The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus

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The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus
Background information
Also known asThe SOBs
OriginYale University, New Haven, CT
GenresA cappella, choral, barbershop music, comedy music
Years active1938–present
MembersTenor I
Khyber Shepperd '18+1
Ben Biniaz '19
Spencer Johnson '20
Ben Kieff '20
Douglas Shao '21

Tenor II
Jordan Smith '20
Matt LaMirande '21
Winston Venderbush '21

John Kauffman '19-1+1
Thomas Zembowicz '19
Krzysztof Chwala '20
Ryan Gittler '20
Kevin Li '21
Benjamin Rewis '21-1

Kwasi Enin '18+1
Seth Gregson '19
Roland Huang '19
Kyle Almquist '20
Emir Akdere '21
Aleksandr Butovetskiy '21

Ben Kieff '20,
Orpheus (musical director)

Ryan Gittler '20,
Prometheus (business manager)

The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus, also known as the SOBs, is an all-male a cappella singing group from Yale University. Founded in 1938,[1] The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus is the second longest-running a cappella group in the United States, after the Yale Whiffenpoofs. Alumni of the SOBs have gone on to be founding members of other college a cappella groups such as The Pitchforks of Duke University (Jeff Warren 1978) and The Chorallaries of MIT (David H. Bass 1975, also composer of their Engineer's Drinking Song).[2]


On October 31, 1938, twelve Yale undergraduates gathered at Mory's Temple Bar to form an alternative a cappella group to the Yale Whiffenpoofs.[3] The group capitalized on a back-handed compliment received from an audience member: "These SOBs are good!" and formed a backronym.

Music and comedy[edit]

Custom necktie, reads "Designed Exclusively for the Society of Orpheus & Bacchus"

The society’s repertoire, which contains over 200 arrangements, is composed entirely of music arranged by current and former members of the group during its more than seven decades of existence. It spans a variety of genres from barbershop to jazz to songs by more contemporary artists like Queen, MIKA, Radiohead, Ariana Grande, Tenacious D, Kanye West and Michael Bublé.[4] In addition to singing, the group prides itself on its comedy, with a typical concert including shtick written by members of the group. Each year, the Society of Orpheus and Bacchus performs across the USA and around the world, typically wearing tuxedos or suits with custom group neckties. They have performed at the White House, La Fortaleza in Puerto Rico, the American Airlines Arena for the NBA team the Miami Heat, as well as at country clubs, yacht clubs, churches, schools and resorts. The SOBs are one of only three groups — along with the Whiffenpoofs and Whim 'n Rhythm — that have a weekly engagement at Mory's Temple Bar.


The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus records a new album every other year. Since its founding, it has recorded and released 21 albums:

Album title Year
Songs of the O's and B's 1948
The Lost Album 1954
Singing with The SOBs 1959
Pretty Girl 1961
A Toast to the Gods 1963
Stepping Out 1966
Grapes on Cover 1967
The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus 1969
Smile Away 1972
Greatest Hits 1976
An Evening with the Immortals 1978
Too Much is Just Enough 1981
Intemperance 1987
Drinking from Lethe 1992
Morning After the Gods 1995
Wine in a Box 1998
Hot Damn! 2003
One for the Road 2006
Bandoleros 2008
The Continuing Adventures of Cyrus T. Elk and His Fantastical Flying Machine 2010
Some Pig! 2012
Now and For All Time 2015
Out of the Box 2017

The album, Some Pig!, has been reviewed by the Recorded A Cappella Review Board.[5]

Notable alumni[edit]

The first SOBs: back row: Comly, Dodge, Waldradt, LeBar, Springer; front row: Schuederberg, Levy, Lucey


  1. ^ "Yale Extra Curricular Groups". Yale Office of Admissions. Archived from the original on May 1, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  2. ^ "School Mascots". The Tech. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  3. ^ Mickey Rapkin (September 4, 2012). Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory. Penguin Group US. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-1-101-60903-3. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  4. ^ "The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus - Music". Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  5. ^ "Recorded A Cappella Review Board Album Reviews". Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  6. ^ "Yale School of Medicine Memoriam for Hunter H. Comly'41". Yale School of Medicine.
  7. ^ "Obituary for Paul L. Springer'41". Archived from the original on 2012-07-18.
  8. ^ "Memoriam for William Collins Jr.'45". Archived from the original on 2012-07-31.

External links[edit]