Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lawrence Eyre Can Sing for His Supper Again

Whiff Lawrence Eyre can sing for his supper again, as he once did, as a member of the Whiffenpoof Club.

The club of Old Blue tradition is open again. How successful is the reincarnation? Our team of reviewers finds out.

Mory’s, that Old Blue bastion of college clubbiness,communal drinking, and (historically) mediocre food, is back from the dead. After years of declining membership and financial strain under a costly labor contract, the club closed in 2008 and fired its employees. Its signature prime rib, Welsh rarebit, and Indian pudding vanished from New Haven.

This summer, Mory’s reopened its doors, boasting a $3.1 million renovation, a new chef, a bar, and much more liberal membership policies. Previously, Mory’s was for Yale students, alumni, and faculty only. The new Mory’s welcomes Yale Rep theatergoers, members of the New Haven Chamber of Commerce, and all university employees, among other groups. Annual dues, which had been rising in recent years, have been lowered. (Students can pay $5 for a membership lasting their whole Yale career.) The goals, says Mory’s president Christopher Getman ’64, are to boost membership and make Mory’s the tradition of a new generation of Yalies. And also: solvency.

The students now have a bar open past nine, the faculty cheaper lunches and fees, the Whiffs a table large enough to seat their whole group, the traditionalists a few Mory’s favorites still on the menu. But will they come? We assembled a crack team of reviewers to scope out the new club. They tell us how the food compares with New Haven’s gourmet scene (and the dining halls), whether the bar is worthy of your birthday party, and how well the decor lives up to the Mory’s of nostalgia.


Rudy Vallee's first major hit--a bit of Yale whimsy given national popularity by the charismatic crooner.

(words Meade Minnegerode; tune attributed to Tod Galloway)

To the tables down at Mory's,
To the place where Louis dwells,
To the dear old Temple Bar
We love so well,

Sing the Whiffenpoofs assembled
With their glasses raised on high,
And the magic of their singing casts its spell.

Yes, the magic of their singing
Of the songs we love so well:
"Shall I, Wasting" and "Mavourneen" and the rest.

We will serenade our Louis
While life and voice shall last
Then we'll pass and be forgotten with the rest.

We are poor little lambs
Who have lost our way.
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We are little black sheep
Who have gone astray.
Baa! Baa! Baa!

Gentlemen songsters off on a spree
Doomed from here to eternity
God have mercy on such as we.
Baa! Baa! Baa!

Much more from Wiki:

The Whiffenpoof Song was published in sheet music form in 1909. It became a hit first for Rudy Vallee in 1927 and later in 1947 for Bing Crosby. It has also been recorded by Elvis Presley, Count Basie, Perry Como, the Statler Brothers and countless others. Mory's refers to Mory's Temple Bar and Louis to a former owner of Mory's. The chorus is derived from the poem "Gentlemen Rankers" by Rudyard Kipling, which was set to music by Guy H. Scull (Harvard '98) and adapted with lyrics by Meade Minnigrode (Yale '10).

The chorus was also used in the movie 12 O'Clock High with Gregory Peck. It can be heard being sung in the background after the unit receives its first unit commendation.


The Yale Whiffenpoofs are the oldest collegiate a cappella group in the United States, established in 1909.[1] Best known for "The Whiffenpoof Song," based on a tune written by Guy H. Scull (Harvard 1898) and adapted with lyrics by Meade Minnigerode (Yale 1910). the group comprises senior men who compete in the spring of their junior year for 14 spots.[3] The business manager and musical director of the group, known in Whiff tradition respectively as the "Popocatepetl" and "Pitchpipe"[4] are chosen by members of the previous year's group, although an alumni organization maintains close ties with the group.

The Whiffenpoofs have performed for generations at a number of venues, including Lincoln Center, the White House, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, McAfee Coliseum, Carnegie Hall and the Rose Bowl. The group has also appeared on television shows such as Jeopardy!, The Today Show, Saturday Night Live, 60 Minutes, Gilmore Girls and The West Wing.

Throughout the school year, the Whiffenpoofs traditionally perform Monday nights at Mory's, known more formally as "Mory's Temple Bar," circulating from room to room singing.

The Whiffs' best-known alumnus may be Cole Porter, who sang in the 1913 lineup of the Whiffenpoofs when he was a student at Yale. Today the group often performs Porter songs in tribute.

The Whiffenpoofs donate part of their proceeds each year to the Whiffenpoof Children's Literacy Initiative, which aims to create 15 literacy centers in 12 countries, including the US. They travel extensively during the school year and take a three-month world tour during the summer. At one time most members were full-time students, but today many members take all or part of the year off and are effectively full-time professional Whiffenpoofs.

The word "whiffenpoof" originated in the 1908 opera Little Nemo by Victor Herbert, based on the comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland by Windsor McCay.