From the jazzy a cappella of the Whiffenpoofs to the electric guitar-accompanied rocking of the St. Thomas More Choirs, the 10th annual Songs for Soup show in Battell Chapel had the audience holding hands and dancing around the church.
This year’s lineup included Redhot & Blue, Steppin’ Out, Whim ‘n Rhythm, and the Yale Klezmer Band. Held Sunday night, the show raised about $10,000 for the St. Thomas More soup kitchen.
Brandon Schneider ’06 of Steppin’ Out said he enjoyed the performance.
“It’s a good experience, a great show for a good cause,” Schneider said.
In addition to the traditional sounds of the a cappella groups, other performers offered unique styles of music. Steppin’ Out performed a step dance piece and the St. Thomas More Choirs were accompanied by a brass section and electric and bass guitars. People danced through the aisles while the Yale Klezmer band — a Jewish group which plays traditional Eastern European folk music — played.
“It’s wonderful to see the community come out in this weather, and it makes you think of the people who have to sleep out there,” said Matt Wrather ’02, a choir member and program director for St. Thomas More.
The six groups sang to an audience of more than 100 students and New Haveners.
Community member Richard Perusi called the show “awesome.”
“It’s great music for a great cause,” Perusi said.
Also present in the audience this year were two of the founders of the Singing for Soup show, Rachel Vuolo ’96 and Tony Vuolo ’95. Tony Vuolo said the first show was held in an effort to help buy a new oven for the church’s kitchen. Both used their Yale musical connections — Tony Vuolo invited his a cappella group, the Whiffenpoofs, and Rachel brought a newer group she helped found, Redhot & Blue, to perform a fund-raising concert for the soup kitchen.
“We were really excited when we started it,” Rachel Vuolo said. “We just pushed and then the show was packed.”
The show has since grown as new groups and a raffle drawing were added.
“I’m very impressed that it’s been continuing,” Rachel Vuolo said. “I didn’t think it would keep going for 10 years when we first started it.”
The St. Thomas More soup kitchen, located on Park Street behind Davenport, is open on Wednesdays from 12 to 1 p.m. It is staffed by volunteers and receives food from Commons Dining Hall, the Davenport College Dining Hall, Shaw’s and the Connecticut Food Bank.
“It takes many hands to make something like this happen,” said Sister Jo-Ann Veillette, the associate chaplain of St. Thomas More.
In addition to serving meals, the kitchen also has students and faculty from the Yale Law School to help guests with housing issues, said Father Robert Beloin, the chaplain of St. Thomas More. A nurse is also present to give medical aid and a social worker to help with job issues.
“It is inspiring to see students with busy lives make such a commitment to the soup kitchen,” Beloin said.
The soup kitchen hopes to continue the show in coming years, and volunteers said they hope people will continue to show their support.
“It’s a wonderful show,” Matt Gabbard ’07 of Redhot & Blue said. “It’s great to be able to sing and make a difference.”
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