Whiffenpoof Centennial

October 2-4, 2009

On the weekend of October 2-4, 2009, the Yale Whiffenpoofs celebrated the one hundredth aniversary of their founding and gathered for the largest, most successful reunion in their history.  A schedule of events is reproduced below.


11:00am – Symposium: “A Cappella History”

1:00pm – New Whiff Alumni Website Presentation

SWLSWDave Powell ’52 gave a brief of history of how the Whiff website was created and a review of the major components.  Dave had a collection of 600 digitized Whiff arrangements “… the songs we loved so well 1909-2009.”  Frank Newman, Pitchpipe in 2008, suggested this collection be integrated with Dick Gould’s Volume II “Whiffenpoofs Twentieth Century”.  Nathaniel Granor, 2009 Spizzwink?, and a Computer Science major, was contacted to see if such an integration was possible.  Dick Gould reviewed Nathaniel’s proposal and agreed to share his invaluable Volume II data bases for a Whiff website.  Frank Newman agreed to serve as Webmaster.  “Think Creative Group”, a New Haven organization, was hired to design the website.

1:30pm – Panel: Life as a Whiffenpoof

Jacob Siegel ’08 organized a most interesting session, starting with Stowe Phelps ’39 and including representatives from each decade since, each of whom described what is what like to be a Whiff during their tenure. The descriptions of the various social mores, style of singing, performance locations and unique experiences made for a very interesting afternoon.

4:00pm – Common Rehearsal

Always a popular event at Whiff reunions is the opportunity to learn “classic” Whiff arrangements that weren’t in your group’s repertoire. Under the leadership of John Burke, this rehearsal, and a similar one scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday, proved to be equally as popular at the Centennial.

Whiffs in Battell

8:00pm – Whiffenpoof Concert (Woolsey Hall)

John Bader ’85 offered to manage this major event of the Centennial weekend. It is difficult to list the amount of work involved in such an endeavor. Scheduling who is going to sing what songs, at what time, is only the beginning. Getting the support networks, lighting- audio- recording-photographing-televising-rehearsal times and locations, was another key element of John’s job. Last, but certainly not the least, was getting the participants ready to get on and off the stage at the appointed times was the final test of John’s organizational skill.

The end result was an outstanding success!  John thanks for five hours of wonderful singing and camaraderie in the process. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.


Saturday, October 3

9:30am – Update On Morys

The speakers at the meeting in Battell Chapel included Jonathan Ingham, Whiff ’65, Doug Bloom, La Quisine Restaurant Operator, and Professor Doug Rae from the School of Management, who reviewed the “Highlights of the Mory’s Business Plan.” The following Q and A session helped to clarify many of the questions about the status of our “home away from home.”

10:30am – Yale-Lafayette Football Game

Football TicketFollowing a delicious “tailgate” meal in the Whiff Tent adjacent to the Bowl, 300-350 Whiffs gathered between the 30 yard lines at half time to serenade the few remaining in the stands with our “hymn” under the capable leadership of John Burke, who fortunately didn’t fall off his conductor’s platform.

Whiffs on the field

5:30pm – Cocktails at Sterling Memorial Library

Barry McMurtrey organized a Sterling Library cocktail party which did us all proud. Surrounded by his outstanding displays of Whiff memorabilia that he created for the Centennial, we availed ourselves of the generous libations that were served from several bars set up in convenient locations. Delicious hors d’oeuvres were consumed with great gusto when not in the middle of a song, and upon occasion while still singing.

Then on to the Whiff Parade leading us to the banquet at Commons.

8:00pm – Banquet at Commons

Bill Barnard set the stage for the event with his 30 x 42 foot Whiff banner at the west end of the commons and the red bulbs in all the chandeliers.


After dinner, and a few moments to recognize honored guests and thank those who produced this outstanding banquet, 600 Whiffs encircled the Commons for the final “To the tables…”

Whiff Song at the banquet

Sunday, October 4

10:00am – Memorial Service

The concluding event for the Centennial was the service at Sprague Hall Sunday morning to give thanks for the gift we share in song, and to remember those that have departed our ranks since the last reunion in 2004.

Peter Sipple, Sharon Kugler, Clarke Oler, Ken Bardach, Al Altherton, and Kon Mattaei

Memorial Service