Monday, February 4, 2019

Sunday Songfest in Chappaqua

The Spizzwinks of Yale greeted Yale alumni at the concert by singing the traditional Yale football medley at the a cappella concert in Chappaqua, Feb. 3.  They were joined in concert by Yale's New Blue and by Horace Greeley's Enchords and Quaker Notes (YWAA photos)

Yale singing groups, the Spizzwinks and the New Blue, made a Westchester stopover and joined groups from Horace Greeley High School for a Sunday afternoon a cappella songfest in Chappaqua, Feb. 3. 

The concert, held at the performing arts center at Seven Bridges Middle School, was jointly sponsored by YWAA and Horace Greeley. Proceeds from ticket sales will support the high school's clubs and other extracurricular events. Horace Greeley's Enchords and the Quaker Notes took the stage before the Yale groups sang after intermission. 

All groups performed familiar repertoire tunes, as well as their interpretations of popular songs.  The Spizzwinks of Yale even sang the Yale football medley. And alumnae at the concert joined the New Blue for the final song. 

The program was part of the YWAA music series of inviting Yale groups to perform in Westchester. The Spizzwinks sang in Westchester for the third time since 2013.  The Alley Cats, Red Hot & Blue and the Whiffenpoofs have also visited Westchester in recent years. 

At Horace Greeley, Enchords feature male and female voices singing in original arrangements.  The Quaker Notes is an all-female group on campus. At the concert, they both sang before an enthusiastic crowd of parents, classmates, and Yale alumni and friends. 

The Spizzwinks, who claim to be America's oldest a cappella group on campus (since 1914), sang renditions of "Once in My Life" and "No Regrets" (its traditional final song), as well as other popular songs and the football medley.  The group is headed to Iceland, Seattle and China later this year. 

The New Blue turns 50 years old this year and is Yale's oldest women's organization.  While members of the Spizzwinks and the New Blue hail from different parts of the country (from the Bay Area to Boston), the New Blue includes four from the Westchester area:  Laura Clapp '21 of Scarsdale, Anna-Sophia Boguraev '20 of Bedford, Alice Tao '20 of Tappan, and Allie Larocco '21 of Cold Spring. They had opportunities to sing solos before their own families and friends. 

Yale a cappella tradition calls for Yale a cappella alumni to join the groups for the final song.  In Chappaqua, Yale alumnae B.K. Munguia '75 and Sara Levine sang with the New Blue to conclude the concert. 

Horace Greeley, during the intermission, recognized Julia Rellou for her service to clubs and extracurricular activities at the school. YWAA board members Munguia, Levine, Regina Possavino-Serai '01, and Dan Leonard '76 helped organize the event.  Stacy Jacobs, Tom Witmer, and Priya Ma coordinated at Horace Greeley. 

See below photos of all four groups in performance:  

The New Blue of Yale is Yale's oldest women's organization

Enchords of Horace Greeley kicked off the a cappella songfest in Chappaqua.

Members of Horace Greeley's Quaker Notes and Enchords sang before an enthusiastic crowd of friends, teachers and classmates. 

Above, Enchords and the Quaker Notes in Chappaqua, Feb. 3

The Quaker Notes in Chappaqua, Feb. 3
The Quaker Notes in Chappaqua, Feb. 3

The Quaker Notes in Chappaqua, Feb. 3 

The Quaker Notes in Chappaqua, Feb. 3

Enchords and the Quaker Notes in Chappaqua, Feb. 3

Above, Yale a cappella alumni Sara Levine and Dan Leonard introduce the Yale groups

The Spizzwinks of Yale in Chappaqua, Feb. 3

The Spizzwinks of Yale sing in Chappaqua, Feb. 3

The Spizzwinks of Yale, Feb. 3, Chappaqua

The Spizzwinks of Yale, Feb. 3, Chappaqua

The Yale Spizzwinks in Chappaqua, Feb. 3

The Spizzwinks of Yale, Feb. 3

The New Blue of Yale will celebrate 50 years in 2019

Anna-Sophia Boguraev '20 of Bedford (above, top) sang a solo for New Blue during the concert

Yale's New Blue in Chappaqua, Feb. 3. Alice Tao '20 of Tappan is featured in a solo

