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Web Exclusives: Alumni Spotlight

October 5, 2005:


From left, Roger Bates ’67, Llewellyn Ross ’58, Richard McGlynn ’60, Duncan Dempster ’59, and Donald Le Win ’61 at the Nassoons mini-reunion in Bermuda in March. (Courtesy Richard McGlynn ’60)

Gathering through song

NASSOONS MINI-REUNIONS: One group of alumni is still forging new Princeton connections the same way its members did as undergraduates — through song. Although the Nassoons, Princeton’s oldest singing group, had been celebrating major anniversaries of its 1941 founding by gathering for a weekend of music and fellowship in Princeton every five years, that wasn’t enough for James W. Crawford Jr. ’61 and David R. Watts ’62. At the singing group’s 55th anniversary in 1996, they lamented the long intervals between get-togethers and proposed a mini-reunion for Nassoons who graduated between the mid-1950s and early 1960s.

Despite the chilly venue — Chicago in late January 1997 — about 20 Nassoons traveled from as far as Hawaii to lend their voices to the first mini-reunion. Since then the Nassoons have met yearly in locations as varied as Aspen, Colo.; Charleston, S.C.; Longboat Key, Fla.; and Palm Desert, Calif.

At their latest shindig on March 31, 2005, 21 Nassoons met for their most ambitious mini to date: a long weekend at the Pink Beach Club in Bermuda, where some men in the group had sung 50 years ago as undergraduates. Organized by Rich McGlynn ’60 and his travel-agent wife, Vicky, the mini featured morning rehearsals, followed by shopping, sightseeing, and golf in the afternoons, and nightly performances. Despite a busy social schedule and several late nights, by Sunday evening, the “singing [had] only improved,” says Roger Bates ’67, in preparation for the group’s 65th reunion next year.

The success of the mini-reunions, which Dick Grieves ’60 says “have established amazingly deep friendships that include wives and friends who look forward to these gatherings as much as the Nassoons,” has inspired a younger group of Nassoons, from the mid-1960s through early-1970s classes, to gather yearly at different venues. If Rich McGlynn’s enthusiasm is any indicator, Nassoons minis will be around for a long time. “There’s something almost miraculous in seeing men in their 60s and early 70s standing in a circle singing songs they learned when they were in their late teens,” he says. “In each face, I can still see the boys we were back then. As so many of us now realize, being part of the Nassoons was our life at Princeton.”

By F.H.