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Former members of one of America’s most acclaimed vocal ensembles, the Yale Whiffenpoofs, will be performing at the Boca Grande Community Center auditorium at 4 p.m. on Friday, February 17, 2017. Proceeds will benefit The Island School. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the door on the day of the concert. The men were once members of the collegiate a capella singing group while they attended the university in New Haven, New York. The prestigious club selects 14 senior Yale men each year to sing in the club. The men invited usually have years of singing experience, along with flawless crooning voices. Boca Grande resident Nancy Parker has been organizing the events since 2003 and she has agreed to administer the 2017 concert. “I was asked by a close friend, a Yalie, to initiate the gatherings. Jim Cowperthwait, a Yale alumnus, has helped organize the events in the past and is helping again this year. This will be the first one we are hosting in the last several years,” Parker said. Although the men are older now, Parker thinks each one must experience some nostalgia during the concerts. “The minute these guys start singing on the stage they are all smiles. It must take them back to the memories of being in college. And the audience really seems to enjoy watching them perform,” Parker said. Cowperthwait will be participating in the show this year, as in years past. “We haven’t done a show for a couple of years now and there’s been quite a bit of anticipation. I'll be singing with the group, along with Boca Grande fellow alumni John Shaw and Sherman Durfee,” Cowperthwait said. In the past, the performances were held at the Louise duPont Crowninshield Community House, which seats around 100 people. This year the venue is the Boca Grande Community Center’s auditorium, which can hold up to 200 people. Participants will include Whiffenpoofs from Yale graduating classes of the 1950s through the 1980s. There will 28 singers in the show this year. “There’s nothing really formal about it – we’re just a group of graduates who enjoy singing,” Cowperthwait said. He added that there are more than 65 Yale alums who reside the island seasonally. The men will also be performing a tentative concert with the Sarasota Yale Club of Southwest Florida the following evening, Saturday, Feb. 18. Contact the Yale Club of Southwest Florida for details on the Saturday show. Founded in 1909, the “Whiffs” began as a senior quartet that met for weekly concerts at Mory’s Temple Bar, a famous Yale tavern. America’s first and oldest collegiate a cappella assembly has been performing throughout the United States and the world each year from May through August since it was founded. The famed group has been featured on NBC, and appeared on television shows like Glee, Jeopardy, and Saturday Night Live and at the White House for former U.S. presidents. For more information, please call (941) 964-7595, after January 15. G M


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