program (heading into its 16th year).  Proceeds from the dinner and other donations will support a debate fund to be named for Nightingale.

Year end also means turning the page, refreshing the browser or clicking a new, unforeseen link and expecting great wonders. Click. Happy 2014!


The Spizzwinks(?) presented a concert in Scarsdale (clockwise from top), Prof. Murray Biggs lectured on Shakespeare at Boscobel, Jenn Kassoff '85 helps at the animal shelter in Briarcliff, and Prof. Paul Bracken talked about a second nuclear age in Scarsdale. (YWAA and Yale photos)
Current YWAA president Tim Mattison '73 with his wife (and YWAA board member) Eve Rice '73 (clockwise from top L), YWAA vice president BK Munguia '75 at the Scarsdale community garden in May, student debate teams from Yale, Brown and Harvard in November in Blind Brook, and AYA Executive Director Mark Dollhopf '77 paying tribute to Bill Nightingale '53 in November in Harrison. (YWAA photos)

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful recap and a wonderful year for YWAA, thanks to all who volunteer to make it happen for our alums and our Westchester community! BK Munguia