Former Riddler Returns with Yale A Cappella Group
On Wednesday, during the last Morning Meeting in November, students and staff were treated to a performance by the Yale Whiffenpoofs, the nation’s oldest a cappella group. Amongst the performers was alumnus Owen Wheeler ’18, who was proud to show off his old school to the rest of his group.
“I was really excited to be able to come back and kind of show Avon students what opportunities are out there.”
Avon Old Farms is where budding interests are turned into serious pursuits, and this was the case for Wheeler’s passion for singing.
“I had sung in chorus before but I think I really started taking it seriously at Avon. I just fell in love with singing. Being a part of the Riddlers was really fun.”
He said that while at Avon he started taking voice lessons with Mrs. Mercedes Featherston, and that she was one of the teachers who inspired him to continue to sing.
“Avon pushed me to grow as a singer, beyond just singing in a chorus every once in a while.”
Wheeler remembers traveling to France and England to sing with the Riddlers. “That was really fun,” Wheeler said. His fond memories from these trips are one of the reasons he auditioned for the Whiffenpoofs: the group takes a year off from classes to go on a world tour, performing in dozens of countries.
“I knew I wanted to keep doing music because I loved singing with the Riddlers.”
After their performance at Morning Meeting, the Whiffenpoofs joined the current Riddlers in class for a collaboration and mentoring session. Wheeler also shared some words of wisdom with his fellow Avonians, sharing that if they enjoy singing now, they’ll likely love it even more in the future.
“I hope they just see that there is a place for singing beyond the Ridders. Once you get to college there’s tons of avenues and ways to enjoy singing.”
Below, enjoy an excerpt from the Whiffenpoof performance. This particular song is "House of the Rising Sun," with Wheeler taking the lead!