The oldest collegiate a cappella group in the United States has gone co-ed. The 118-year-old Yale Whiffenpoofs admitted their first female member on Monday, February 19. The decision came 30 years after a Whiffenpoof member prominently called for the organization to admit women.
Notably, the decision to admit Yale University junior Sofia Campoamor came after a public decision by the Whiffenpoofs to admit singers based on voice part and not by gender. The Whiffenpoofs use a TTBB voice distribution, with two tenor parts (Tenor I, Tenor II) and two bass parts (Baritone/Bass I, Bass II). Campoamor was admitted to the ensemble as a Tenor I singer.
The Whim ’n Rhythm – a prestigious, all-senior female a cappella ensemble at Yale – remains all-female despite a similar rebranding of itself as an SSAA (Soprano I, Soprano II, Alto I, Alto II) ensemble. One male student reportedly auditioned, but dropped out of the competitive process early in the running.
The historic change at the Whiffenpoofs follows a January announcement by Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals that it will encourage women to audition in the 2018-2019 academic year. Hasty Pudding is one of the oldest theatrical organizations in the United States, dating back to 1844.