The Whiffenpoofs! Have you heard of them? I must admit I hadn’t, but now I know an awful lot about them. Here’s how…
An email came across my desk a week ago through the AWAR (American Womens Association of Rome) Resources line. It said that the Whiffenpoofs would be in Rome and were performing a concert at John Cabot University. They were looking for other concert venues and/or would be willing to sing in exchange for a meal. I love to cook and entertain, so I thought well how hard can that be? Let’s invite them for dinner!
Ok, so if you don’t know already who or what a Whiffenpoof is, let me tell you. The Whiffenpoofs (Whiffs for short) are the oldest collegiate a cappella group in the US. They are all college seniors at Yale University. There are 14 of them, chosen each academic year by the previous group of Whiffenpoofs. This year’s group appeared on the US TV show Glee. The Whiffs are known for upholding the tradition of generally performing in a tux with tails or a suit, and they don’t do any “beat boxing” which is making instrument sounds with their voices. They perform about 100 concerts a year to raise funds for their “World Tour” and this year most of them took the academic year off because of the rigors of their concert schedule. This summer they are visiting 25 countries in 87 days! Click here and watch the video clip, where Mike of the Whiffenpoofs introduces themselves.
My Michael thought I was nuts when I suggested the idea, but I was so tickled by the thought of it that I just moved forward with the planning anyway, trusting that it would be a great evening. We invited about 15 local friends, a mix of Italians, Americans, an Australian, a Spanish/Canadian and an Irish thrown in, to make it interesting! I asked friends to bring a bottle of wine, and I spent Sunday afternoon in the kitchen whipping up pasta sauce, salads and some munchies.
The Whiffs started to arrive a bit before our other guests. They were hot and sweaty from sightseeing, but polite, sweet and very appreciative of our air conditioning and the prospect of a free home cooked meal. Michael and I scurried to open the wine we had available before friends brought more. For the next hour or so, friends streamed in and we all got to know each other a bit. The Whiffs happily sang a few songs before we ate, then gave us a longer concert after dinner. We had thought to take them out to the Re di Roma park nearby to sing for the locals, but as you will hear in the clips below, the accoustics were so good in our living room, and the wine was close by, so we just stayed put.
Unfortunately, no one got a full video of their performance. We have some pictures, audio files and a few video clips which you can see my clicking on the name of the songs below. If you ever get a chance to see them live, it will be a treat that you will long remember. You can visit their website by clicking here and click here to see them performing in concert. Their singing brought tears to my eyes and it’s been days now that I can’t get the songs out of my head. Thanks again guys for a wonderful evening and safe travels!