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Friday, November 19, 2010

Personal Notes on the Whiffenpoofs



Lawrence Eyre was at the Whiffenpoof celebration.



Lawrence Eyre:
I sang at the Whiffenpoof centennial celebration last fall in New Haven. There are several Youtube postings of the 600+ (out of 800 living) Whiffs belting out the Whiffenpoof Song, led by the now octogenarian youngest daughter of one of the founding 1909 Whiffs--a poignant, powerful moment for all of us.

Over the last century, it's been a traditional honor each year for one member of the group to sing the two-word solo in the Whiffenpoof song--"then we'll" ("...pass and be forgotten with the rest.") for the Whiffs of 1970, I was that guy. At Yale reunions, "then we'lls" seek each other out; there's no special handshake, but we do share a bond. I will try to email you the 1970 Whiffenpoofs' version of the Whiff song so you can hear the 'world's shortest solo' for yourself.

There is an all- century cd, Whiffenpoofs: a virtual concert, that draws on 1200+ songs recorded as far back as 1915. The cd includes "one minute more"--one of my solos from the 1970 Whiff album.

When I started singing in the Moline Boys' choir, I had no idea it would lead to such lifelong joy.

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The Whiffenpoof Song

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 highand the magic of their singing casts its spell
The origins of The Whiffenpoof Song can be traced to a 1907 winter trip by the Yale Glee Club, when two of the group's founding members created a humorous adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling poem, "Gentleman Rankers." Upon the conclusion of the song's premiere at Mory's Temple Bar, the singers declared it their anthem, "to be sung at every meeting, reverently standing." In the hundred years since, each class of Whiffenpoofs has sung The Whiffenpoof Song at the end of every concert as a celebration of brotherhood and tradition. The song has been recorded by Rudy VallĂ©e, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, and countless others.