Scene on Campus

Tap dance

On Tap Night, it’s off to the races.

Tap night for the undergrad a cappella groups is a night of anxiety and speed. Anxiety, because this is the moment for officially inviting freshman members, and every group wants the best singers; and speed, because the groups race each other to the dorm rooms of their top candidates on Old Campus and in Silliman and Timothy Dwight colleges. This year the event officially began at 10:30 p.m. on September 10, with songs by Whim ’n Rhythm and the Whiffenpoofs (senior-only groups that don’t tap freshmen). With the members of the other groups jammed against the High Street gate and jostling each other like paparazzi, Yale College Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry declared the ritual open by dropping a broom—a relatively recent tradition. Security guards opened the gate, and the runners took off. The 13 groups invited at least 75 undergraduates to join this year. “You pick your fastest runner,” says Barry McMurtrey ’88, a member of the Whiffenpoof Board of Trustees, “and then plot your route strategically.”

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