The ship has sailed
Concerning the all-male tradition of the Whiffenpoofs, that ship has already sailed. In response to a chronic absence of first tenors from reunions during the 1990s, our group tapped a Whim ’n Rhythm alumna, making her the first-ever, female Whiffenpoof, as far as we are aware. She has shown up faithfully and blended beautifully with our group at subsequent reunion performances.
The notion that a female voice might diminish the “all-male choral sound” was rendered moot long ago by the inclusion of countertenors in most all-male groups. A talented, carefully selected female singer can match and blend seamlessly with a countertenor and vice-versa. As for preserving the image of “gentlemen songsters, out on a spree,” this hoary archetype has surely outlived its Victorian-era roots.
Times change and so does the music. Get over it, guys.
John T. Langfitt ’81 and Ian Ayres ’81 were members of the Whiffenpoofs.