On the evening of July 8, 2019, Plovdiv natives and tourists enjoyed an American a cappella performance by Yale University’s Whim ‘n Rhythm ensemble. The full-house crowd at the Roman Stadium in the city center heard original arrangements of jazz, spirituals, country and pop hits performed by the 13-member, all-female ensemble. But what really brought the house down was the group’s rendition of the Bulgarian choral classic “Vecheryai Rado” – which left the crowd cheering for an encore!
Whim ‘n Rhythm is the oldest and most prestigious female a cappella ensemble of Yale College, founded in 1981 in response to a university tradition of male a cappella groups dating back nearly 160 years. Each year, the best and most experienced singers of the graduating class are selected for the all-senior college formation. The singers come from diverse backgrounds and academic fields, as was apparent when this year’s group introduced themselves on stage and stated their majors, which ranged from American Studies to Biology.
2019 marked Whim ‘n Rhythm’s second visit to Bulgaria – last year’s group visited Bulgaria for the first time and recommended that the 2019 cohort visit again, as Bulgaria had been one of their favorite stops on the group’s annual world tour. Besides Bulgaria, this year’s tour destinations include the US, Australia, Colombia, Japan, China, India, Thailand, South Africa, and Romania. Whim ‘n Rhythm’s concert in Plovdiv was a major highlight of their 2019 visit – many singers exclaimed that the Roman Stadium was the most beautiful venue they had sung in anywhere around the world.
The concert was organized by the Yale Club of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission, with the assistance of the American College of Sofia. It was part of Plovdiv 2019 European Capital of Culture program. Thank you to all our partners and sponsors for helping us bring this unique American musical and educational event to Bulgaria!
Photo credit: Dimitar Ferdinandov