Yale Whiffenpoofs Perform for Villa Maria

Yale University’s famed a capella group, the Whifffenpoofs, performed for a very enthusiastic audience of Villa students at Villa Maria on November 7. Villa senior Maria Fennell interviewed the singers prior to their show.

By Maria Fennell VMA ’20

When I introduce you to the school, I will share some information about the history and accomplishments of your group. Is there anything specific you would like me to include? Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
We are the country’s oldest collegiate a cappella group. Recently we have performed on the Sing-Off, made a guest appearance on Glee, sung at Carnegie Hall, and serenaded several sitting or ex-presidents.

Does your group have any traditions, large or small? What are your favorites?
We sing the Whiffenpoof Song at the end of every concert, and we invite up any alumni at the performance to come sing it with us. It is always moving to welcome our predecessors back to the stage.

What is your rehearsal process like? Does it change as you get closer to a performance?
Since we all take a gap year in between junior and senior years of college, our rehearsal schedule is quite flexible. In August and September, we probably averaged 15 hours/week. We have done about 60 performances so far!

What is the best thing that has come out of your experience with this group?
The positive experiences we create for our audiences!

Has anything been difficult about your involvement in this group? How do you balance your membership with your other commitments?
Our performance and touring schedule is quite ambitious, and, on top of that, we have to pay our rent in New Haven.  Time can get a little tight!

For those of your members who are not music majors, what do you feel has been most beneficial about your experience with this group? Do you plan on staying involved in music after you graduate?
None of the Whiffenpoofs are music majors.  We all are constantly growing as musicians this year and plan to keep music in our lives even if most of us will not pursue it as a career.