Sounds of Yale - Our Great Music Tradition

Yale has a rich tradition of vocal music spanning many decades. Whiffenpoof Dan Badger has gathered many of the songs we are familiar with, from “Bright College Years” to “The Tables Down at Mory’s” and Cole Porter classics. If you have suggestions for Dan, please contact him.

Essay: A Day in the Music Life of Yale (Fall, 1967)

The following is Dan Badger’s essay for our 50th Reunion Class Book – a weekend tour of the campus during the fall of our senior year with Dan, absorbing the music scene at Yale. Great memories of the Alley Cats, Bakers’ Dozen, Dukesmen, SOBs and Spizwinks, Glee Club, Russian Chorus and, of course, the Whiffs.

A weekend of music at Yale: “Walking across the campus on a Saturday night in senior year, you might have caught any or all of this floating out someone’s window: “…the one and only Billy Shears!”  “You know that it would be untrue/You know that I would be a liar…” “Down along the cove, I spied my little bundle of joy…” And if you ventured within 100 feet of a fraternity or a college mixer after 10 PM, you would almost certainly have been assaulted with: “RIDE, SALLY, RIDE.” Click here to continue…

Article:  A Music History – The Whiffenpoofs Through the Ages

Whiffenpoofs Robert Birge, ‘68 and Charles Buck III, ’69 teamed up several years ago to write this marvelous history of music at Yale and the Whiffenpoofs, from its early origins in the early 1900s, with the Yale Glee Club to becoming the internationally recognized a capella group it is today.

“One of the quickest ways in which a man at Yale can eat or dance himself to an early grave is to become a member of one of the musical clubs. For these clubs countless latchstrings hang out all over the country. Anxious mammas bring forward daughters who are tireless dancers. Alumni drop business to entertain the boys, and it is a tired and surfeited lot that finally reaches New Haven and tumbles out of its private car to the routine of study.” Click here to continue…

Classic Yale Music Tracks

Included below for your listening enjoyment are some of the 26 classic music tracks we’ve collected from various Yale music groups and performances over the decades. Thanks to Dan Badger, who has painstakingly assembled this compendium of the great sounds we remember… and some we don’t.

Click the white arrow in the circle to listen to each track.

Click for the whole collection of 29 audio files.

Sheet Music of Great Yale Oldies

Here’s a compendium of 11 pieces of classic Yale sheet music from the renowned music archives at Sterling Library. The new music library at Sterling is world class and worth a visit when in New Haven. Click on the song name to view or print….


Whiffs at Yale-Cornell Game

Essay: “Ladies and Gentlemen. Introducing the One and Only Yale University Precision Marching Band” by Mitch Silver

Mitch Silver spent 4 years as a trumpet player in the Yale Marching Band living on the musical disciplinary edge with John Kebabian (dec.) et al. and artfully dodging persistent efforts by a beleaguered Yale administration (Sam Chauncy and Dean Georges May) to exercise supervisory control. Take a moment to enjoy this riotous look at Band as we fondly remember it.

“Of course, the beauty of the Yale Precision Marching Band is that it wasn’t. Instead of trying to march in straight lines like the Rutgers or UConn bands (speaking of…I thought for the longest time we were playing Yukon, and ignoramus that I was, and am, I marveled at their making the trip down from Juneau), we’d do the London Smog formation (probably to the tune of “I Love Paris”) … click here to continue

The Dukesmen

Essay: The Duke’s Men On the Road: From Maine to Nassau – The Fun of It All, by Roger Shoemaker

“We had memorable retreats to ostensibly, and sometimes actually, learn music. We took Spring Break trips to Nassau and sang at a dinner party for Lord Mountbatten. Really, the actual Lord Mountbatten. At Lyford Cay, we saw Sean Connery who was in his prime and was, I think, there to film Thunderball… Later, five of our number were elevated to 1968 Whiffdom …” click here to read more…