On selected Fridays, The A Cappella Blog publishes a fact, statistic or piece of history from collegiate a cappella. We welcome readers to share their own bits of uncommon knowledge, or to pose questions if there's a Friday Factoid they'd like to see.
The first collegiate a cappella group was the Yale Whiffenpoofs. The group was founded in 1909, and its name originated from the 1908 opera Little Nemo. The group began as the Varsity Quartet of the Yale Glee Club. From there, it expanded and began performing weekly at a tavern at Yale.
To this day, all members of the Whiffenpoofs are senior men, who audition in the spring of their junior years. There are now 14 spots on the roster.
The Whiffenpoofs are marking their 100th birthday this month, and will commemorate it with a gala concert in New Haven, CT on January 31. The event will feature the current group, as well as music from members past, all hosted by group alumni, John Hodgman, of Daily Show and Mac commercial fame, and singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton.
The Whiffenpoofs released a new CD, We Meet Again Tonight, at the spring 2008 Yale graduation. You can get a glimpse of the group that produced this album here as they perform for President George H.W. Bush and here as they perform their signature "Whiffenpoof Song."
Sources: Whippenpoofs.com; wikipedia.org; Patrick Rafter