The Spizzwinks

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The Yale Spizzwinks(?)
Background information
Years active 1914,[1] 1940–present [2]
Members Tenor I
Felix Cancre '17
Noah Strausser '18
Collin Gray '16
Franklyn Zhu '17

Tenor II
Donovan Sabrog '18
Chase Renfroe '16
Max Sauberman '17
Jake Colavolpe '18
Phil Wilkinson '16

Ryan Campbell '16
Cole Citrenbaum '17
Ian Billinge '18
Ben Paltiel '16

Nick Agar-Johnson '16
Christopher Bowman '18
Drew Robinett '16
Arthur Erlendsson '17
Michael Tappel '17

Michael Tappel, pitchpipe
Nick Agar-Johson, business manager

The Spizzwinks, stylized as the The Spizzwinks(?), are an a cappella singing group of male students from Yale University. Founded in late 1913, the Spizzwinks(?) are the oldest underclassman a cappella group in the United States, dating back to a first performance in early 1914.[1][3]

Composed of eighteen college-aged men, the Spizzwinks perform internationally, touring to every continent within a three-year term. The group is also a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning that the group is a non-profit organization. [4]


In 1913, four young men met at Mory's Temple Bar, Yale's historic tavern, to create a light-hearted alternative to the more serious Whiffenpoofs (another a cappella singing group).[5] They decided upon the "Spizzwinks," a reference to a mythical creature to which the Corn Blight of 1906 had been whimsically attributed. Because the editor of the Yale Banner was unsure how to spell the fledgling group's name, he added a question mark in parentheses to the headline announcing its foundation. The group liked the look of "Spizzwinks(?)" and has officially adopted the symbol as both a part of its name and as a logo.[5]

Music and Humor[edit]

The Spizzwinks' repertoire comprises music arranged entirely by current and former members of the group, including a mixture of traditional Yale songs, songs by composers such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, and more modern artists like Queen, MIKA, fun., Adele, and Justin Timberlake.[6] The group values a signature "laugh of loud" humor, and a typical concert includes a variety of skits and other comedy.

Each year, the Yale Spizzwinks(?) perform over 100 concerts across the nation and around the world, typically in tuxedos or tails.[7] They have performed at the White House, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, and professional sporting events, as well as at country clubs, yacht clubs, churches, schools, and resorts.[8] The group sells CDs and other merchandise to raise funds for their touring, as they are completely self-funded.[9]

Notable Alumni[edit]


  • Songs of the Spizzwinks (1948)
  • Spizzwinks (1950)
  • Songs of the Yale Spizzwinks (1956)
  • Blue Skies (1957)
  • New Horizons (1960)
  • Yesterdays with the Spizzwinks (1961)
  • The 50th Anniversary Album (1964)
  • The Yale Spizzwinks(?) (1967)
  • Hey Mister Ain'cha Got No Blue? (1969)
  • Lip Service (1971)
  • Imagination (1973)
  • A Touch Of Class (1976)
  • In Trouble (1979)
  • Puttin' On The Ritz (1980)
  • Steamheat (1982)
  • No Regrets (1984)
  • Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink (1989)
  • The Hour Of Power (1991)
  • One Coin, One Play (1993)
  • Any Questions (1995)
  • Eine Kleine Winkmusik (1997)
  • Shine Your Shoes (1999)
  • Four Score Seven (2001)
  • Thank You, Come Again (2003)
  • 90th Anniversary Collection (2004)
  • Simply Put (2005)
  • The Gloves Are Off (2007)
  • Cause for Alarm (2009)
  • The Myrrh the Merrier (2010)
  • The Elephant in the Room (2011)
  • Never Don't Go (2013)


  1. ^ a b 1914 Yale Daily News Historical Archive, January 20th, 1914, Page 6, University Notices
  2. ^ Yale Daily News Historical Archive, October 4th, 1940, Page 8, University Notices
  3. ^ Oldest underclassman a cappella group. They are also the second oldest undergraduate a cappella group, after the Yale Whiffenpoofs (which is limited to seniors).[citation needed].
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b "Spizzwinks(?) history". 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  6. ^ "Winkipedia - View Arrangement". Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  7. ^ "The Yale Spizzwinks(?) Concerts and Tours". Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  8. ^ "Spizzwinks(?) concerts and tours". Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  9. ^ "Spizzwinks store". Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  10. ^ Bobby Lopez
  11. ^ Jonathan Coulton;Coulton Interview
  12. ^ "Chris Beck". New York Times. 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  13. ^ Noah Emmerich
  14. ^ Rob Bell[dead link]

External links[edit]