Home"The Sing-Off" Season 2 Group Profile: Yale Whiffenpoofs

Evan Feist's picture

"The Sing-Off" season two begins Monday, December 6 on NBC. Ten amazing groups will compete for a Sony recording contract and cash prizes. We'll be featuring profiles of each group leading up to the debut, and during the show's run, we'll have a review of each episode. Have an opinion on any of the groups, or the show? Comment on any article or our forum

Celebrating their HUNDREDTH YEAR in 2009, the "Whiffs" (Yale Whiffenpoofs) are the oldest a cappella group in the United States.  Period. 

Traditionally, the group is comprised of 14 Yale seniors. Their traditions have been imitated (but never duplicated) and they’ve written the book in many respects.  But not all their customs have caught on.  The business manager and musical director, in Whiff tradition, respectively, are known as the "Popocatepetl" (an active volcano) and "Pitchpipe" (a device used to derive pitch).

Embedded within the historical zeitgeist, due to famous alumni such as Cole Porter, and their role in Mel Brook’s "Young Frankenstein" and (in my opinion) the best episode of "The West Wing", the Yale Whiffenpoofs put their name to good use.  A portion of their proceeds each year is donated to the Whiffenpoof Children's Literacy Initiative, which aims to create 15 literacy centers in 12 countries, including the United States.

The Whiffenpoofs are known the world over and obviously deserve a slot in this years "Sing-Off" competition.  Their madrigal style has been copied by hundreds of groups and although they are known more for spirituals and more glee-club style songs (as opposed to Top 40 or Rock), it will be very interesting to see what they bring to the table this season.

Make sure to catch The Whiffs (12/6 on NBC @ 8PM) assembled, suited-up, “with their glasses raised on high” while “the magic of their singing casts its spell”. http://www.whiffenpoofs.com/

Main profiles page: http://www.casa.org/content/sing-season-2-group-profiles

About the author:
Evan Feist has been composing, arranging, teaching, and singing a cappella music and vocal percussion for over eight years and has his Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Composition and Arts Management from SUNY Purchase's Conservatory of Music and is working towards his Master' Degree in Music Education at Columbia University, Teacher's College.  He has created and managed many successful groups, such as the A Cappella Innovations’ honored Choral Pleasure, SUNY Purchase Soul Voices, and the Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK Honors Choir.  Evan is the founder and president of Oven Feast Productions, and the business manager of Stacks of Wax Records, currently based out of Jersville Studios. He dabbles in all things musical and plays the piano, drums, percussion, trumpet, shofar, bass, and guitar.  Evan is currently building a collegiate mixed a cappella group in NYC (open to ALL students in the area)