Egalitarianism Run Amok, Political Correctness, The Whiffenpoofs, Un Autre Jolie Cadeau de la Revolution Francaise, Yale
Not a satire. This is from today’s Yale Daily News:
Breaking with more than a century of tradition, the Whiffenpoofs and Whim â€™n Rhythm, Yaleâ€™s all-male and all-female senior a capella groups, announced on Thursday that this year both groups will consider accepting singers of all genders.
According to a joint announcement posted on Facebook, Whim â€™n Rhythm will from this point on describe itself as, â€œSSAA,â€ â€” or Soprano I and II and Alto I and II â€” rather than all-female, while the Whiffenpoofs will use the label â€œTTBB,â€ or Tenor I and II, Baritone and Bass. The statement called these terms â€œmore informative of the art [they] createâ€ and â€œmore inclusiveâ€ to members past, present and future, especially those who identify as transgender, gender nonbinary and gender nonconforming.
â€œInstead of talking about the membership of the group, [we want to] talk about the people who make that type of music,â€ said Kenyon Duncan â€™19, the music director of the Whiffenpoofs. â€œWeâ€™re trying to make this as much about the music and ease gender boundaries.â€
The statement also announced a series of changes designed to close the â€œgap in opportunityâ€ between the two organizations. The Whiffenpoofs, well-established in the world of a cappella, take a year off from school to tour the world, while the much newer Whim â€™n Rhythm tours internationally only during the summer and performs locally throughout the year. Whim â€™n Rhythm also brings in significantly less revenue than do the Whiffenpoofs â€” during fiscal year 2013, for example, Whim â€™n Rhythmâ€™s earnings amounted to less than a quarter of the Whiffenpoofsâ€™.
With these changes, the announcement said, the two groups hope to â€œmore explicitly linkâ€ together as two performing bodies representing the same Yale senior class.
Next year, both the Whiffenpoofs and Whim â€™n Rhythm classes of 2019 will have the option to take a leave of absence or remain enrolled at Yale, with rehearsal, performance and tour schedules defined by each future class of singers. And the groupsâ€™ operations will become more cohesive in the future, through a joint website with shared booking information and closer integration of the two groupsâ€™ business teams. The statement also expressed a commitment to expanding the SATB â€” of Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass â€” repertoire so that Whim and the Whiffs can more often perform together on campus and for clients.
The joint decision to go all-gender as well as to implement the set of changes announced resulted from a prolonged conversation among all 28 members of the Whiffenpoofs and Whim â€™n Rhythm classes of 2018 over the past six months about how to make senior a cappella at Yale more equitable.