Whiffenpoofs Are All-Male No More; Woman Accepted To Sing Tenor

New Haven Register, Conn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Sofia Campoamor will make history singing tenor 1 with the Whiffenpoofs, the nation’s oldest collegiate singing group, founded in 1909.

NEW HAVEN

The 109-year-old all-male bastion of a cappella groups has admitted its first woman, the Yale Daily News reported Tuesday.

The Whiffenpoofs, which on Feb. 1 announced that they would consider accepting singers of any gender — as did the all-female group Whim ‘n Rhythm, posted their class of 2019 lineup on Facebook Tuesday, with Sofía Campoamor listed among the 14 members. Both the Whiffenpoofs and Whim ‘n Rhythm are composed of seniors.

“I hope that my joining the Whiffs will energize the conversation around senior a cappella,” Campoamor told the Yale Daily News. “I think it’s only the beginning — I don’t think we have finished creating an equitable and inclusive system for all senior a cappella singers.”

Campoamor, a mezzo-soprano who said she sings various parts in different settings, will sing tenor 1 with the Whiffenpoofs, she said Wednesday in an email She is musical director with the all-gender group Mixed Company of Yale University, according to that group’s web page.

She lists her hometown as Washington, D.C., and her favorite music as Sara Bareilles, Noah Gundersen and Ingrid Michaelson. In the email, she said she is a music major.

Both senior groups had said they would audition singers of any gender, including “transgender, gender-nonbinary and gender-nonconforming members in our community,” they said in their Feb. 1 announcement. However, the groups said they would not change their vocal arrangements. The Whiffs are composed of members singing tenor 1, tenor 2, baritone and bass.

The Whiffenpoofs, the nation’s oldest collegiate singing group, founded in 1909, and Whim ‘n Rhythm, which formed in 1981, also had announced that they would cooperate with a joint website and shared business operations.

The Whiffs have traditionally taken what would be their senior year off to tour and Whim ‘n Rhythm members also will be given that opportunity, according to the groups’ Facebook announcements.

Whim ‘n Rhythm’s listing of its 2019 class included only women, according to its Facebook page.

The Whiffenpoofs’ winter and spring tour includes Texas, Denver, California, Seattle, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Florida, South America and China, according to the group’s website. They will also perform at the Katharine Hepburn Performing Arts Center in Old Saybrook on May 6.

This story has been edited to correct that Campoamor is musical director of Mixed Company, that the group is all-gender and that she is a music major.

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