PA Edits

Performing Arts

Bob Allison


Many of us know Bob Allison as the guy who (along with Paul Lamar) has enlivened our last three reunions with piano and vocal renditions of popular music classics before dinner. Before that, he had an impressive career in public service with the National Bureau of Economic Research and the United Nations. But he’s a piano man now, and, under his stage name, Barnacle Bob, here he is for your entertainment pleasure:


Bob performing Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll” at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Savannah, GA (and looking very stylish, too, in his Yale ’67 windbreaker).


Bob Performing Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy” at the Ashantilly Cultural Center, Darien, GA


Bob Performing Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia” at the Ashantilly Cultural Center, Darien, GA


Bob performing Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and “As Time Goes By,” the classic song from “Casablanca,” at the King and Prince Hotel, Ivy League Club event, St. Simons, GA


Bob performing “Winter Wonderland” on New Year’s Eve at the Olde Pink House, Savannah, GA


The Jim Bourne interview with Duke Ellington

On March 5, 1965, the great Duke Ellington, YC 1967 (Hon.), came to New Haven to play at the Yale Prom, and Jim Bourne, ace reporter for WYBC, went off to Commons to interview the Duke.

“Lugging a decidedly non-portable Ampex 602 tape recorder, I found him relaxing on the mezzanine on the side of Commons away from Woolsey Hall. What I could not find, after much searching, was an electrical outlet! He was most gracious (I was awestruck and not a little flustered) and suggested that I see him on the other, Woolsey-end mezzanine at the next break. Whether he already had intended to switch ends or had decided to do so on my behalf, I have no idea. At any rate, come the break I found both the Duke and an outlet, and the interview was done.”

Jim has saved the recording of this interview all these years, and he shares it now with us, along with this modest caveat: “Please remember that I was not yet twenty years old and that I was in the presence of greatness.”

Be sure to listen all the way to the end of Part 2, when the Duke gives Jim a message to pass on to all of us. And check out Jim’s amazing nature photographs on the photographs page.

Epilogue: Two years later, Ellington returned to Yale to accept an honorary degree at our graduation, along with (among others) historian Barbara Tuchman, historian/diplomat Edwin Reischauer, philanthropist Paul Mellon, Talmudic scholar Louis Finkelstein, British educator Lord Fulton of Falmer, and the now-disgraced zoologist Konrad Lorenz.
Then, as now, the names of the honorees were kept secret until the commencement itself. But as we lined up in our caps and gowns to enter the Old Campus, Maury Yeston, who worshiped Ellington, sneaked past the front of the line to see who the recipients were. Suddenly, he came running back to us, his academic gown and the tassel on his mortarboard flying behind him, shouting, “It’s the Duke! It’s the Duke! It’s the Duke! It’s the Duke!”

Maury Yeston

An assortment of songs from two of Maury Yeston’s musicals: Nine, a musical version of Fellini’s 8½, which won Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Musical Score in 1982, and Titanic (not to be confused with the James Cameron movie, which had better special effects but worse music), which won Tonys for Best Musical and Best Musical Score in 1997.

From Nine: Barbra Streisand performing “Unusual Way” at a live concert in London’s Hyde Park in July 2019, which she sang to Antonio Banderas, the star of the original Broadway production, who was sitting in the audience.

From Nine: The same song sung by Nicole Kidman in the movie version.

From Nine: Kate Hudson performing “Cinema Italiano” in the movie version.

From Titanic: The entire opening scene from the 2004 concert version at Lincoln Center.

“The Titanic concert was a huge event because it reunited the original cast of 1997 and it was accompanied by a chorus of 200 High School students,” says Maury.

“Though I’d been performed in Royal Festival Hall in London, and twice in Carnegie Hall, it meant a lot to me to be onstage at Lincoln Center since I remember how excited I was as a kid when Bernstein led the very first concert there, which was the North American premiere of Mahler’s 8th Symphony.”