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For the love of the College

  • The good old days
    The good old days
    This archive photo shows members of the 1973-74 William & Mary Choir in front of the Sir Christopher Wren Building. This was the last year the choir was under the direction of long-time Choral Director Carl A. "Pappy" Fehr.
    Image courtesy of the Special Collections Research Center
  • Reunited
    Reunited
    Some of the 40 participants in the Stay Connected initiative working on the Fehr Collection project. Both former and current Choir members are participating.
    Image courtesy of the Swem Special Collections Research Center

Norah Lulich Jones ‘75, Jane Koenig Terry ’75 and Ann Spielman Woolley ‘75 all found love at the College.  Not only the men they would ultimately marry, but also a love of music and most especially a love of the College.

Ann and Mark WoolleyAfter four decades the relationships these women built remain strong. Each of the three has been married to their spouse for more than 30 years. Two were engaged on campus and all three married in the Wren Chapel.

As this old campus fostered their own romances, the three couples recently decided to return the love. Each is participating in the Staying Connected: Together Serving Others Initiative, a program that brings together William & Mary alumni through volunteer service to the College.

The three couples decided to help with an archival project to digitize historical documents from the tenure of Carl A. “Pappy” Fehr.  Fehr served as Director of Choral Music at William & Mary from the 1940s until 1974. The Fehr Collection has special meaning to the six because each sang in the William & Mary Choir under Fehr in the early ‘70s.

“Pappy treated the students as his “children,” - teaching us much more than musical skills and enjoyed helping students get to know each other, said Woolley.

Terry noted she and her husband, Roy (also a member of the Class of 1975), started talking over a punch bowl at a choir reception for prospective new members the fall of their senior year.The rest, as they say, is history.

Jane and Roy TerryThrough the archival project, volunteers are being trained to scan and photograph items in the collection, as well as to label the digitized files to make them easier to access and cross reference. The project, managed and organized by the Swem Special Collections Research Center, provides both on-campus opportunities and tasks that can be completed on-line from remote locations.

The three couples came to campus Charter Day Weekend 2012 to assist with the archival process and will return in June for more of the same.

“These gatherings have been mini-reunion among friends who may not have seen each other for decades,” Woolley said.

Terry noted that the gatherings had been both hard work and fun.

“We have sung in the library the times I have been there,” she said. “At our last session…members of the current choir came and we sang together – it was meaningful and touching.”

Willie and Norah JonesAlready 40 alumni have participated in the Fehr Project and 13 scrapbooks have been digitized as well as hundreds of photographs processed for protection, participants said.

“We’re loving learning about archiving and archives and preserving history; we’re rekindling dear friendships and making new friends among those who love William & Mary,” said Jones.

She added, “This project has made us even more proud of our alma mater and her alumni, and more engaged than we ever imagined we would or could be 40 years later.”

Oh yes, and those other engagements – the diamond ring kind – did they follow a stroll across, and a kiss on Crim Dell Bridge? Legend goes that William & Mary students who walk across the picturesque Crim Dell Bridge holding hands will be friends for life and those that kiss on the bridge will marry. Legend confirmed?

Yes, yes, and yes.