Yale a capella group ‘The Whiffenpoofs’ return to the Vilar Performing Arts Center | VailDaily.com

Yale a capella group ‘The Whiffenpoofs’ return to the Vilar Performing Arts Center

The nation’s oldest a cappella group will perform in Beaver Creek on Jan. 7

Special to the Daily
The Whiffenpoofs of Yale continue a century-old tradition.
Vilar Performing Arts Center/Courtesy Photo

Every year, 14 senior students from Yale are selected to be in The Whiffenpoofs, the world’s oldest and best-known collegiate a cappella group.

Founded in 1909, the “Whiffs” began as a senior quartet that met weekly at Mory’s Temple Bar. Today, the group has become one of Yale’s most celebrated traditions, performing over 200 concerts across six continents each year.

The Whiffenpoofs have performed everywhere from The White House to “The Today Show” to the Season 4 finale of “Glee.”

On Friday, Jan. 7, The Whiffenpoofs of Yale bring their 100-plus year tradition to the Vilar Performing Arts Center at Beaver Creek for a performance at 7:30 p.m.

More than 100 years ago, on a frosty January night in New Haven, Connecticut, five of the Yale Glee Club’s best singers convened at Mory’s Temple Bar to escape the cold. Louis Linder, the tavern’s barkeep and a music aficionado, welcomed them in, beginning an institution that survives to this day.

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Of those original five singers, four were members of the Glee Club’s prestigious Varsity Quartet, a group that sang together regularly at various alumni events. The group began meeting on a weekly basis at Mory’s, where they improvised harmonies to the songs they loved so well. These weekly meetings soon became a hallowed tradition amongst the singers.

As their fame on campus grew, the quintet began their search for a name. Denton “Goat” Fowler, tickled by a joke featuring a mythical dragonfish named the Whiffenpoof, suggested the name to his companions, who found it an apt reflection of the atmosphere of levity that accompanied the group’s gatherings. The word quickly caught on with the group’s admirers, and the name stuck.

In the years since, each generation of Whiffenpoofs have taken up the mantle of their forebears.

The Whiffenpoofs combine a unique blend of musicianship, choreography and showmanship to create a performance suitable for an array of different audiences. Made famous by the signature “Whiffenpoof Song” (which has been covered by artists like Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee), the Whiffs continue their tradition with performances each year at venues like Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center and the Rose Bowl.

Tickets are $38. Visit VilarPAC.org/the-whiffenpoofs-of-yale for more information and tickets. This performance is part of the VPAC’s Pay Your Age community arts access program — for people 19-30 years of age.

See why The Whiffenpoofs continue to stand the test of time when they make their return to the VPAC.


What: The Whiffenpoofs of Yale

When: Friday, Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek

Cost: $38 [$25 student], or part of the Pay Your Age community arts access program (for ages 19-30 years of age)

More information: Visit VilarPAC.org/the-whiffenpoofs-of-yale

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