Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yale Whiffenpoofs to sing in Ketchum

Collegiate singers have toured the nation and world

Express Staff Writer

The Yale Whiffenpoofs perform at Sun Valley Resort. The collegiate group will perform in Ketchum this week.
Express file photo

    For more than a century, Yale University in Connecticut has chosen 14 senior men with good voices and charming personalities to tour the world as part of the Whiffenpoofs a capella singing group.
    On Thursday, Oct. 16, the Whiffenpoofs will perform twice in Ketchum. The annual event is a fundraiser for the Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree.
    The performances will take place at Cristina’s restaurant at noon, and at Despo’s restaurant at 12:45 p.m.  This year’s sponsors are Bob and Skippy Kershaw and the Orwig family.
    According to the Whiffenpoofs website, “more than 100 years ago, on a frosty January night in New Haven, Conn., 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.”
    Four of the original singers were members of the Yale Glee Club’s prestigious Varsity Quartet. They sang together regularly at various alumni events, but also met weekly at Mory’s, where they improvised harmonies to the songs they loved. Denton “Goat” Fowler offered a name for the quintet, based on a mythical dragonfish named the Whiffenpoof. The name stuck.
    Since 1909, successive generations have filled the shoes of former Whiffenpoofs, traveling around the country and around the world. The group will arrive in Sun Valley from a tour that has recently brought them to Washington D.C., London, Dublin, Morocco and Tanzania.
    The origins of “The Whiffenpoof Song” can be traced to a 1907 winter trip by the Yale Glee Club. Two of the group’s founding members wrote a humorous adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling poem “Gentleman Rankers.” After performing it for the first time at Mory’s Temple Bar, the singers declared it their anthem, “to be sung at every meeting, reverently standing,” states their website.
    In the 105 years since that first performance, each class of Whiffenpoofs has sung “The Whiffenpoof Song” at the end of every concert as a celebration of brotherhood and tradition. The song has been recorded by Rudy Vallée, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong and countless others.

“The Whiffenpoof Song”
“To the tables down at Mory’s, to the place where Louis dwells
To the dear old Temple Bar we love so well
Sing the Whiffenpoofs assembled, with their glasses raised on high
And the magic of their singing casts its spell”


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