Yale Whiffenpoof alumni to perform today

■ BY SUE ERWIN    

Former members of one of America’s most acclaimed vocal ensembles, the Whiffenpoofs, will be performing at the Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. Proceeds will benefit The Island School. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the door on the day of the concert.

Founded in 1909, the Whiffenpoofs began as a senior quartet that met for weekly concerts at Mory’s Temple Bar, a famous Yale tavern. The famed group has been featured on NBC, and appeared on television shows like Glee, Jeopardy, and Saturday Night Live, and at the White House for former U.S. presidents.

The current “Whiffs” were once members of the collegiate a cappella singing group while they attended Yale University in New Haven, Conn. The prestigious club selects 14 senior Yale men each year to sing in the club. The men invited usually have years of singing experience along with flawless crooning voices.

Nancy Parker has agreed to administer the event this year.

“I started planning the shows in 2003,” Parker said. “Jim Cowperthwait, an alumnus of Yale, has helped organize the events in the past. This will be the first one we are hosting in the last several years.”

Although the men are older now, Parker thinks each one must experience some nostalgia during the concerts.

“The minute these guys start singing on the stage, they are all smiles. It must take them back to their memories of being in college. And the audience really seems to enjoy watching them perform,” Parker said.

Cowperthwait will be participating in the show this year, as in years past. “We haven’t done a show for a couple of years now, and there’s been quite a bit of anticipation,” he said.

In the past, the performances were held at the Louise DuPont Crowninshield Community House, which seats around 120 people. This year the venue is the Community Center, which can hold up to 200 people.

“I’ll be singing with the group along with Boca Grande fellow alumni John Shaw and Sherman Durfee,” Cowperthwait said. “There’s nothing really formal about it – we’re just a group of graduates who enjoy singing.”

There are more than 60 Yale alums on the island.

Participants will include Whiffenpoofs from Yale graduating classes of the 1950s through the 1980s.

The Whiffenpoof alumni association recently announced a luncheon show planned for noon on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Sarasota Yacht Club, 1100 John Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota. For more information on the Sarasota show, call (941) 365-4191.

America’s first and oldest collegiate a cappella assembly has been performing throughout the United States and the world each year from May through August since it was founded.

For more information, call 964-7595.