The New Blue of Yale, Feb. 3, Chappaqua

Yale alumnae B.K. Munguia and Sara Levine joined the New Blue for the traditional final song

The New Blue of Yale, Feb. 3, Chappaqua

The New Blue of Yale, Feb. 3

Enchords and the Quaker Notes, Feb. 3

The Quaker Notes, Feb. 3, Chappaqua

The Quaker Notes, Feb. 3

Both a cappella groups from Horace Greeley posed as one for a final shot, Feb. 3, Chappaqua

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Yale Legends Will Be Honored

Former Larchmont resident and YWAA contributor John Lee '58 '59 Eng. and Armonk native Barbara Lebowitz Bettigole '78 will be honored at the Ivy League Basketball Tournament in New Haven, Mar., 2019 (Yale Athletics photo)

John Lee '58 '59 Eng., one of the most celebrated basketball players in Yale history and a former long-time resident of Larchmont, will be honored during the Ivy League Basketball Tournament, to be hosted by Yale Mar. 16-17. Barbara Lebowitz Bettigole '78, a celebrated standout for Yale basketball and at Byram Hills High School in Armonk, was one of the first stars in a growing women's program in the 1970's, and will also be honored at the tournament.

Scarsdale native Earl "Butch" Graves '84, who went on to eclipse many of Lee's scoring records at Yale, was honored at last year's tournament in Philadelphia.

In its third year, the Ivy League Tournament features the top four teams in the men and women's leagues. The teams face off in a semi-final round on Saturday. The winners play for the Ivy championship on Sunday, capping a festive weekend of basketball to determine the Ivy League's representatives in the NCAA tournament. Penn hosted the tournament in the first two years.  League officials decided Payne Whitney Gym at Yale will host the 2019 tournament in New Haven.

The tournament also pays homage to history and highlights outstanding players (men and women) in the past. During intermissions the past two years, league officials highlight legends since the League's 1956 formation and celebrate teams that went on to have successful runs in the NCAA tournament.  In 2019, Penn commemorates the 40th anniversary of its appearance in the NCAA Final Four.

At Yale, Lee was known as "Johnny Lee" and led the Bulldogs to a rare tournament appearance in 1957 after the team won the Ivy League title (before there was a four-team tournament).  Lee was a deadly jump-shooter, averaging 20.3 ppg over three varsity seasons.  Twice he scored over 40 points in games against Harvard and once went 21-for-21 at the free-throw line against Oregon State. His scoring records stood for decades until Graves left Scarsdale High School to attend Yale.

Graves, a talented, high-jumping forward, broke Lee's scoring records, although he benefitted from four years of eligibility. (Graves scored 2,050 total points at Yale, still the best in New Haven.) Lee's performance put Yale on the national map and even spurred Sports Illustrated to put him on its cover in Jan., 1957.

After Yale, Lee, a successful corporate leader, remained committed to Yale in various ways, including leading a $1.75 billion fundraising campaign for Yale and serving on the Yale Corporation.  Lee died in May, 2001. Yale honored him by naming the basketball arena in Payne Whitney the John L. Lee, Jr. Amphitheater. For many years, Graves has led the alumni organization for men's basketball and has been a significant program sponsor.

During a time when women's basketball was pushing hard for attention and equal resources, Leibowitz, too, proved her talents on the court, setting records and gaining well-deserved attention for the women's squads of the time. She was on the first women's All-Ivy team after her senior season. She set a Yale career total of 928 rebounds. She scored 1,046 career points, leading the team in scoring in three seasons.  After Yale, she received a Masters of Arts in teaching from Sarah Lawrence in Bronxville.

At Yale and at Byram Hills, Liebowitz Bettigole was popularly known as "Leibo."  In her senior year at Byram Hills, she helped her squad to an undefeated season and led the school's field hockey and track teams, as well. By choosing Yale, she followed her father Sydney Leibowitz, who was a Yale graduate. "I was always in the right place in the right time when sports came around," she said in 2015 when she was selected to the Byram Hills sports hall of fame. "I rode this wave of women feeling empowered by sports."

