Singing Group Jamboree Rocks Woolsey Hall

Saturday, May 28, 2005 | View all images

Don Gooding solos "On Broadway" with the Whiffs at Woolsey Hall, Saturday afternoon of Reunion weekend.

One of the highlights of Reunion Weekend is always the Singing Group Jamboree on Saturday afternoon at Woolsey Hall.

The concert began with the alumni from the Glee Club, hailing from many different classes. The legendary Fenno Heath returned to the stage to conduct this assembled troupe, as he had directed the various members in so many years past.

Their performance was highlighted by a thrilling rendition of "Ride the Chariot" with a breathtaking lead vocal performed by Broadway star Christianne Tisdale '85.

Veteran songsters took the stage next, with Seems Like Old Times, or S.L.O.T. This superb harmony group is comprised of Whiffenpoof members from the Classes of the 1940s and 1950s. These chaps remain in fine voice, and the crowd was enthusiastic in their applause.

Fenno Heath conducted Yale's newest a-cappella group - the assembled audience! - in two campus favorites: "Aura Lee" and "Eli Yale." After a somewhat stumbled beginning - OK, stern taskmaster Heath made us all start over again - the crowd sang these classic tunes with suitable gusto. And almost all in tune!

The Whiffs of 1960 and 1970 brought a sentimental smile, a few tears, and loud cheers, but then it was time for the afternoon's genuine highlight - the return of the 1980 Whiffenpoofs.

After days of drilling, the gentleman songsters were in first-rate singing voice. They opened with the title number from the newly-remastered senior recording, "On Broadway." Don Gooding soloed, with Bill Kasimer joining him for harmony in the duet.

Pitchpipe Richard Slade brought the house to a hush with his stunning rendition of "When Sunny Gets Blue," with elegant backing from the re-assembled group. Those rehearsals were certainly well spent, as evidenced here!

Joe Teig stepped forward to showcase his brilliant scat singing and impressive "horn playing" in the rollicking "Little Pony." The Whiffs showcased their polished harmonies on this rousing jazz swing number. The crowd cheered long and hard as our classmates left the stage.

Whim 'n' Rhythm was up next, comprised of women from the Classes of 1985 and 1990, tapped as the best senior singers of their day. Their rendition of "Harmon" was elegant, complex, and harmonically exciting.

The afternoon was completed with the newest group, The Audience, once again called to perform. What would they sing? "Bright College Years," of course! Handerchiefs waved throughout Woolsey Hall.

Many a sentimental eye was dabbed as we headed out into the glorious afternoon towards our Class Dinners, after an excellent concert of song and sentiment. Sing the Class of 1980, with our glasses raised on high!

- Jack Thomas

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