Monday, April 27, 2015

Spizzwinks Sparkle in Scarsdale

The Yale Spizzwinks(?) rolled into town Apr. 26 and sang at the YWAA's Songfest in Scarsdale. (YWAA photos)
The Spizzwinks (?), the Yale a cappella singing group that boasts of being the oldest underclass singing group in the country, made a return visit to Scarsdale Apr. 26, presenting a concert filled with new numbers, familiar tunes, and comedic gestures.

On a Sunday afternoon, Yale alumni, Yale parents, family members, area students, and other Westchester residents crowded into The Center at Scarsdale for YWAA's annual A Cappella Songfest, which also featured an impressive performance from For Good Measure, the a cappella group from Scarsdale High School.

The Spizzwinks(?), all 11 in the group, marched into town with their repertoire of tunes crossing many generations. They sparkled with solos, duets and a group performance whose tight sounds soared around the room and delighted the audience. The repertoire included unique arrangements of "Let It Be," "Somebody to Love," and "Heard It Through the Grapevine." It included an old Yale favorite, "Wake, Freshmen, Wake," and a recent favorite, "Ginger Rogers."  They ended with traditional songs, "Blue Skies" and "No Regrets."

The current 'Winks edition hails from around the world, having congregated in New Haven with a team of talented freshmen and sophomores, who contribute many solos. The singers are from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey.  They are also from Beijing, Alaska and Hawaii. They had just returned from a spring-break tour to the Midwest and South America.

Back in Scarsdale, the Westchester crowd applauded the Spizz member who said he was from Scarsdale until he acknowledged he was really from Connecticut, but he liked getting a home-town ovation.

Between songs, the group offered more collegiate humor. One member smirked, telling the audience he plans to "triple major in math." Another quipped that he will pursue a double-major in "eee-conomics" and "eck-conomics." A third sorrowfully reminded all that, as students, they hadn't yet witnessed a Yale victory over Harvard in football, although they would still sing with pride at this concert the Yale football medley.

The 2013 Spizzwinks(?) sang in Scarsdale at the YWAA Songfest that year before that group headed to China for a summer tour.

Scarsdale's "For Good Measure" preceded the Yale singers and proved they were practiced, smooth, and talented.  They started their set with a soft arrangement of the hymn "Lift Every Voice 'n Sing." Some in the Spizzwinks(?) said the group of 16 from Scarsdale was perhaps the best high-school a cappella group they've seen in all their travels the past year.

YWAA board members Regina Possavino '01 and B.K. Munguia '75 organized the concert. Munguia hosted the program, introduced the groups and led a raffle of prizes for concert-goers.

The Scarsdale group will perform as special guests at an a cappella concert at the White Plains Performing Center May 9. The 'Winks head back to campus to confront the Yale inevitable: the onslaught of final exams and 10-page papers.

The Spizzwinks(?), just back from a spring tour, sang favorites such as "No Regrets" (below, R). Event organizers Regina Possavino '01 and B.K. Munguia '75 thanked the guests and gave out prizes (below, L). (YWAA photos)
Scarsdale High School's For Good Measure took the stage first, impressing the audience with a variety of songs. (YWAA photos)

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