After her senior season at Yale, she received the Nellie Pratt Elliot Award for outstanding performance in Yale athletics.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Yale Groups to Sing in Chappaqua

The 2018-19 New Blue will join the Spizzwinks for a concert in Chappaqua, Sunday, Feb. 3 at 1 pm at Seven Bridges Middle School (New Blue photo)

Two Yale a cappella groups will perform in concert in Chappaqua, Sunday, Feb. 3 at 1 pm. YWAA and Horace Greeley High School will host the performance. Yale alumni, guests and friends are invited to attend.

The Yale singers will be joined by two a cappella groups from Horace Greeley, the Enchords and the Quaker Notes. Tickets ($5 for students and $10 for adults) will be sold at the door.

The concert will be held in Chappaqua at Seven Bridges Middle School (222 Seven Bridges Road). (For more about tickets, contact Tom Witmer at or Priya Ma at

Scarsdale native Laura Clapp '21 and Bedford native Anna-Sophia Boguraev '20 return home to sing for the New Blue, which turns 50 this year. Allie Larocco '21 of Cold Spring and Alice Tao '20 of Tappan also sing in the group.

The New Blue, Yale's oldest all-female group, was formed in the fall of 1969, when Yale opened its doors to women undergraduates for the first time. It released its first studio album in 1970.

Boasting as being the oldest undergraduate a cappella group in the country, th
e Spizzwinks were formed in 1914. They return to Westchester after concerts in 2013 and 2015. The group plans concerts in Iceland, Seattle and China this spring and summer. 

YWAA board members Dan Leonard '76, Regina Possavino '01 and B.K. Munguia '75, all Yale alumni music performers, are Yale coordinators for the event.

The Yale Spizzwinks sang at a YWAA-sponsored concert in Scarsdale in 2015 (above). The 2018-19 group will perform in Chappaqua, Feb. 3, before touring Iceland and Seattle this spring. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

YWAA: Save the Date, 2019

Yale a cappella groups the New Blue and the Spizzwinks (top and above R) will sing in Chappaqua Feb. 3. Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos will address Yale alumni and guests in Chappaqua Mar. 7. (New Blue, Spizzwinks and Yale photos)
Sunday, February 3

The Spizzwinks and the New Blue, a cappella groups from Yale, will perform in concert at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, Sunday, Feb. 3, at 1 pm.

The Spizzwinks return to Westchester after performing in Scarsdale in 2013 and 2015. The group plans to sing in Iceland, Seattle and China this coming spring and summer.

The New Blue is Yale's oldest female a cappella group, formed in 1969, the year Yale's undergraduate population included women for the first time. Laura Clapp '21 of Scarsdale and Anna-Sophia Boguraev '20 of Bedford sing with New Blue.

In 2018, the Whiffenpoofs and Red, Hot & Blue performed in separate concerts in Rye.

YWAA will host the concert. Details will follow.

Thursday, March 7

Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos will present a lecture to Yale alumni and friends in Chappaqua.  Details will follow.  Santos is best known for having taught arguably the most popular course ever among Yale undergraduates, "Psychology and the Good Life," when over 1,200 students enrolled last spring.

The course is also known as the "Happiness" course and is labelled "The Science of Well-Being" in an online adaptation of the same.

Santos also acts as Head of Silliman College at Yale.

The scheduled lecture is part of YWAA lecture series.  Click YWAA Lectures for more about the series and Yale professors who have visited Westchester over the last several years.

Monday, December 10, 2018

YWAA: Year in Review, 2018

Hugh Price '66 Law addressed Westchester residents in January at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye, reflecting on a career in civil rights and as leader of the National Urban Leaqgue
Under the leadership of president Tim Mattison '73, YWAA continued to engage Yale alumni, families and community members in 2018 with a series of events--both old and new, including traditional activities, student debate, community service, Shakespeare, and the popular lecture series from Yale professors. 


Hugh Price '66 Law addressed the Westchester community at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye, Jan. 15, where he reflected on his long career in civil rights.  Price served as CEO of the National Urban League from 1994-2003.  In 2017, he published his memoirs This African-American Life, which recounts his days growing up in Washington, D.C., his time in New Haven as a Yale Law student and as a community leader, and his tenure at the Urban League.  

Suzanne Cleary '83, president of the Jay Heritage Center, co-hosted the event, the Annual Literary Tea. 

