Whiffenpoofs start 2011 in Natchez

Published 1:01 am Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy holidays, Natchez and the Miss-Lou!

Natchez Little Theatre is proud to present for the fifth year in a row, the world renowned men’s a cappella singing group from Yale University, the Whiffenpoofs in their premier concert of their 2011 World Tour at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, at the Natchez Little Theatre Auditorium at 319 Linton Ave. at Maple Street in Natchez.

Every year, 14 senior Yale men are selected to be in the Whiffenpoofs, the world’s oldest and best-known collegiate a cappella group, and their vocal pipes are golden. They just competed on NBC’s “Sing Off.”

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Founded in 1909, the “Whiffs” began as a senior quartet that met for weekly concerts at Mory’s Temple Bar, the famous Yale tavern.Today, the group has become one of Yale’s most celebrated and hallowed traditions. And they are beginning their Centennial International tour here in Natchez!

During the early 1900s, a coveted privilege for any member of the Yale Glee Club was to be chosen to sing in what was then known as the Varsity Quartet. This group was featured in every concert given. In 1909, the name, The Whiffenpoofs, was adopted from the patter of a character in Victor Herbert’s Broadway musical comedy, “Little Nemo.” Whether the word meant fish, flesh or fowl was irrelevant to the group’s purpose when the name was chosen. “Whiffenpoof” fitted with their mood of free and exuberant fancy and it was adopted with enthusiasm. The name quickly caught on with the public and the name stuck.

Over the years many gifted musicians have contributed significantly to the increased artistry of the Gentlemen Songsters. Moreover, good musical backgrounds and training are now common, and the large groups with this kind of equipment make possible a more ambitious repertoire than the earlier members could attempt.

The Yale Whffenpoofs’ repertoire includes “A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square,” “All the Things You Are,” “Bye, Bye Blackbird,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” and many more timeless favorites. The Whiffenpoof song has been recorded by Ella Fitzgerald and Elvis Presley.

I hope you will take advantage of this fantastic opportunity of hearing the world-class Yale Whiffenpoofs in their 2011 Premier Concert in Natchez and meet them at the following reception. It will be an evening that you will not soon forget and the perfect way to start the New Year on the right note! All tickets are $20 and reservations are recommended. For tickets and further information, call 601-442-2233; toll free at 1-877-440-2233 or purchase tickets online at www.natcheztheatre.org.

I look forward to seeing you in the New Year at the Whiffenpoofs Concert at Natchez Little Theatre.

Layne Taylor is the executive and artistic director of the Natchez Little Theatre.