Courtesy of the Whiffenpoofs and Whim 'n Rhythm

Hundreds flocked to Instagram earlier this week to extend their congratulations to the freshly announced tap classes of the Whiffenpoofs and Whim ’n Rhythm. The two senior a cappella groups made their tap announcements this past Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

New members come from a variety of singing backgrounds, and many have been involved in non-senior a cappella and music groups, including The Alley Cats, The Baker’s Dozen, Cadence of Yale, Yale Glee Club, Magevet, Marquand Chapel Choir, Mixed Company, The New Blue, Yale Repertory Chorus, Something Extra and the student band Seldom Street, which is signed to 17o1 Records. The Whiffs announced 14 new taps and Whim announced 11.

The members of the Whiffenpoofs class of 2025, who will be required to take gap years to tour and record an album, are Pilar Bylinsky ’25, Yara Chami ’25, John Colbert ’25, Joey Cumpian ’25, Krishna Davis ’25, Sophie Dvorak ’25, Caroline Fai ’25, Jason Han ’25, Charlie Karner ’25, Rory Latham ’25, Adam McPhail ’25 — a Science & Technology editor at the News — and Noah Stein ’25. Josh Bock ’25 was tapped as the business manager and Logan Foy ’25 is the incoming musical director. They will now all join the class of 2026.  

“This was a [one-time] audition, which eliminated the long game of waiting to hear back,” Dvorak wrote to the News about the Whiffs’ audition process. “We had to prepare an excerpt from a quartet as well as a solo in the Whiffenpoof rep, as well as an individual solo. Once in the audition, there were some ear training exercises and we were taught an additional quartet in real time.”

In 2018, both the Whiffs and Whim started tapping members of all genders. Whiffs was originally all-male, and Whim originally all-female.  

Bylinsky expressed her desire for increased participation of women and non-binary individuals in the Whiffenpoofs, commenting that “[the] Whiffs just recently shifted from being all-male, so [she’s] excited about being in the early cohort of women joining the group.”

“The Whiffs exist in this sort of threshold space, upheld by a long commitment to tradition while also incorporating new/modern genres of music and styles of performance,” Dvorak said. “My hope is that, as the Whiffs become more diverse, the organization and alumni not only accommodate that diversity but embrace it.” 

The reveal of the Whiffenpoofs’ new class followed the release of the class of 2023’s album — “Magical Thinking” — which was released to all streaming services on Feb. 9, 2024. 

The album “goes a few layers deep,” according to 2023 Whiffs class member Adrien Rolet ’24. The name has a triple-meaning, referring to the album’s musical theme, a Joan Didion book and a 2023 Whiffs inside joke — a “company secret, sorry!” Rolet said.

Rolet revealed that it has been an unofficial tradition that each Whiffs album title is a reference to a story or joke from that year.

The Whim ’n Rhythm 2025 tap class includes Karen Ayoub ’25, Marie Bong ’25, Hajin Kim ’25, Michelle Luh ’25, Julia Mangual ’25, Meridian Monthy ’25, Bella Osgood ’25, Ivana Ramirez ’25 and Raina Sparks ’25. Violet Barnum ’25 was tapped as the group’s musical director and Sarah Shapiro ’25 will become Whim business manager.

Whim ’n Rhythm members tour during the winter and spring of their senior year, as well as in the summer following their commencement, allowing members to continue their education while also being part of the group. 

“Whim has fluctuated in size and structure a bit more than the Whiffs since its founding,” said current Whim member Adia Keene ’24. The group began with seven singers in 1981, but that number has fluctuated between 11 and 14 members. The new Whim class’s 11 members, all women and non-binary identifying students this year, are fewer than the 13 members of the previous year’s cohort

Unlike the audition processes for underclass a cappella groups, which often take an entire month, the Whim process only lasted one day in February, following a short social event earlier in the month for interested students to get to know current members better.

“We prepared a section from one of Whim’s arrangements in our vocal part of choice, sang vocal warm-ups, completed an ear training exercise, and performed a snippet of a solo song of our choice,” said Shapiro. 

At the end of auditions, new taps spoke about being asked questions — such as, “Why do you want to be in Whim?” and “How do you handle conflict?” — emphasizing the importance of group chemistry in the selection process.

When asked what attracted her to Whim, Barnum spoke about her interest in the pitch, or musical director, position. She had been involved with a number of singing groups before but had never had the chance to musically-direct one. After hearing Isabella Zou ’23 — a past Whim ’n Rhythm member — speak positively about her experience pitching Whim, Barnum found herself wanting to try her own hand at the position.

Whim is an SSAA choir, meaning that it consists of two distinct soprano and two alto sections, as opposed to the Whiffenpoofs — a TTBB choir comprising two tenor and two bass sections.

Since 2018, both the Whiffs and Whim have welcomed members of all genders. However, in 2022, the Yale Singing Group Council implemented a uniform policy requiring that all a cappella groups consider rushees of all genders, regardless of the often-gendered vocal range labels.

New taps of both The Whiffenpoofs and Whim ’n Rhythm expressed their excitement about connecting with their tap classes, several stating satisfaction that both senior a cappella groups are able to bring together students from all different musical backgrounds. 

Ramirez highlighted looking forward to the yearly Library Jam event where the new Whiffs and Whim taps perform their first group performances together in Sterling Memorial Library.

The date for this event, as well as the official calendars for the 2025 Whiffs and Whim tours, have yet to be released.

The Whiffenpoofs and Whim ’n Rhythm — along with the Society of Orpheus and Bacchus — are the only three groups that have weekly engagements at Mory’s Temple Bar.

Cody Skinner covers art exhibitions, performances, and fashion. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he is a first-year in Franklin College majoring in computer science.