Whim 'n Rhythm and Whiffenpoofs

The Whiffenpoofs and Whim ’n Rhythm last Tuesday held a joint concert at the Yale Club of New York City, where they performed crossover solos — in which Whim members sang solos with the Whiffs and vice versa — for the first time in the history of both a cappella groups.

The Whiffenpoofs and Whim ’n Rhythm, Yale’s historically all-male and all-female a cappella groups, announced in February that they would consider accepting singers of all genders. While the groups have held joint concerts for several years in a variety of venues, including Woolsey Hall during Commencement Week, the Tuesday concert — attended by approximately 200 people — marked the first time members performed crossover solos. Both groups also performed crossover solos at their annual Spring Concert in New York City at Brick Church last Thursday, which ended with a joint rendition of “The Goodnight Song.”

“Whim and Whiffs are more much collaborative than meets the eye,” Kwasi Enin ’19, a member of the Whiffs, told the News. “We’re trying to change the narratives of our storied and juxtaposed groups into one of equitable senior a cappella at Yale.”

During the Tuesday concert, two Whim members performed crossover solos, with one singing “Operator,” a song that is considered a Whiff classic. Both members sang their respective solos in the original octaves that were arranged by the Whiffs. Additionally, one Whiff member performed “Landslide” with Whim.

According to Katherine Anstreicher ’18, a member of Whim, both crossover solos and joint renditions of songs are recent developments in the two groups’ histories. The groups arranged “The Goodnight Song” last year and performed it jointly for the first time at Commencement in 2017, Anstreicher said.

“Crossover solos are a great way to show appreciation for each other’s repertoire, as well as to show that many women can sing men’s parts and vice versa,” Anstreicher said. “It’s not so much about gender as it is vocal range and singing style.”

Gabriella Borter ’18, Whim’s business manager and former Magazine Editor, said alumni from both groups were in the audience and appeared “very enthused” by the performances, including the crossover solos.

“I also loved how supportive Whim and Whiff were of each other throughout the concert,” Anstreicher said. “We each sang two short sets and it was so fun to look out into the audience and to see the Whiffenpoofs cheering us on from the back row.”

Anstreicher said the groups were nervous about the crossover solos because they did not have much time to rehearse them, but the alumni response was “overwhelmingly” positive.

She added that she thought the groups sounded “amazing” when performing their joint rendition of “The Goodnight Song.” It was their fourth time singing it together this year, she said, and the best performance yet.

The collaborative atmosphere carried over to the two group’s off-stage activities, as well. They put on a workshop with the Young People’s Chorus of NYC and shared pizza before the show, before meeting up with alumni at a bar afterwards, Enin said.

Jever Mariwala | jever.mariwala@yale.edu