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Whiffenpoofs journey to Florida amid pandemic

Courtesy of Sadé Elizabeth

On Feb. 8, the Whiffenpoofs — Yale’s oldest and most well-known a cappella group — left New Haven for Florida.

In a typical yr, the Whiffenpoofs conduct upwards of 200 concert events in members’ hometowns and around the globe. However whereas the group shouldn’t be holding dwell performances this yr, the Whiffenpoofs plan to rehearse, maintain digital performances and document music in Florida. Their journey this month is an outlier in the course of the pandemic, since all different campus a cappella teams proceed to chorus from touring or rehearsing in particular person, in accordance with the Yale Singing Group Council’s pointers. 

The group will stay in Florida till Feb. 27, after they plan on returning to New Haven.

“The group is in Florida to give attention to recording our album, performing just about and conducting our auditions,” Whiffenpoofs Enterprise Supervisor Tavi Wolfwood ’21+1 wrote in an e mail to the Information. “We’re not performing dwell in-person.”

Wolfwood mentioned members are isolating themselves of their rental house in Florida in the course of their keep and ordering groceries to their doorstep. Wolfwood added that the group is following all federal pointers for quarantine and isolation, by adhering to each Connecticut and Florida state pointers.

Previous to their departure, all group members quarantined in New Haven. The Information independently verified that each one 14 present Whiffenpoofs members obtained three detrimental PCR exams for COVID-19 within the week earlier than they departed. In a social media put up, members talked about that they traveled to Florida by automobile, stayed in an Airbnb and ordered all their meals. Members plan to quarantine upon their return to New Haven as effectively.

Final yr, the Yale Singing Group Council — the umbrella group for a cappella teams on campus — launched an announcement requiring digital rehearsals for a cappella teams. In accordance with this requirement, different on-campus a cappella teams together with Yale’s all-senior Whim n’ Rhythm, which regularly collaborates with the Whiffenpoofs, aren’t touring or rehearsing in particular person this semester.

“Jam performances, even these occurring within the spring, will possible should be reimagined to occur just about,” their announcement reads. “If in-person social gatherings amongst teams are permitted, they are going to be restricted in attendance and singing won’t be allowed.”

Though the Whiffenpoofs fall below the SGC, the council’s co-chairs, Cosette Davis ’21, Zach Taylor ’21+1 and Aidan O’Connor ’21, wrote to the Information noting the SGC is “principally involved with non-senior singing teams that, not like the Whiffs, fall below YCDO jurisdiction as registered scholar organizations.”

Because the Whiffenpoofs elected to take a go away of absence to take part totally within the ensemble this yr, they needn’t adhere to scholar journey laws set by the Yale School Dean’s Workplace. 

Nonetheless, the Whiffs’ journey itinerary to Florida — one of many states with the very best price of COVID-19 infections  — is a departure from the choices undertaken by the remainder of the a cappella neighborhood.

Yale’s different all-senior a cappella group, Whim ’n Rhythm, is singing remotely with none in-person part to make sure that no motion taken by Whim locations any particular person in danger, members mentioned in a press release to the Information.

“We’ve had in depth conversations with different Yale singing teams about how we are able to proceed to make music collectively in compliance with the YCDO pointers for singing teams, which advise in opposition to in-person practices and performances,” Whim ’n Rhythm members wrote in a joint assertion to the Information, including that their main focus has been “defending and preserving the well being of ourselves and people within the communities we name house.” 

The Whiffenpoofs had been based in 1909.

Emily Tian | emily.tian@yale.edu



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