The world’s oldest and best-known collegiate a cappella group, the Whiffenpoofs of Yale are set to perform their only New Zealand concerts this week (August 18 and 19) at Queenstown’s Hotel St Moritz.
Every year 14 senior Yale University men are selected to be in the Whiffenpoofs and once a year in the spring the seniors tour the world serenading people with their inimitable style of a cappella.
Founded in 1909, the “Whiffs” began as a senior quartet that met for weekly concerts at Mory’s Temple Bar, the famous Yale tavern. Today, the group has become one of Yale’s most celebrated traditions.
St Moritz has a long-standing and much-loved relationship with the group who have been performing at the hotel for the last 13 years.
It was back in 2003 when the Whiffenpoofs were on their way to China that they had to make a last minute change of country due to the SARS outbreak, in order to keep their world tour going.
Hotel St Moritz in Queenstown came to the rescue and it was acting general manager Jo Finnigan who offered to host the group who in turn “sang for their supper” as a gesture of thanks.
“New Zealand was deemed a perfect place to detour to as we were far away from the outbreak. We’re delighted to have hosted them each and every year since, they always perform with gusto and passion,” said Ms Finnigan.
“They’ve performed with us over the last 12 years in our restaurant Lombardi and have been known to break out into impromptu birthday serenades to our guests. It’s always fun when they visit and is something you have to see to appreciate. It sends shivers up your spine. They are fantastic.”
This will be the 13th Year the Whiffenpoofs have performed at St Moritz for their world tour and this year there will be two performances on 18and 19 August.
The special performances will take place in the Library at Lombardi restaurant which starts at 7pm and includes a set three course dinner for $75, with all profits going to national charity Cure Kids.
“Lombardi is a wonderful space and enables us to host such exciting events, like the Whiffenpoofs. We’re always looking at ways to offer our guests and locals something a little unique which epitomises everything St Moritz stands for,” said Ms Finnigan.
“Hosting intimate gatherings with exceptional talent, award-winning cuisine and perfectly-matched wines is what makes us special. It enables people to sample the delights of our signature restaurant Lombardi while experiencing something they may never get the chance to again in their lifetime.
“The Whiffenpoofs are an institution renowned the world over and we’re honoured to host them each year. We’re all groupies here and excited to see what this year’s tour has in store for us,” she said.