Cayuga's Waiters

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Cayuga's Waiters
Origin Ithaca, NY, United States
Genres A cappella
Years active 1949 (1949)-present
Associated acts Nothing But Treble, Cornell University Glee Club
Members Rogelio Steyer, Francis Uriarte, Bob Kupiec, Jeffrey Cardiel, Ron Flesher, Sherman Vancamp, Jay Brunkhorst, Lincoln Reisch, Willis Moreman, Jarred Acheson, Gregory Lisa, Marcel Tipton, Jordan Critchfield

The Cayuga's Waiters, established in 1949, are the oldest collegiate a cappella ensemble at Cornell University. They have been temporaily suspended by the university, pending the completition of an investigation for "possible violations of the Campus Code of Conduct." [1]


Glee Club subset (1949-1956)[edit]

The Waiters formed as a subset of the Cornell University Glee Club in 1949 and debuted at the Glee Club's 1950 Junior Week concert.[2]:239 Although dressed in standard Glee Club attire (a tuxedo), they distinguished themselves from other Glee Club members by draping towels over their arms—a visual pun on their ensemble's name. Their repertoire included such popular songs as "Mood Indigo", "Mandy", "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye", and "Lord, If I Get My Ticket".[2]:239 By 1951, the group had become much in demand on campus for singing engagements, and they were also enthusiastically received by audiences when on tour with the Glee Club.[2]:239

The early 1950s were a busy and tumultuous period, as the young group had inadvertently stumbled into an entirely new industry. As Michael Slon wrote in his history of the Glee Club:

Prior to the Waiters the regimen of small group singing, traveling, and recording, completely familiar today, did not exist at Cornell. Not realizing they were pioneers, the new triple quartet set out by accepting local engagements on top of their Glee Club duties and soon found their popularity and activity were snowballing.[2]:240

In 1953, the Waiters conducted their first independent tour—to Bermuda's Harbor Castle Hotel—over the winter holidays, and in the same year, they recorded and cut their first record. In 1956, the Waiters decided they could no longer split their efforts between choral and small group singing and dissociated from the Glee Club.[3] Despite the shock of disassociation, both organizations went on to enjoy enormous success throughout the remainder of the 20th century.

Independent history (1956-present)[edit]

Spring Fever[edit]

In 1974, The Waiters performed their first annual "Spring Fever" concert.[4] This show still takes place annually in the 1,300 seat Bailey Hall, and has sold out for the past 35 years.[5][6] The show has been mentioned on various blogs, including Slope Media, which described the show as "taking [...] A Cappella to another level"[7]

We Didn't Go To Harvard[edit]

In the mid 1990s, The Waiters wrote a parody to the Billy Joel song "We Didn't Start the Fire". Their Parody garnered critical acclaim, claiming the #4 spot on Cornell's "161 Things to Do" list.[8] The song has received nearly 100,000 views on YouTube[9] and has inspired other groups to create parodies based on the same song [10]

Electronic recordings online[edit]

In 2000, shortly after its 50th anniversary, the ensemble made archival recordings of its albums available online.[11]

Pitch Perfect[edit]

The 2012 sleeper hit movie "Pitch Perfect" was based on Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory, a non-fiction book written by alumnus Mickey Rapkin '00.[12]


In 2016 the Waiters were temporarily suspended by Cornell's Office of the Judicial Administrator for possible violations of the Campus Code of Conduct. The Waiters are currently being investigated, and may be reinstated pending the investigations completion. [1]


The Waiters have produced 25 albums in their 66-year tradition:

As a Glee Club subset:

  • Cayuga's Waiters 51-52 (1952)
  • Cayuga's Waiters 53-54 (1954)
  • Cayuga's Waiters 54-55 (1955)

As an independent organization:

  • Cocktails For Twelve (1959)
  • Goodnight Little Girl (1961)
  • Presenting Cayuga's Waiters (1963)
  • Just Waitin' (1964)
  • Pow! (1966)
  • Lost In The Sound (1968)
  • Still Waitin' (1975)
  • Waitin' For You (1976)
  • Straight Break (1977)
  • 12° North (1983)
  • Laughed Out of Town (1986)
  • Maintaining the Illusion (1989)
  • Niko's Cafe (1993)
  • Live and Kicking (1996)
  • Channel Zero (1998)
  • Clothing Optional (1999)
  • Straight Outta C-town (2001)
  • Spring Fever 28 Ticket CD (2002)
  • The Forgotten Room (2003)
  • Wednesday Night (2007)
  • Stripped (2010)
  • Nothing Wrong (2015)


  1. ^ a b "Cayuga's Waiters Suspended for Code of Conduct Violations". The Cornell Daily Sun. 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  2. ^ a b c d Slon, Michael (1998). Songs from the Hill: a history of the Cornell University Glee Club. Cornell University Glee Club. ISBN 978-0-9620103-1-6. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Waiters Quit Choral Group" (LXXIII). Cornell Daily Sun. September 21, 1956. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "Seventh Annual Spring Fever". Cornell Daily Sun (XCVII). Cornell Universery. April 21, 1981. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Cayuga's Waiters' Spring Fever XL". Swidjit. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Newkirk, Heather. "Interview: "Pitch Perfect Writer Micky Ripkin". The Contemporary Acapella Society. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "161 and Counting". Slope Media. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "161 Things to Do". Cornell Daily Sun. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "Cayuga's Waiters - We Didn't Go To Harvard". YouTube. rr23450. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "We Didn't Go To Western - FINAL VERSION". YouTube. The Thunderdome 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Joe Wilensky, Cayuga's Waiters take annual Spring Fever concert online, Ithaca Journal, Apr. 6, 2000, p. C10 (visited Apr. 5, 2015)
  12. ^ Contemporary A Cappella Society, Interview: Pitch Perfect Writer Mickey Rapkin and Extra Ben Heist (visited Apr. 5, 2015)