Sunday, February 1, 2009

Poofing it



I always arrive at my alma mater with a smile, even on a frigid late January day (Zorro & I agreed that 22F in New Haven feels like 22F nowhere else).  Spent the morning at a Yale v Princeton squash tournament to see a classmate's daughter play and then wandered around campus, bought and began devouring my first Graham Greene novel, and headed to dinner with classmates Greg and Jeff and families, then to the kickoff concert for the Whiffenpoof Centennial Year.

Lawrence Hall on the Old Campus (pictured above) is where it all began for me---a suburban midwestern lad of 18, off to the unknown, landed on the 4th floor of the middle entry.  Two childhood friends as classmates, but knew no others in a class of 1200.  I was off and running. Yale changed everything for me, 'the shortest gladdest years of life.'  

By a stroke of luck, I was tapped for the Whiffenpoofs at the end of my junior year and was privileged to join a long roster of Whiffs reaching back to January 1909, when five Yalies (see above) assembled at Mory's and began a Monday night tradition of a cappella song, drink, and grub that lasted for 100 years. 

This year, we celebrate the Whiff Centennial---a year long celebration which kicked off last night in New Haven at a concert in Woolsey Hall and culminates in a reunion celebration in October.  

Not sure how many living Whiffs remain---800 thereabouts, I imagine.  Our quinquennial reunions in New Haven are songfests that span the generations.  Last night, we were treated to groups from the 40s, 70s and the current Whiffs of 2009.  Sally recorded a tradition we enjoy at every reunion---when the current group invites the alumni in the audience to come onstage and join in the singing of The Whiffenpoof Song.


video

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