In January, Maggie Favretti '85, who retired this year from the faculty at Scarsdale High School, received the Thomas Sobol Award for community service for continuing leadership of the Scarsdale Sustainable Garden Project.  The garden has produced thousands of pounds of food donated to food pantries in the Westchester area.

Scarsdale students and others in the community clean, plant, and harvest the garden each year. In 2018, Favretti and her Scarsdale high school crew again sponsored the garden as a Yale Day of Service event in May. She has received other awards for the garden and for other service activities at Scarsdale High School, where she taught social studies. 

Yale men's basketball once again finished as one of the top four team in the Ivy League and earned a berth at the Ivy basketball tournament at Penn in Philadelphia, Mar. 11.  Yale lost to Penn during the tournament, but during an intermission of its game, the League honored Scarsdale native Earl "Butch" Graves, Jr., '84 as one of the best Ivy League players ever.  

At Yale, Graves scored 2,090 points from 1980-84 and captained the 1983-84 squad.  Graves was a standout at Scarsdale High School before he performed at Yale. 


Peter Santhanam '85 Ph.d., YWAA board member, once again led the Westchester Yale Book Awards program, which recognizes top students in the junior class at Westchester area high schools.  In 2018, the program presented awards to over 50 students, who received a copy of Yale Law School's Fred Schapiro's The Yale Book of Quotations.  

Danny Keller '18 of Rye sang as a baritone with the The Whiffenpoofs of Yale and got the opportunity to sing in his hometown when the The Whiffs appeared at the Rye Presbyterian Church Apr. 15.  Keller also served as business manager and announcer for the group. 

YWAA and the Yale Westchester Alumni Schools Committee hosted admitted students in Bronxville at the annual Admitted Students Reception Apr. 11. A record 35,206 high school students, including a few hundred from Westchester, applied to the Yale Class of 2022.  Admissions official Debra Johns and three current Yale students were panelists and allowed admitted students in Westchester and their parents to ask questions about the Yale experience. 

David Shimer '18 of Chappaqua and Kaitlin Cardon '20 of White Plains responded to questions about student life, residential colleges, trips abroad, and favorite Yale cuisine.  Shimer was an editor in chief of the Yale Daily News, earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in history, and had just been awarded a Marshall Scholarship to study at Oxford.  Cardon, a resident of Timothy Dwight College, recounted her travels abroad as a student in Morocco and her experience as an R.O.T.C. student.

(William Primps '71 concluded his years as leader the Westchester alumni-interview program in 2018.  Dana Sands '83, YWAA board member, assumes his position as Chair.)


For Yale's annual Day of Service May 12, Yale alumni sponsored events around the world, and alumni, friends and family members volunteered for a day to serve the community in unique ways. In Westchester, Jason Sandler '16 M.D. and Yang Li '12 hosted a Habitat for Humanity site, where volunteers helped build a house in Yonkers.  

The Yonkers project was the first time it participated in Yale Day of Service. The Scarsdale Sustainable Garden Project hosted volunteers May 19. 

In June, Yale's men's lacrosse team defeated Duke to win the NCAA national championship before 30,000 lax fans in Foxboro, Mass.  It was the Bulldogs' first title, although Yale records show Yale winning a championship in 1883 before the existence of the NCAA. 

Ben Reeves '18, team captain, scored 62 goals during the season.  The team also featured four members from the Westchester area:  Aidan Hynes '20, who played at Mahopac High School; Ted Forst '19 and Owen Jones '18, who both helped Bronxville High School win a state championship, and Will Cabrera '21 of Scarsdale.  Yale finished its championship year with a 17-3 record. 

Marc Lapadula, Yale professor of screenwriting, presented a lecture in Chappaqua as part of the YWAA Lecture Series, coordinated by YWAA board member Rich Fabbro '76.  Before about 80 invited Yale guests, Lapadula named and explained his list of the most important films in American history.  His list included the following:

The Jazz Singer
I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
The Graduate
Easy Rider


At Boscobel in Garrison, YWAA hosted its annual outing at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Aug. 19.  Richard II was the performance for the evening, and once again Murray Biggs, Yale lecturer in Shakespeare, returned to lecture on the play and prep Yale alumni and guests for the show under the big white tent along the Hudson River. 

