Opera House: Whiffenpoofs, 1/5

Opera House: Whiffenpoofs, 1/5

Telluride’s Sheridan Arts Foundation presents an evening of collegiate a cappella at the Sheridan Opera House with Yale’s premiere group, The Whiffenpoofs. Concert takes place at the Sheridan Opera House, Telluride, Thursday, January 5, 2017, 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adult; $10 for students 18 and under.  (6 p.m. doors/SHOW Bar opens). Tickets here or call 970-728-6363 x 5.


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

More than 100 years ago, (in 1909) 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. Four of the men were members of the Glee Club’s prestigious Varsity Quartet, a group that sang together regularly at various alumni events. Unwilling to restrict themselves to performances at public functions, the men 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 and The “Whiffs,” which began as a senior quartet that met for weekly musical fun at Mory’s, evolved into one of Yale’s most celebrated traditions.


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. They found the name 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. After 106 years, the name, the song, and the weekly date at Mory’s have remained inviolate traditions that continue to bind the iconic group together.


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