LA Minireunion on March 4

The undergrads will be touring California during their spring break (the first two weeks of March).  To help celebrate, Dave Lefkowith ’78 (DMAA Butler, serving Lord Tom Bulleit) and his beautiful wife Elizabeth Gong-Guy will host a Duke’s Men Minireunion.

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE MINIREUNION
Sunday, March 4, 2012.
4pm – 7pm
Address:  1819 Mandeville Canyon Drive, Brentwood
Telephone: 310 476 0397
RSVP if may or will attend:  lefty@canyongrp.com
The Los Angeles Doox Mini-Reunion will feature singing by the current group, kicking off their LA / Las Vegas / Bay Area 2012 Spring tour. Doox alums will then attempt to revive old arrangements, many of which are no longer performed for a reason. Neighbors and friends will wander by to complain about the noise.
The Duke’s Men Alumni Association (DMAA) has sponsored mini-reunions in New York City, the SF / Oakland Bay Area and Boston.  Each of these events was tremendously successful, producing great joy for all attending. But the Los Angeles mini-reunion will be the most successful and joyous event yet, because the SoCal doox alum are by far the best looking, most talented and incredibly modest cohort.
The Lefkowith / Gong-Guy dynamic duo will provide hors d’oeuvres and icy water.  Those desiring other libations should BYOB.  Tickets to the restrooms will be sold at preferential rates.
(Voluntary, fully tax deductible DMAA dues gently requested at the door.)
C’mon Along!  Bring your sorry carcass to Mandeville Canyon on March 4.  (Street parking available on Reedvale, Old Orchard and Kimberly, all cul-de-sacs off the east side of Mandeville Canyon.  1819 Mandeville Canyon is directly opposite Old Orchard.)

Boston Minireunion — A rousing success

Murray Wheeler ’62 writes in an update for the Boston minireunion:

“As a delightful distraction from the only thing anyone seemed to be talking about during an otherwise seriously gray January day—Will the fourth primary go to yet a fourth Republican candidate?—a few of us organizers enjoyed the outcome of a fair amount of emailing and telephoning to gather all the New England doox we could muster for a mini-reunion chez Margaret and Linus Travers ’58 in Milton, MA.
Seventeen Doox alums, a dozen wives, partners, and kids, and three “Now Doox” up from New Haven, gave us more than a quorum for a good dose of schmoozing and a couple of healthy sets of song under the always thoughtful direction of Carl Kaestle ’62.


Judy, Marti, Don, Betsy, and Dave. 

Doox alums in attendance:
Jeff Freeman ’57 / Linus Travers ’58 / Carl Kaestle ’62 / John Knutson ’62 / Murray Wheeler ’62 / Dave Willis ’62 / Don Abbott, ’63 / Dave Budding ’63 / Bob Augusta ’66 / Rick Berlin ’67 / Bill Kasimer ’80 / Jay Gregory ’81 / Kurt Sternlof ’83 / Caleb White ’87 / Henri Weinberg ’92 / Ed Parsons ’96 /  Mattias Sparrow ’05.

The “Now Doox” were: Benji Goldsmith ’14, pitch, and Alex Caron and Brandon Hayse, both ’13 and the co-business managers—two tenors and a bass!

The alum singing focused on “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” “Wee Small Hours,” and, of course, “Istanbul.” The Now Doox, although modest in number, generously brought off charming renditions of two of their regular offerings—Barenaked Ladies’ “What a Good Boy,” and Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes.” The full ensemble also sang “Too Beautiful,” a ‘50s favorite that the current group has brought back into their repertoire. Afterward, around the piano, we had a fair amount of alumni wood-shedding, which seemed to work best on “Lone Prairie.”

What really touched us all was having the three Now Doox, after a post-midnight return from a concert in New Jersey the night before, get themselves up to Milton to give us four hours of excellent company, piles of interesting information about the lives of today’s Doox, and a couple of lovely songs!
As I wrote those New England Doox alums who were regrettably unable to join us, “we’ve left a wonderful legacy and the Now Doox are clearly reveling in the best of it.”
Speaking for the Now Doox, Alex Caron wrote later, “It really means a lot to the group that there is such a solid base of alumni who still enthusiastically congregate (and aren’t completely sick of each other) even without the Yale campus as the physical mediator. I feel proud, secure, and humbled to be part of a group with so much history and tradition, and I look forward to many more gatherings in the future.”

