As Yale enters its 50th year of coeducation, the women of Yale’s only SSAA senior a cappella group Whim ’n Rhythm look forward to an empowering year of music and travel.

Whim ’n Rhythm — often affectionately called “Whim” — was founded in 1981. This year’s 12 members were chosen through an audition process that took place last spring and have performed together twice since.

“The group is more than I could have asked for — in musicianship and personality,” said Madi Cupp-Enyard ’20, Whim’s current music director.

As per tradition, the then-juniors convened in the spring to begin rehearsing some of Whim’s repertoire. They then met at a member’s home in Chatham, New York for “bonding and rehearsal time” during the last week of summer, according to Cupp-Enyard.

The group performed along with the other undergraduate a cappella groups, including the Whiffenpoofs, at the Woolsey and Dwight Jams last week.

“I was in an underclassmen women’s group, so I thought I knew what that space was like, but then meeting all the other women in this group and how incredible they are and how we clicked was amazing,” said Whim member Sita Strother ’20. “There’s a certain level of maturity, a certain level of trust.”

This year’s Whim ’n Rhythm class plans to adhere to many of the group’s past traditions, including on-campus performances and an extended world tour after graduation. Yet, Cupp-Enyard said that their world tour will be shorter than last year’s, which lasted
nine weeks.

The group is also excited to cultivate its own unique character. They plan to record a full-length album this year, as opposed to the shorter version produced by last year’s class. Cupp-Enyard also said that they are working on several new arrangements, some of which they will debut at their upcoming family weekend concert. They will also perform new joint arrangements with the Whiffenpoofs, which they commissioned from alumni of the two all-senior a cappella groups.

Members of Whim ’n Rhythm, who will perform at the upcoming celebration of 50 years of women at Yale College, spoke about the significance of participating in
a prominent all-female group
this year.

“It’s such an awesome legacy to be a part of,” said Cupp-Enyard, “We get to go around the world as all these different women from different backgrounds at a high-achieving place who just love to share music.”

Cupp-Enyard added that she is particularly excited to be a black woman directing the group, as she hopes to set an example for younger audiences who might identify with her.

While the women of Whim are rehearsing for their family weekend performance, they are also preparing for a year-long adventure. According to business manager Joanna Wu ’20, planning for the world tour started in March. Wu explained that organizing the trip is “really a multi-year process.” She compared this planning to “trying to put together a bunch of puzzle pieces over time.”

The planning and tours make for a serious time commitment, but members of the Whim Class of 2019–20 said they are looking forward to spending time with each other.

“I’m really excited to have a whole new group of best friends,” Wu said.

Whim ’n Rhythm’s next performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 in Woolsey Hall.

Lindsay Daugherty | lindsay.daugherty@yale.edu 

Correction, Sept. 9: A previous version of this article stated that Whim ‘n Rhythm is an all-female a cappella group. In fact, it is a historically all-female a cappella group now classified as the voice parts “SSAA”, or soprano I, soprano II, alto I and alto II, and not restricted to any gender.