The scene in Caswell Hall was one of laughter and clapping as Kevin Chen, a tenor of the Yale Baker’s Dozen, walked down the aisle singing and twirling Morgan Schaack ’19. The Yale Baker’s Dozen, an all-boys a cappella group, visited Marlborough School during All-School Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 14.
Founded in 1947 by 13 Yale students, the Baker’s Dozen now has a roster of five freshmen, six sophomores, and five juniors, fifteen of whom performed at Marlborough during their winter break. Entry into the Baker’s Dozen involves a process they call “Rush.” The Yale Baker’s Dozen has its own house in New Haven that members can spend time in while still living in Yale residential colleges. After a process of auditions, new members are selected from Yale’s freshmen class each year. Many seniors of the Baker’s Dozen go on to join the Whiffenpoofs, Yale’s oldest a cappella group.
The members of the Baker’s Dozen have to balance their schoolwork and other extracurricular activities with being on the a cappella group. Several members of the choir play varsity sports and are involved in other groups on campus.
Part of their performance involved a break in the singing when several freshmen members of the Baker’s Dozen took turns eating Colgate toothpaste. According to baritone Connor McLaughlin, the toothpaste swallowing is apparently a ritual the upperclassmen force the freshmen singers to do.
The Baker’s Dozen was received with loud applause from the audience of Marlborough students. Annabel ’17 was one of about 45 students who signed up to join members of the Baker’s Dozen for a pizza lunch.
“The [performance] was wonderful. [The Baker’s Dozen] had a lot of charisma,” Annabel gushed.
Members of the Baker’s Dozen are friends with Marlborough alumni. In fact, it was Ellen ’12 who put Dean of Student Life Regina Rosi in touch with the Baker’s Dozen to have them perform at Marlborough. At the pizza lunch, McLaughlin talked about how he joined the Baker’s Dozen and his singing at Marlborough.
“I really enjoyed performing at Marlborough. The reception was really great,” Ellen said after his performance.
The Kenyan Boys Choir, as part of their tour through North America, stopped by at All-School Meeting on Friday, Dec. 4 and sang a repertoire of traditional African songs as well as Christmas carols. The choir was started in 2004 to help underprivileged Kenyan boys raise money for their education. They are known for performing traditional Maasai and Samburu chants but also perform classical European and contemporary American songs. The choir gained widespread recognition after performing at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009..
A memorable moment from the Kenyan Boys Choir’s performance was when several of the singers stepped off stage and brought student and faculty members to dance with them. All standing in a line in front of Caswell, Marlborough students and teachers were mixed in with the choir members and danced as the choir sang.
Members of Chamber Choir and Girls Go Global got to eat lunch with the Kenyan Boys Choir. At the lunch, David Rombo, a member of the Kenyan Boys Choir, talked about how much he enjoyed performing at Marlborough.
“[Performing at Marlborough] was amazing. The energy in the room was amazing. We enjoyed every minute of it,” Rombo said.