More photos from the reunion can be found on the DMAA Flickr account (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmaa)

In Memoriam

In Memoriam: John Barrett ’61 and Randy Tucker ’74

Just before Christmas 2011, John Barrett ’61 passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease.  John was a member of the Duke’s Men and the Whiffenpoofs of 1961.  Despite his poor health, he made a point of attending the Western Massachusetts Mini Reunion sponsored by Carl Kaestle ’62 last summer.  He told Carl how happy he was to be invited because “that’s the kind of thing that makes life worth living”. John’s full obituary is available here: http://obitsforlife.com/obituary/445663/Barrett-John.php
John’s death comes almost two years after the passing of Emmett “Randy” Tucker ’74, another Whiffendoox who also had Lou Gehrig’s disease (http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/newton/2010/02/emmett_tucker_57_lawyer_active.html). Randy’s Whiff group paid a visit to him a few weeks before his death.  See some touching videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/milosmamma1/videos

Stockbridge Concert Review

During the same weekend on Aug 21, the group gave a performance at the Berkshire Theatre Festival on the Fitzpatrick Stage. The following is Tom Bulleit ’79‘s review of that concert.

“On Sunday, August 21, 2011, the Berkshire Music Festival in Stockbridge, MA hosted the first concert of the 2011-2012 year for the Duke’s Men of Yale (self-described as “the youngest and best-looking of Yale’s male a cappella singing groups”).  It was a triumph.

Fresh from only two days’ rehearsal at their retreat at the Great Barrington, MA, home of Co-Business Manager Alex Caron ’13‘s parents, da doox dazzled an audience of young, old, and some distinguished alumni at an afternoon concert.  Sophomore pitchpipe Benji Goldsmith ’14 stepped up like a pro, offering a program that mixed admirably newer and older repertory to produce a seamlessly enjoyable performance.

The group opened with Ben Wexler’s ’11 newish arrangement of “Party in the USA”, featuring rising sophomores Terrence Chin-Loy ’14 and Alex Ratner ’14 on the solos.  Terrence sings first tenor but has a strong baritone as well, showcasing the latter on this song and the former on Eric Schorr ‘82’sclassic arrangement of “Gonna Build a Mountain.”   Alex returned us to the 1970s with his lithe performance of the Jackson 5 standard, “I Want You Back.”

Another sophomore who gave strong performances of both old (James Taylor’s “Carolina in My Mind”) and new (Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire”) was Nimal Eames-Scott  ’14 .

I was also pleased that the group has also reprised Dan Korn ‘89’s arrangement of “Motherless Child,” originally and memorably sung by the late Tony Bailey ’90, and ably rendered on this occasion by Alex Caron.

Jim Chu ’72’s arrangement of the Rock & Roll spoof “What’s Your Name?” was sung to the mother ofBrandon Hayse ’14, by Rueben Hendler ’13 (younger brother of former pitchpipe Micah Hendler ’11) and Henry Gottfried ’13, who smoothly handled the master of ceremonies duties for the concert (and author of that bit of impish narcissism that opened the concert).

Songs from the second Golden Age (the 1990s) have never been better sung.  Two Landsverk ’99/Sagalowicz ’98 classics – “Obvious Child” and “What a Good Boy” —  improved everyone’s afternoon.  Sam Tsui ’11 is a hard act to follow, but Henry gave a moving rendition of Good Boy.

For those who thought that the Nathan Reiff ’07 arrangement of “Either Way” would have to be retired when Casey Breves ’09 left the group for the Whiffenpoofs of 2009 and later for San Francisco’s famed professional a cappella ensemble Chanticleer, Brandon proved that the song still has life, as he performed a moving version, accompanied by Nate Janis ’13 on the duet.  Hayse’s sweet tenor also did justice to Adam Grupper ’84’s arrangement of “Wonderful World.”

The alums (and I hope the audience) were pleased that songs from the Founders’ era were still represented, as Gottfried (this guy has a lot of solos, doesn’t he?) performed Lou Hemingway ’42’s“You Are Too Beautiful,” and the guys continued the tradition of inviting alums to join them on Walt Farrier ’54’s immortal “Istanbul.”

Alums in attendance included former pitchpipes Augustus ‘Fritz’ Kinzel ’58Carl Kaestle ’62, andyours truly.  Alums will remember that Kinzel and Kaestle are two of the most important figures in da doox illustrious history.  Fritz arranged, among others, “Lulu’s Back in Town,” “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?,” and “Lone Prairie” (with Jeff Freeman ’57); Kaestle the ballad “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” along with two humor standards from the ‘60s rep, the Kennedy homage “New Frontier” and Flanders and Swanns’ “Wom Pom Song.”  These two were also the first two Duke’s Men to be elected to pitch the Whiffenpoofs.  Also joining the group on stage was a refreshing representative from the lost generation (late ‘60s to early ‘70s), Jim Rossbach ’68.

Privately, the alums repeated the well-known refrain acknowledging that they probably wouldn’t even have been invited to join the group had they been lucky enough to survive admission to Yale these days.

