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Grades Aren't Everything

I was dismayed to read that Oberlin will drop its worthy CR/NE option. The math and two physics courses I risked at Oberlin were among the most edifying of my college life. There will always be some who abuse any grading system, and soon we will see students picking courses only with the reasonable assurance of a decent grade. One high-school student here in Germany recently told me he would love to take an introductory music class, but couldn’t risk it because of the numerus clausus, whereby only straight-A students can study medicine. What kind of doctors will they be, then? At admissions time at our university I usually view straight-A applicants with trepidation, as they are often either too conventional in their thinking or too timid to follow their own creativity. I never advise students to sacrifice any educational opportunity for the sake of a grade, and at Oberlin I never did. For me, CR/NE was almost a dare. By the way, never in my post-college life has anyone asked to see my grades. A degree from Oberlin has always sufficed.
Scott Faigen ’77
Mannheim-Heidelberg Music Conservatory
Stuttgart, Germany


Dance Band Memories

We were saddened to read of the death of Brad Warner ’50 in the spring issue. A master of the post-war big-band-styled ballad singing made popular by Dick Haymes, Frank Sinatra, and Bob and Ray Eberly, Brad was a fixture with the campus dance bands with whom we played from 1946 through 1950. Brad must be fondly remembered by hundreds of Oberlin couples who fell in love, if only momentarily, as they slow danced to his brilliant rendition of “I’ll Be With You Where You Are,” the closing theme song for all Oberlin big bands from the ’30s through the mid ’50s. We had some highly skilled instrumentalists in the Dave Wayne Orchestra, run by Wayne Lonsdorf ’48 and Dave Weimer ’49, which later became the Bill Kohler Band. But it was Brad Warner’s singing that gave our groups that extra note of glamour and authentic big-band professionalism that made the experience so special. He was an important part of our magical Oberlin experience.
Peter G. Weinberg ’49 (tenor sax and clarinet)
Stamford, Conn.
Bill Kohler ’50 (alto sax and clarinet)
Machias, N.Y.


For The Record

Regarding the otherwise very gratifying article about me in the spring issue, I must correct a couple of items. I did not write the “Declare War Now” editorial for The Review as a member of the debating team, and, at the time of the editorial, I was not editor-in-chief of The Review; Norm Lyle ’42 was. I was associate editor, and became editor-in-chief later when Norm left to enlist in the Army Air Force. I told Norm that I would like to write such an editorial, which would be signed with my initials. I wrote the “anguished” editorial (Professor Geoffrey Blodgett’s description) and showed it to Norm, who said, “Fine. Let’s run it and leave off the initials.” The editorial thereby became The Review’s and his expression as well. I had additional reason to fix this in my memory. Norm left, enlisted, and died in a crash within the next year and a half.
Victor Stone ’42
Urbana, Ill.


Where's The Dignity?

How “far out” and outrageous can Oberlin College and its inhabitants become? The issue of The Oberlin Review newspaper available during reunion weekend in May included a picture of a student holding a disgusting sign denigrating President Bush. People have the right to express their views, but must an Oberlin student carry a sign with such obscene language? That sign denigrated the student, as well as Oberlin College. Then came Commencement. The academic procession has, for the most part, lost its former dignity, and instead has become more like a comic parade. The attire of some professors and many graduating seniors showed the lengths to which persons who need to make a statement and who are in great need of attention will go to display their childishness. How many alumni saw the cattle-like stampede of the many graduates who refused to walk through the Arch in memory of the past Oberlinians who lost their lives during the Boxer Rebellion? Instead, those seniors made a mad dash around the Arch, in the meantime holding up the procession. Some of my classmates who could well afford to support the College in a generous fashion will not do so because of the obvious liberalness of the institution and the lack of consideration shown toward other points of view that many of us now hold. One of the tenets of considerate people is to hold an open mind and to neither belittle those with other points of view nor cram their own views down another’s throat. To end on an upbeat note, our 60th reunion was a memorable occasion for those of us who returned to Oberlin to refresh our memories and renew old friendships formed during our college years so long ago.
Molly Mercer Dise ’43
Hudson, Ohio


WEBEXTRA'S :: Oberlin Rocks

It was with great interest that I read the "Oberlin Rocks NYC" article. However, my band, which has three New York City Oberlin alums, was never mentioned. Our name is Scobee, and we have been playing with other artists such as Mary Timony, The Mendoza Line, Mayday (featuring members of Bright Eyes), Cordero, and Hula. The Oberlin alumni include myself, Jeremy Broomfield '97, and Ju mee Park '99. We've only been together for about nine months, but we are starting to attract a lot of interest. Our album is called "Because of Your Melodic Nature (the moonlight never misses an appointment)." Several MP3s of our material can be found at: http://www.stationsoundstudios.com/scobee. Thanks for your help.
Jackie Linge ’97
Douglaston, N.Y.


Hey, I just read your article about bands from Oberlin. A few additions from the Mid 80's crew: Matt Verdery was in Madder Rose (and a few others I think). Pete Pollock is in a band called Bronson, and has a CD out. Mic Holwin had a solo album in the late 80's, and still lives in NYC, I think. Brian Dewan has some solo albums and performs around NYC/Boston. Chris Brokaw was in Come and Codeine and has a solo album out. Vivian Trimble was in Lucious Jackson and performed with that band on SNL.
Author Unknown


Hi: I loved the article on Oberlin rock alums, but there are some missing names. For starters, looking at people who have put out vinyl or CDs with some distribution, there's Chris Brokaw ’86 (Codeine, Come, Consonant, The New Year, solo work, etc.), Steve Immerwahr ’88, (Codeine), and all of Harm Farm (class of 1988ers Brad Pedinoff, Noah Chasin, Tom Hallenback, and Morgan Fichter, with the latter later going on to Camper Van Beethoven). And Dan Zanes (Del Fuegos and lately some rockin' children's music) was in the class of 1983, if memory serves. Plus, of course, there's all the rest of us who played casually and still do. But I've always wondered about grads from the 1970s and early 1980s. Surely there must be more than a few among those classes who went on to play rock, too, that got released to the marketplace. I'd be interested in hearing about them some time.
Carl Freire ’86
Oakland, Calif.


I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind including our band SweetFish (http://www.sweet-fish.com) on the web page with all of the links to NYC Obie bands. The group currently consists of lead singer Katherine Baker ‘98, bassist Jeremy Bieger ‘98, and myself on cello and keyboard. Anyway, I would love it if you’d link to us. Thanks so much. Great article by the way; I never knew so many groups were here from Oberlin. I’m hoping to round us all up and start a network of sorts. Maybe do some concerts?
Jeremy Dalnes ’98
New York, N.Y