Gavin Guerrette, SeniorPhotographer

In celebration of the annual Yale-Harvard football game on Saturday, Nov. 18, many of Yale’s performing arts groups will go onstage alongside their Harvard counterparts.

The Black Student Alliance at Yale will present “The HY-light,” a Black Harvard-Yale student showcase at the O.C. Marsh Lecture Hall — featuring a line-up of groups, including acapella group Shades of Yale and East African dance group DESTA. 

Sketch comedy group “The Fifth Humour” will join improv group “The Purple Crayon” in their annual collaboration with Harvard improv group “On Thin Ice” on the eve of the game. On that same night, Yale and Harvard Glee Clubs and the Radcliffe Choral Society will perform at Woolsey Hall. 

HYLight: Harvard-Yale Black Arts Showcase 

“The HY-light” showcase has been a decade-long tradition, according to William Romain ’26, who said that Afro-American Cultural Center Dean Timeica E. Bethel ’11 had participated in this showcase when she was an undergraduate. This collaboration began when Yale Gospel Choir and the Kuumba Singers of Harvard, a Black music choir group, performed together to “create solidarity” and “uplift Black voices across the diaspora,” said Romain.

Romain said that he was eager to see the “fun, respectful showdown” between Yale and Harvard groups. The showcase’s line-up consists of Yale organizations such as Steppin’ Out, Sabrosura, Shades of Yale, Rhythmic Blue, DZANA, Desta and Yale Gospel Choir, and Harvard groups such as Nigerian dance group Omo Naija, Eritrean and Ethiopian dance troupe Dankira and choir group Kuumba. 

“I am personally excited about watching the active community engagement between both Harvard and Yale dance teams and singing groups,” said Romain. “A lot of Yale groups have a Harvard equivalent, so it will be a fun respectful showdown, which will hopefully bring a lot of people together.” 

“The HYLight”’ showcase is a part of BSAY’s larger Harvard-Yale weekend festivities. 

On Friday night, BSAY will host “The Pre-Gate” at the Afro-American Cultural Center, where students can eat food, listen to music, play games and purchase merchandise. The next morning, before the game, the Afro-American Cultural Center, along with Black sororities and fraternities such as the Zeta Chapter of Alpha Phi Fraternity and the Xi Omicron Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will be hosting “The Tailgate” event at Lot D of the Yale Bowl.   

If there’s anything the Yale and Harvard students can expect, Romain said, it’s a “lot of cheering, a lot of fun and a plethora of Black culture.” Through these collaborations, he hopes that this showcase will offer cultural connection to students. 

“I hope that this stage offers students the chance to connect with one another, especially in a cultural sense as we will be hosting groups that pretty much cover the full African diaspora,” Romain said. 

A Comedic Feast hosted by Purple Crayon, Fifth Humor and On Thin Ice

Yale comedy groups The Purple Crayon and The Fifth Humor and Harvard group On Thin Ice have teamed up for their annual collaboration to deliver laughs to the Harvard-Yale audiences. Tickets for this performance have already sold out, and the event will take place at Dunham Laboratory Auditorium.

For The Purple Crayon member Amara Neal ’26, this year’s comedy event is different from the joint performance at Harvard in the previous year. She will now stand in front of a mostly-familiar audience, as a sophomore who has had a year’s worth of experience under her belt.  

“I think the Harvard audience [at last year’s Harvard-Yale game] was the first time I’ve ever had to perform for an audience that I really had to earn their laughs, which was a little nerve-racking,” said Neal. “Now performing at Yale, one, I’ll feel more comfortable because I’m a sophomore and I’ve done this before. And two, I’m performing with my friends and peers who I have a rapport with.” 

While The Purple Crayon and On Thin Ice have collaborated in years past, this year will mark the first time The Fifth Humor will join their show. As a sketch comedy group, The Fifth Humor performs written skits and scripts — unlike the more on-the-fly jokes of The Purple Crayon and On Thin Ice. 

According to co-president of On Thin Ice Raina Hofstede, Harvard’s sketch comedy group — called “Sketch!” — does not have a consistent presence on Harvard campus, as it reappears “every couple of years,” she said. Hofstede said that she is excited to learn from collaboration with The Fifth Humor. 

“I want to see more of [sketch comedy] at Harvard,” said Hofstede. “I’m excited to see what Fifth Humor brings. If I can talk to them and learn from them after the show that weekend, it would be really great. I’d love to learn more.” 

As the Harvard-Yale game attracts a larger audience of parents, alumni and visitors from outside of Yale, one challenge that emerges for The Fifth Humor is writing jokes that will resonate and engage this new audience, says The Fifth Humor president Betty Kubovy-Weiss ’25. 

While the group takes this shift in audience demographics into consideration, Kubovy-Weiss said that the group “works very hard” to preserve their voice and identity as a college sketch comedy group. As group members often incorporate “socially relevant themes” into their jokes, Kubovy-Weiss said that she hopes the performance will use comedy to create humor even when “the world is awful.” 

“Because this show is coming as a part of a weekend that is so celebratory and joyful, I think that makes it all the more important to focus on the ways in which we can add to the joy of this weekend,” said Kubovy-Weiss. “It can feel frivolous sometimes, to be like ‘Our world is so awful. Why are we all getting so excited about a stupid fucking football game?’ But I think at the end of the day, the world is gonna be awful either way, but we might as well find these moments in which we can have laughter together.”  

Harvard, Yale Glee Club and the Radcliffe Choral Society:        

The Harvard and Yale Glee Clubs and Radcliffe Choral Society — Harvard’s treble chorus — will have their Harvard-Yale Choral Concert at Woolsey Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. 

This concert will premiere several new compositions, including works by Shruthi Rajasekar that will feature dancers from Yale Rangeela and Kalaa, Ismael Huerta, the winner of Yale’s annual Emerging Composers Competition and John Raskopf ’27, the winner of the annual Fenno Heath Award — an award given to Yale student composers.

According to Yale Glee Club musical director Jeffrey Douma, the concert has been a “cherished annual tradition” for more than a century. 

“It’s one of our favorite concerts of the year — the friendly rivalry is always overshadowed by our mutual respect and love of making music together,” wrote Douma in an email to the News. “The concert ends with the choirs singing our alma maters together.”  

According to Yale Glee Club president Awuor Onguru ’24, the concert will also be a “great pep rally” for the game, where the choral groups will sing football medleys and engage in “pranks, joint performances and general merrymaking.”

The Yale-Harvard festivities and performances will begin on Thursday and last all the way until Saturday evening after the iconic sports showdown.

Dating back to 1875, the Harvard-Yale football rivalry is 148 years old.