In years past, YWAA-Boscobel has hosted outings of such performances as The General from America, Macbeth, Othello, The Winter's Tale, All's Well That Ends Well, and Hamlet.


Maya Lin '81, '86 Arch., best known for her design of the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington, who continues to produce work around the world from her home base in Westchester, is presenting an exhibition through Jan., 2019, "A River Is a Drawing," in Yonkers. 

The exhibition at the Hudson River Museum pays homage to the Hudson River. It features several works from Lin, all with themes recognizing the history and importance of the river or using the river as a background or setting. 

William Nightingale '53 and Dana Sands '83, YWAA board members, led the 22nd annual Westchester Debate Competition Oct. 26. This year, the German International School hosted college and high school teams in White Plains.  

With socialism vs. capitalism being the topic for the evening, Yale's debate team faced off against Princeton and emerged the winner of the college competition.  Rye native Charlie Barton participated for Yale. Yale also defeated Princeton in 2014, 2015, and 2017. Harrison High School won the high school round.

Yale's oldest co-ed, a cappella group, Red, Hot & Blue, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, sang in Westchester in Rye at the Osborne (Retirement Community) Auditorium, Oct. 19. The Yale singers were joined by the Princeton Wildcats, Princeton's highly regarded women's a cappella group.

YWAA board member William Nightingale '53 organized the affair. Both groups from Princeton and Yale sang selections in jazz, pop and the American songbook.

Red, Hot & Blue previously sang at the Osborne three other times, including a concert this past March and concerts in 2015 and 2017. The group celebrated its 40th last year with tours to France, Seattle, China and Puerto Rico. Next semester it plans concerts in Brazil and Washington, D.C.
Harvard organizers of The Game in 2018 decided to try something different.  Yale-vs.-Harvard in football for the 135th time was moved from Harvard Stadium to baseball's storied Fenway Park in downtown Boston.  

The baseball diamond was redesigned into a football grid-iron, and 34,000-plus Yale and Harvard fans squeezed into the ancient park to witness the Bulldogs vs. Crimson, both with winning records but not enough to share an Ivy championship with Princeton. 

Yale kept it close, but Harvard escaped late to surge to a 45-27 victory in a game Yale "should've and could've" won. Fenway, after all, proved to be a museum-piece of a setting in the middle of the Boston skyline.

In 2019,  first up on the YWAA schedule is a double-header a cappella concert Sunday, Feb. 2 (1 pm) featuring Yale's Spizzwinks and the New Blue at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua.  Details will follow.

For YWAA highlights and summaries in past years (from 2013-2017), click HIGHLIGHTS

Red, Hot & Blue, Yale's oldest a cappella group, performed twice in Westchester in Rye in 2018 (YWAA photo)

Scarsdale native Earl Graves, Jr., '84, received an award as one of the top players in the history of Ivy League basketball during the Ivy League basketball tournament in March in Philadelphia (YWAA photos)

David Shimer '18 from Chappaqua and Kaitlin Cardon '20 from White Plains returned to Westchester as guest panelists at the annual YWAA and ASC admitted-students reception in April (YWAA photos)

Yale's men's lacrosse team won the NCAA national championship in June by defeating Duke in Foxboro, Mass. The team included four Westchester residents. (Yale Athletics photo)

In a lecture as part of the YWAA Series, Marc Lapadula, Yale professor of screenwriting, listed his most important films in American history for the audience in Chappaqua (YWAA photos)

YWAA returned to Boscobel in August for a performance of Shakespeare's Richard III. Yale lecturer Murray Biggs spoke to Yale alumni and guests before the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival actors took the stage

Maya Lin '81, '86 Arch. presented an exhibition paying homage to the Hudson River, "A River Is a Drawing." The showing lasts through Jan., 2019, in Yonkers

In White Plains in October, Yale met Princeton again in college debate as part of the annual Westchester competition.  Six high school teams followed. (YWAA photo)

In the 135th Game, Yale and Harvard clashed, but this time in baseball's Fenway Park in downtown Boston. Harvard found a way to win, 45-27. (YWAA photos)

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Game, 2018: Should've, Could've

Yale's offense amassed  411 yards, but couldn't keep pace with Harvard, as the Crimson took the 135th Game, 45-27.

