Yale’s finest hit high notes in Siem Reap

Yale’s finest hit high notes in Siem Reap

Members of the Whiffenpoofs pose in Siem Reap this week. Photo by: ADRIAN TUCCI

FOURTEEN American college singers known as the Whiffenpoofs from Yale University sang to an adoring crowd at a Siem Reap hotel this week.

Maintaining a three-month performance schedule that spans the globe, the group performs during their summer break from university.

Engaging the audience on Monday night at the Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa with a diverse repertoire that contained everything from jazz ballads to contemporary pop hits and the famous Whiffenpoof song, the group again managed to delight audiences from around the world.

First tenor Andrew Maillet, 21, from Charlottesville, Virginia, said: “It’s really cool to go around the world and convey American university tradition, especially since we were able to do music workshops with students in Thailand. It’s an honour to be part of Yale history.”

The resort staff were happy to be hosting the group, who have returned for their second year. “It is wonderful to have them here, they are a talented group of boys, and are very friendly to the staff. We would love to have them back next year” said Sabrina Bertrand, the 30-year-old sales and marketing manager.

The group gave three performances throughout the evening, with the first performance held in the tranquil surrounds of the pool area proving to be most popular.

John Langford, a 52-year-old travelling photographer from Texas, USA, said: “I’ve been wanting to see these guys for 30 years, and to stumble across them here in this country and in these luxurious surroundings is unbelievable. It’s a beautiful spot and the boys exceeded my expectations. They’re great,” he said.

Every year since 1909, the current Whiffenpoof members have chosen their 14 successors through a tough audition process. “Singing is a big deal at Yale, so every year the selection process to get into the Whiffenpoofs is a tough one. There are usually 40 or 50 people auditioning for the 14 spots,” singer Maillet said.

To be a member of the Yale Whiffenpoofs, hopeful singers must audition solo in front of the other 14 choir members.

When asked about their quirky name, Maillet said: “We know it’s a strange name, but the history of the name is important, and it’s also our brand. When we were performing in New Zealand, the locals thought the name was hilarious as ‘poof’ has homosexual connotations.”

The name comes from founding member Denton ‘Goat’ Fowler, who was taken by a joke that featured a mythical dragon-fish named the whiffenpoof, and so suggested the name to his companions.

The name stuck and the Whiffenpoofs were born.


  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget