BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Yale Spizzwinks (?) visited Temple Sholom, in Bridgewater, Sunday, during their hometown visit for sophomore member, and Bridgewater-Raritan High School graduate, Dennis Brookner. Freshman TanTan Wang of Warren Township is also a member of the group and performed Sunday.
The all-male a cappella group performed a number of songs and entertained a packed house, there to celebrate music and Brookner.
The visit was part of a tradition the Spizzwinks (?) have to visit the hometowns of all its members, in addition to a promise of visiting all six inhabited continents on Earth.
“I decided on a whim during my first few weeks of school to audition for a cappella,” he said. “I found myself in the Spizzwinks(?), and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.”
The Spizzwinks(?) sing everything from Beatles and Elvis Presley to today’s hits. The concerts are also interspersed with humor, and they performed in October at the U.S. State Department.
“The group has become an incredibly important musical experience for me, and has inspired me to expand into other realms of singing,” Brookner said. “I’m dabbling in opera this semester.”
Brookner said he didn’t sing before college. He was in the band and orchestra at BRHS, and currently plays bassoon in the Yale Symphony Orchestra.
But what is special about the Spizzwinks(?) and keeps the all-male 14 members so close, Brookner said, is their tour schedule.
We call it the Spizzwinks(?) Promise, that in your three years in the group, you’ll travel to all six inhabited continents and your hometown,” he said. “The first part of the promise is certainly the more enticing.”
Brookner said he had the chance to go to China and Indonesia this year, and will visit New Zealand and Europe next year.
“But I’ve found the hometown tours to be by far the more meaningful part,” he said. “I’ve now been to the hometowns of seven members of the group, and always found it to be extremely illuminating, after knowing someone in the context of college life. It’s incredible to spend a few days in their home, with their family and friends.”
Before the performance he said,"It’ll be awesome to perform at Temple Sholom, where I did my first ever singing, and share this awesome part of my life with my hometown community."
The (?) in the name dates back to the groups origin when four young men met at Mory's Temple Bar, Yale's historic tavern, to create an alternative to the Whiffenpoofs The name "Spizzwinks," refers to a mythical creature of the Corn Blight of 1906. The editor of the Yale Banner added a question mark in parentheses to the headline because he was unsure of the spelling and the name was born.
The Spizzwinks(?) Members are:
Scott Feiner '19
Nolan Crawford '19
Dale Zhong '19
Noah Strausser '18
Dylan Schifrin '20
TanTan Wang '20
Dennis Brookner '19
Jake Colavolpe '18
Donovan Sabog '18
Paul Gross '20
Nick Massoud '19
Hudson Lee '19
Ian Billinge '18
Aidan O'Connor '20
Jake Gluckman '20
Christopher Bowman '18
Scott Feiner, pitchpipe
Donovan Sabog, business manager