At the 135th Game, Harvard triumphed.  But This Game, in Boston on a chilly, windless Saturday afternoon (Nov. 17), will be allotted into the category of "should've (won), could've won."  At least for Yale, which finished the 2018 campaign at 5-5 after having won the Ivy League last year. The Bulldogs could've won this contest. 

Yale appeared to hang in tightly with Harvard's swift, agile squad for three quarters.  Yale even squeaked ahead early in the second half.  Tired, young, and worn down in the fourth quarter, its defense succumbed and allowed Harvard to escape for easy touchdowns. Harvard won what Yale should have won, 45-27, halting Yale's two-game streak over Harvard. 

This Game will also be The Game at Fenway Park.  Harvard organizers decided to set the game at the aging, but well-maintained, hallowed grounds of the Boston Red Sox (which, by the way, had just won the 2018 World Series).

The Game, 135, was an experiment, a bold change of venue and perhaps a maneuver to attract others who normally would not attend. The experiment meant large throngs of Yale and Harvard students, alumni, families and other guests broke tailgating habits of Yale Bowl and Harvard Stadium and convened in the middle of the Boston cityscape in a stadium geometrically arranged to fit a baseball diamond, not a football grid-iron. 

One end zone was situated where home plate had been. The other end zone was inserted in front of the center field bleachers.  Organizers rolled out new turf to fill the infield.  Groundskeepers sprinted onto the field during time outs to tend to the precious infield grass. 

Nearly 35,000 fans from Yale and Harvard bought the experiment and made the best of watching football from dugout seats, baseball bleachers, and cramped boxes meant for keeping up with balls and strikes and fly balls to deep right.  Organizers even arranged for a corporate sponsor (UBS) and a pre-game flyover, when jets roared above the stadium seconds after the Yale and Harvard bands finished the national anthem. 

Harvard followers held camp along the right-field line.  Yale students and fans were posted behind home plate and along the first-base line. Harvard and Yale football players shared a sideline, which ran parallel to Boston's famous Green Monster outfield wall.  When it performed at halftime, Yale's band faced the end zone where Yale students by the thousands piled behind the home-plate screen.

This Game featured the usual taunts from Yale and Harvard students, who behind different goal posts sat about 100 yards away from each other.  It featured the decades-old, fourth-quarter strip from Yale undergraduates. Band members wandered on the field with residential college flags (now 14 in total). It had tributes to over 20 players from the storied 29-29 Game from 1968, the 50th anniversary of Yale surrendering 16 points in the last 42 seconds. (The quarterback of That Game, Brian Dowling '69, was an honorary captain at This Game, 2018.)

Because this was a major league baseball park filled with high-powered speakers blaring pop songs, Yale and Harvard fans danced and wiggled every time powerful beats blared.  A highlight, most will agree, was the chance for most of the 35,000 to sing along to Boston's favorite anthem, "Sweet Caroline" in the second half. Yale and Harvard joined together in a spectacular chorus in unison. 

Yale quarterback Kurt Rawlings '20, a leader in each of Yale's previous two victories over Harvard, injured his leg in the Penn game.  So a first-year quarterback from California stepped in to battle the Crimson.  After a first-quarter interception, Griffin O'Connor '22 settled into Game spotlight and flung passes all over the field with ease. In shot-gun formation, he often took two, three steps back, cocked his arm, faked one way and rifled the ball the other way. Sometimes he overthrew his Yale receivers, but wasn't overwhelmed by The Game's history. 

He tossed a touchdown pass, ran for another, and totaled 328 passing yards.Sophomore running back  Zane Dudek '21, who had been injured all season, surprised Yale onlookers with 66 rushing yards. By the fourth quarter, the Bulldog offense simmered. The defense turned lackluster, listless. Harvard scored at will with long passes and long runs. Just like that, Harvard had scored 45 in total.    

The close, tense affair was no longer close and tense in the waning minutes. But everybody stayed to bask in Fenway glory, celebrate something different, and enjoy a museum-piece of a setting in the middle of Boston's skyline--even if Yale should have and could have won This Game.