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Heart & Soul
Thank you for the excellent article celebrating 50 years of Alice Millar Chapel history [“Heart & Soul,” winter 2013].
I was disappointed, however, that you failed to mention my father, George McClay [BSM28, GBSM39], who designed the organ for the chapel. Dad got his BA and MA in music at Northwestern, then served as registrar, assistant dean and associate dean of the Bienen School of Music for 40 years, from 1928 to 1968, when he retired. He was also a professor and taught graduate courses in organ history and design, liturgics and hymnology. Dad was also a church organist (Episcopal) for those same 40 years.
Organ design is a highly specialized, complex, behind-the-scenes endeavor, requiring an intensive search for the optimum balance among spatial, acoustic, aesthetic, budgetary and musical considerations. While growing up, I watched Dad wrestle with this challenge for hours on end and felt his palpable relief when he came up with a final design.
John McClay (WCAS63)
To commemorate the Millar Chapel after 50 years, to give it more ink than it has probably ever received in this periodical and to mention “God” just once — and that in the context of an outside study — gives one pause.
That said, the McGaw family is mentioned three times within five lines.
First, I have no issue with the McGaws. In fact, “Thank God” for the McGaws.
Second, I appreciate that all the inspired, bright and eager minds entering Northwestern are a microcosm of the world’s cultures and faiths. They need to have their current beliefs respected and seeking hearts welcomed evenhandedly.
Sorry, but this article is more “Political Correctness & Marketing” than “Heart & Soul.” It could have been more balanced. No offense to Timothy Stevens, who seems to have his heart in the right place and seems committed to being a mentor and pastor.
Bob Artemenko (WCAS72, KSM74)
Two omissions jarred me in your otherwise classy article about Alice Millar Chapel’s 50 years.
First, the piece made no mention of the architects of this iconic structure, the Chicago firm of Jensen & Halstead, which still practices in the area. Their midcentury modern tweaking of Northwestern’s traditional Gothic interiors raised eyebrows among the staid denizens of Evanston, as did the Chagall-like windows, which the article pointed out.
Second, the article contained nary a word about the towering 100-rank Aeolian-Skinner organ, one of a handful of particularly notable instruments in Chicago and environs. I remember a frigid winter night when a standing-room only audience was treated to a recital by the principal organist of Notre Dame, Paris.
Byron Dunham (SCS73)
Chicago and Savannah, Ga.
Stephen Alltop, the chapel’s music director, noted that the chapel is “a space in which music lives beautifully.”
This reminded me of a milestone event in the chapel in fall 1971. An evening performance was given on the newly installed grand pipe organ. All the keys, pedals and stops were pressed and pulled during that memorable evening.
Derek Wilson (G73)
Port Moody, British Columbia
My most vivid memory of Alice Millar Chapel is from my freshman year at Northwestern, when I was in the University Chorus. We performed Bach’s B Minor Mass in the chapel with Margaret Hillis conducting the University Orchestra. Both the chorus and the orchestra were up in the choir loft, so we could look out over the entire audience sitting below us. My roommates, Bill Sharp [J74, GJ75] and Dave Chickering [BSM74], both played in the orchestra. What an awesome night that was for three 18-year-old college boys. Glorious music amidst glorious architecture!
Vince McCoy (BSM75)
I was just reminiscing about the beauty of Alice Millar Chapel, so it is wonderful to see this tribute! I have many fond memories of singing every Sunday in the Chapel Choir and hearing the magnificent Aeolian-Skinner organ. It is such a beautiful and special place!
Ronald Trunzo (BSM95)
Matchmaking Nothing New
I enjoyed Robbie Levin’s story on online dating [“Match Point,” winter 2013] and his sidebar on Gary Kremen, founder of Match.com.
But I thought it was too bad that the article didn’t mention my era.
In 1965, when I was a graduate student, there was a computer matchmaking service available called Operation Match. It wasn’t online, but it was definitely a product of the computer age.
We filled out a questionnaire and sent it in with $3. Then in a few days we received in the mail a list of about six prospects who matched our desiderata in a date, according to the computer’s algorithm. There was no exchange of photos, but I got the women’s addresses and telephone numbers. It worked well enough that I did it twice.
One of my matches was a student at the University of Chicago, and a couple were local women, but most were Northwestern students, including one whom I dated regularly.
Martin C. Tangora (G56, 66)
Canceled Classes Rare
In the “White Out” story [Then, winter 2013, page 2] you noted the rare instances when Northwestern canceled classes because of severe weather.
But Northwestern closed for a different reason on Monday, Nov. 25, 1963 — for the funeral of John F. Kennedy, who was killed three days earlier. I was a Medill grad student then and recall that day vividly and also the fateful Friday when JFK died.
All hell broke loose at Medill. The bulletins reporting his death came with ringing bells on Medill’s AP and UPI teletype machines in Fisk Hall’s second-floor newsroom, where Professor Ben Baldwin [GJ46] was teaching a broadcast newswriting course at the time. Students fought to grab the bulletins as a piece of history for themselves.
Dick Reif (GJ64)
Editor’s note: The University canceled classes on the first two days of the current winter quarter, Jan. 6 and 7, due to subzero temperatures and wind chills as low as 40 degrees below zero. It was the first time in Northwestern history that the University canceled classes on consecutive days due to weather.
We were so pleased to see the obituary and photo of Herb Kaplow (GJ51) [Passings, winter 2013, page 60]. Herb was a dishwasher at Willard Hall when I was a waiter there. I contributed $20 for his bus fare when he was invited to New York City by NBC for an interview. Of course, he repaid me and my wife, Helen Jean Martin [WCAS51], and I enjoyed hearing his broadcasts for years.
Bernard B. Lampert (G51)