I also bought the latest CD, The Chase, which my daughter and I listened to on the drive home.  Following in the recent tradition of flawlessly sung and produced recordings, this one will please anyone with an appreciation for the genre.  Especially notable is  revival of Yoshi Waterhouse ’95’sarrangement of Tears for Fears’ “I Believe,” and an excellent recording of Sam Tsui’s version of “What a Good Boy.”  The Chase can be purchased by emailing Brandon Haysebrandon.hayse@yale.edu,  via iTunes, or at the doox website (http://dukesmen.com).

And this was before they tapped those six new voices.  Looks like another spectacular year, which I for one plan to follow closely.”

–Tom Bulleit ’79

Western Massachusetts Minireunion

Earlier this summer, the undergraduate group was in western Massachusetts for rush retreat. While there, Carl Kaestle ’62 (and a new board member) and his wife hosted the group. Here are his memories of the event, which we’ve maintained in the 3rd person for no good reason:

Carl Kaestle ’62 and his wife Liz Hollander hosted the current Doox and area alumni for a barbecue at their home in North Egremont during the Doox summer retreat and tour in the Berkshires. The retreat site for the Doox was only about five miles away from Carl and Liz’s house, at the home of Alex Caron ’13‘s parents at Buel Lake. (Alex is the co-business manager of the Doox.)

Undergrads Singing

Attending the barbecue, in addition to twelve Doox, were Alex’s parents, and five alums: Kaestle, Jeff Freeman ’57, Fritz Kinzel ’58, John Barrett ’61 and his wife Cindy (pictured below in stunned/amused silence), and Jim Rossbach ’68 and his wife, Paddy. Invitations went out to area alumni, within 100 miles or so.

This was a great chance for the veteran Doox to meet the current members, and, of course, the group serenaded us with several songs. What a fabulous sound, what talent, what a gracious, lively bunch of guys!”

(The Board neither endorses nor denies the account of these events.)

John and Cindy Barrett

Tap Night!

The Duke’s Men recently concluded another successful rush, and tapped some wonderful freshman with very strange names. Shown, left to right in the front, are:

Jackson Thea ’15   (Tenor 2) – Lexington MA
Jamie Bogyo ’15   (Baritone) – New York NY
Elliah Heifetz ’15   (Bass) – Ambler PA
Jake van Leer ’15   (Tenor 1) – Hanover NH
DJ Stanfill ’15   (Baritone) – Manhattan Beach CA
Derwin Aikens ’15   (Bass) – Los Angeles CA

Tap Night 2011

As Chaplain Alex Caron ’13 notes, “They’re all dope” (sic).  Alex also remarks, “We cleaned up during rush.  I know that this isn’t the point but all the other groups have saaad tap classes. Sorry bout’cha.”

For the mathematically inclined (a.k.a Jeff Brock ’92): this year’s group will in fact be the 60th group, but someone from the Founders and First Followers (F&FFs) will have to weigh in on when the group first participated in a (the?) tap process of Rush.

A Letter from the Undergrads

Dear Duke’s Men Alumni,

First of all, for all of my Jewish people out there, Happy New Year!  For everyone else, the group sends positive vibes and general goodness as we head into the winter months.
Life over here in New Haven has been crazy!  After the standard, month-long rush, we were unbelievably lucky to tap six incredibly talented freshmen into the group.  Not only are they fantastic singers, but also, they are exceptional people, who stood out both musically and socially from the rest of their class.  We are very lucky that they are now a part of our Duke’s Men family, and I hope that you all have the chance to meet them soon.You can do that by coming to our parent’s weekend concert, which is this Saturday, October 29th.  We have an 8:30pm and a 10:15pm concert (both with Mixed Company) in Branford Dining Hall. Hope to see many of you there.

Also: we are now in the planning stages of our Winter and Spring Tours.  From December 31st – January 7th, we will be inFlorida (Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, and the surrounding areas), and from March 2nd – March 18th, we will be in Southern California.  In organizing these tours, the group hopes that the alumni will offer assistance in a few different ways:

  • Performance Ideas and Contacts: If you know of schools, businesses, friends, or venues that might be interested in hiring the group to perform, please pass on ideas and contact information.
  • Housing: If you are able to host group members in your house, apartment, studio, front lawn (wherever), please let us
  • Organizing an alumni meet up: Some of our most memorable experiences as a group in the past couple years have been alumni gatherings in New York City, San Francisco, and most recently, the Berkshires.  We’re interested in organizing alumni events in both Florida and California, but we would love some assistance in planning.  If this is something you’d like to help organize, we would love to work with you.
It is our goal this year to continue to involve and communicate with our alumni more consistently.  In our first meeting this year, group members frequently talked about our relationship with alumni, and about how we want to strengthen that connection because, frankly, we like you guys and we want to get to know you better.
So, please, if you’d like to contact the group or offer support in any way, contact me at Alexander.Caron@yale.edu or dukesmen@gmail.com.  We hope to hear from you soon, and for those of you in Florida or California, we can’t wait to see you in the coming months!
Sincerely,
Alex Caron ’13, Business Manager

Live Streaming!

