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Whiffenpoofs performing their Yale fight song live in Siem Reap. MIRANDA GLASSER
Whiffenpoofs performing their Yale fight song live in Siem Reap. MIRANDA GLASSER

Whiffs whip up adulation

The Whiffenpoofs of Yale University performed a sell-out show on Tuesday night at the Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa, singing a mixture of gospel, jazz and pop classics.

Sadly the rain meant the acapella group was unable to perform on the specially-constructed stage over the pool, but it failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd who enjoyed drinks at the bar for the Whiffs’ first half-hour set, which included a hugely popular rendition of Mika’s 2007 hit Grace Kelly.

Guests then adjourned for the buffet dinner while being serenaded with tunes such as When the Saints Go Marching In, Midnight Train to Georgia and The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel. Comedy was provided in the form of the Yale ‘fight song’ by Cole Porter sung at college football games – inspired by its bulldog mascot it involved Whiffs falling about on the floor (‘dying’) and impersonations of said bulldog.

This is the fourth consecutive year the group has performed in Siem Reap, a firm favourite on its annual world tour. Victoria general manager Hanno Stamm said the group’s popularity was such that some hardcore fans turned up every year.

“I think it’s pretty good because even though there’s quite a bit of entertainment in Siem Reap these days, it tends to be more like DJs and stuff like that,” he said. “So there’s not much that’s a little bit out of the ordinary. And I think that people really like it. There are a few expats who’ve come every year since the beginning.”

Alex Caron, who took the lead on a spine-tingling version of Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly, said the group was thrilled to be in Siem Reap and performing to a crowd that was well-acquainted with the Whiffenpoofs. “It’s cool because I think this audience is familiar with the group. A lot of them have been here before so it means that we can’t put on a bad show because they will know,” he said. “But it’s nice because they’re familiar with what’s going on.”

The group also performed at Amansara on Wednesday night, and then took some time off on Thursday to visit Tonlé Sap before moving on to its next destination, Tokyo.

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