Whiffenpoofs And SPHS Alum To Perform In Anne Arundel County


The world’s oldest and best-known collegiate a cappella group, the Yale Whiffenpoofs, will perform publicly in Anne Arundel County this week, and for the second time in a half dozen years, privately at Severna Park High School, thanks to a Falcons alum. Clay Jamieson, from the SPHS class of 2018 and a Yale University student, is part of the 2023-2024 Whiffenpoofs, and is excited to perform before Severna Park students.

Every year, up to 14 Yale students entering their junior year are selected to be in the Whiffenpoofs after an intense weekend of auditioning. Founded in 1909, the “Whiffs” began as a senior quartet that met for weekly concerts at a Yale tavern. Today, the group has become one of Yale’s most celebrated traditions, with more than a century of musical excellence.

The group takes a one-year leave of absence from their studies during their junior year to perform around the globe. As is tradition, the group visits the hometown of every member. On Thursday, March 7, Jamieson and the Whiffs will visit Severna Park High School and perform for the music and choral students.

“The students are so excited to have the Whiffenpoofs come perform for them. This is a great opportunity to not only hear and work with a world-famous a cappella group, but to ask questions about their backgrounds and experiences at Yale and get inspired to apply for college,” said Sara Metcalfe, music teacher at Severna Park High School. “Maybe this will inspire one of them to become the next Whiffenpoof.”

A four-year member of Rock-N-Roll Revival while at SPHS, Jamieson remembers when Solon Snider, SPHS class of 2013 and former Whiffenpoof, came to visit SPHS.

“I knew I wanted to attend Yale,” said Jamieson, “so Solon’s guidance was very important. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to try out for the Whiffenpoofs, but when I did, Solon’s advice and experience was invaluable.”

Snider won’t be able to attend the performance at SPHS, but he does plan to attend a Whiffenpoof performance this spring in the New Jersey area, where Snider is a faculty member at Princeton University. “Performing in front of Severna Park High School students was very special,” said Snider, whose performance occurred during the first year after the new school opened. “Students are going to see a fun and dynamic performance.”

Liam Richardson, a Whiff from Phoenix who also serves as the group’s business manager this year, is soaking in Jamieson’s childhood memories of Severna Park. The entire group is staying at Jamieson’s home in Olde Severna Park. “You get a very real sense of someone from learning about and experiencing the physical place they grew up,” Richardson said.

Metcalfe said the visit and performance at Severna Park High School is “such a great opportunity” for the chorus students.

“Music is such an important part in their life in high school,” Metcalfe said. “When students go off to college, they often stop performing because they don’t realize that there are musical opportunities for them there, and that they don’t have to be a music performance major to take part in them.”

The odds of two Maryland public school vocalists being accepted into Yale and then landing a coveted spot on the Whiffenpoof roster just might be as rare as a lightning strike, but Richardson wondered if a “Severna Park lineage” has been initiated.

“I’m really excited to bring my Yale world to my Severna Park world,” Jamieson added. “It’s pretty exciting to think that maybe there will be a future Whiffenpoof in the audience. That would be awesome!”

The Yale Whiffenpoofs will perform before a sold-out audience on March 7 at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis. Other local performances include March 8 at First Unitarian Church in Baltimore, and Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda on March 10. For show times and to purchase tickets, visit www.whiffenpoofs.com/concerts.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here