The entire jam is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/mikefayette/search?query=spring

First Set:

1. Beatles Medley
2. Gone / Alex Fayette ’12
3. Quickest Road / Brandon Hayse ’13
4. Ain’t No Sunshine /  Nimal Eames-Scott ’14
5. Intro: we are the Duke’s Men
6. City of Blinding Lights / Reuben Hendler ’13
7. She’s Always a Woman / Henry Gottfried ’13
8. The Oak and the Ash
9. Big White Room / Alex Ratner ’14
10. Bridge over Troubled Waters / Michael Blume ’12
11. Flying Home / Terrence Chin-Loy ’14
12. I Want You Back / Benji Goldsmith ’14

Second Set:
13. Intro: Alumni Skit
14.  motherless child
15. Coming Home
16. Carolina in My Mind
17. And so it goes
18. Duke’s place
19. I’ll back you up
20. This woman’s work
21. Umbrella
22. Good boy
23. Let it be
24. Istanbul

 

Happy February!

The DMAA had its first board meeting of 2011 last week. Some brief news.

1. Doox Jam This Week / Live Streaming
2. New Board Members
3. Regional Singing Dinners

1. Doox Jam This Week / Live Streaming
The undergraduate group’s annual spring concert is Friday, February 25, at 7:30pm in New Haven. Yep, that’s this Friday.

Lest we bury the lede: on Omar Christdis ’04’s suggestion, we are going to live stream the jam over the internet. Go to www.dadoox.org at jam’o’clock on the day of jam for the live stream. The feed will also be saved online for later viewing.

The Duke’s Men of Yale Present: Sgt. Basil’s Yearly Dukes Club Jam
First & Summerfield United Methodist Church
425 College St.
New Haven, CT
7:30pm, February 25th.

Tickets:
Students – $5 in advance; $6 at the door; $12 priority*
Adults – $10 in advance; $12 at the door; $20 priority*
*Priority = guaranteed front rows

Click here for tickets, or just show up, since alums don’t pay anyway.

2. New Board Members
The DMAA Board is pleased to welcome Carl Kaestle ’62, Tom Metzloff ’76, Mike Hrycelak ’97, and Elliot Watts ’09 to the fold. Some quick bios:

Carl Kaestle ’62 — Pitched the Duke’s Men of ‘60-‘61 (producing the Zounds LP, one of the best Doox recordings until the group’s breakout successes of the 1990s) and the Whiffenpoofs of ’62 before becoming an historian of education, most recently on the faculty of a lesser Ivy institution of higher learning in Providence, RI. Easily the Board member with the most pleasant speaking voice, Carl (whose last name is pronounced “kay’ sul” ) is nonetheless not the guy from “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.”

Tom Metzloff ’76 — A former business manager (‘74-‘75), Tom was renowned during his undergraduate years for owning the largest car manufactured in the pre-SUV era, and for competing with Rick Brookhiser ’77 at being the Duke’s Man with highest IQ. Following graduation from the law school at a lesser Ivy institution in Cambridge, MA, he went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron “Whizzer” White before becoming forever a “Duke’s Man” by joining the faculty of the Duke University School of Law. He teaches, among other things, ethics and dispute resolution. The rest of the board is excited to offer him real life tests on those issues.

Mike Hrycelak ’97 — Perhaps the lowest bass voice in the history of the Duke’s Men, Michael gave up a promising career doing voice overs of steamboat whistles to become an anesthesiologist. A former Business Manager from ’95-’96, Mike was present during the heart of the seminal 90’s era that produced records such as Food, Mom, and 45. Mike had been on tour since graduation, but now he’s back on tour’s longest stop — New Haven — as a faculty member at the Yale School of Medicine.

Elliot Watts ’09 — Displaced Lindsay Elliott ’04 (sic) as the youngest member of the board. Business Manager of Da Doox of ‘07-‘08 and the undergraduate most involved in prodding the old guys to form the DMAA and run the 55th reunion. He was present during the recording of D.O.O.X. and the What a Trip / Smooth Ride double-album; apparently those were pretty good albums. Elliot is currently working for an education consulting firm in Boston and has the dubious long term ambition of becoming a lawyer. He’s padding his resume by going on a service trip in Liberia before enrolling next fall at an as-yet-undetermined law school. Having been born after the invention of the internet, Elliot is renowned for an inability to form complete

3. Regional Singing Dinners
The DMAA is happy to announce regional singing dinners in Chicago, Providence, and Washington DC in the upcoming months. More details in the next Istanbulletin.

Also: if you are interested in attending one of these or hosting one in your city, the board will happily help coordinate and subsidize the event.