Tony considered these recordings a labor of love. But as turntables and cassette players have been lost to the ages and as music has become digital, these songs and performances have languished. Putting them online will, hopefully, give them some new life.
If you took part in music at Pingry, consider this an invitation to go back and listen to you and your colleagues. Click on one of the years listed above (I am slowly adding to the list). It’s cheap time travel, a keyhole view of a time and place in our lives.
Even if you didn’t sing or play an instrument at Pingry, browse around and give a listen. There’s a LOT of good stuff here!
A few samples …
From 1958, an intimate recording of the Buttondowns (singing as a quartet here) with “Battle of Jericho”:
From 1962, “Laudate Nomen Domini” which would become an unofficial theme song at times over the years, performed by the Glee Club:
From 1974, the Brass Choir with one of Tony’s signature pieces, “Morgenmusik” by Paul Hindemith:
From 1988, the Jazz Ensemble leans into “Emancipation Blues”:
From 1996, the Balladeers’ ethereal performance of “Pueri Hebraenum” in Grace Church in Manhattan:
From 2002, the Orchestra’s Christmasy “Fugue”:
… And that’s just a small taste.
For those of us who spent a lot of time in music at Pingry, Tony was a larger than life character: demanding, generous, an adult who paid attention to us and who led us on all sorts of musical adventures. He came to Pingry in the 1950s as a physics teacher with a love of music, and left the school in 2002 having created a deep, vibrant, sophisticated and enthusiastic music program that continues to this day. Inevitably, his death last May at age 82 came as a shock. Like any great teacher or coach, he had a lasting place in so many people’s lives. His legacy still echoes in Pingry’s hallways, practice rooms and auditoriums every day.
About these recordings: Tony used reel-to-reel recorders, and used those master tapes to make these recordings, but he apparently threw out those tapes when he moved from Summit to Rhode Island after leaving Pingry. So I borrowed LPs, cassette tapes and CDs in the possession of the school. Ms. Eileen Hymas at the Pingry Library interrupted her summer vacation to unearth the “Music at Pingry” LPs in the library collection, and let me borrow them. Mr. Andrew Moore, Pingry’s director of music, kindly provided the cassette tapes and CDs in the music department’s collection.
The recordings vary in quality — both in terms of how they were made, and how well they have aged. Beyond that, despite some fairly effective software, I wasn’t able to remove all of the scratches, ticks and tape hiss. Still, a lot of the recordings have held up well and sound decent, if not great — intimate recordings of small groups, and grand, magisterial performances in churches.
Titles, credits and names: Titles and names are from the liner notes, and most likely include errors (especially due to my typing). Please drop me a line or leave a comment if you find an error, or even something that might be wrong. Just as important, let me know about an uncredited solo performances.
What do you remember? If a particular song jogs a memory, please leave a comment. Music is a group activity, but too often listening is not. The more we can share our recollections, the richer the experience.
The artwork: One of the pleasures of this project was seeing how the cover artwork of the albums, cassettes and CDs changed over the years. Usually, it was a student artist. Whenever it was noted, I have included the student’s name. If you have information about an uncredited artist, please let me know.
Who else was involved? Many talented teachers assisted Tony in making the school’s program successful. During my years in the mid-70’s, Mr. Little was a great choral director; we also learned from Mrs. Kogan, Steav Congdon and Lance Vining. As Tony’s influence waned toward the end of his Pingry career, the baton was taken by others who continued and broadened the traditions; Andrew Moore is now the director of music. I want to give credit, but my knowledge only goes so far. Please fill me in and provide me the names of teachers and directors who helped create this music.
Thanks for visiting.
Kevin Granville ’76