If I had but one day to live, I would want to see Blair Arch one last time. The first night of Freshman Week in 1980, I wandered up to Blair Arch when I heard the sounds of the Nassoons wafting from the structure. I had the good fortune to spend four years singing with the ’Soons, and Blair Arch became home away from home, the site of twice-weekly “arches” (or arch sings, as the groups now call them).
It was where we sang with the Yale Whiffenpoofs in 1981 after dusting their sorry Eli butts at touch football, maintaining possession of the coveted Whiffenpoof/Nassoon trophy, a Budweiser can nailed to a piece of wood. (The varsity team won, too, the same day.)
Blair Arch was home to one of the most marvelous events of the holiday season, the Christmas Arch, which featured two songs from each of the singing groups. The packed arch then transformed into a spontaneous caroling festival that included all of the groups and the myriad spectators. The highlight and penultimate song was an a cappella “Hallelujah Chorus,” the thought of which still brings tears of joys to my eyes. We then sang “Old Nassau” (the old, sexist lyrics) and set off back to our rooms, taking in the snow and lights that made the season magical on campus.
With all of that as backdrop, most importantly, in 1995, Blair Arch was where my then-girlfriend from the Class of 1988 said that one, all-important word: “Yes.”
Blair Arch. The best damn place of all.