The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus
|Also known as||The SOBs|
|Origin||Yale University, New Haven, CT|
|Genres||A cappella, choral, barbershop music, comedy music|
Spencer Johnson '20+1
Andrew Zheng '23-1,
Orpheus (musical director)
Matthew Walak '22,
Prometheus (business manager)
The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus, also known as the SOBs, is an all-male a cappella singing group from Yale University. Founded in 1938, The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus is the second longest-running a cappella group in the United States, after the Yale Whiffenpoofs. Alumni of the SOBs have gone on to be founding members of other college a cappella groups such as The Pitchforks of Duke University (Jeff Warren 1978) and The Chorallaries of MIT (David H. Bass 1975, also composer of their Engineer's Drinking Song).
On October 31, 1938, twelve Yale undergraduates gathered at Mory's Temple Bar to form an alternative a cappella group to the Yale Whiffenpoofs. The group capitalized on a back-handed compliment received from an audience member: "These SOBs are good!" and formed a backronym.
Music and comedy
The society’s repertoire, which contains over 200 arrangements, is composed entirely of music arranged by current and former members of the group during its more than seven decades of existence. It spans a variety of genres from barbershop to jazz to songs by more contemporary artists like Queen, MIKA, Radiohead, Ariana Grande, Tenacious D, Kanye West and Michael Bublé. In addition to singing, the group prides itself on its comedy, with a typical concert including shtick written by members of the group. Each year, the Society of Orpheus and Bacchus performs across the USA and around the world, typically wearing tuxedos or suits with custom group neckties. They have performed at the White House, La Fortaleza in Puerto Rico, the American Airlines Arena for the NBA team the Miami Heat, as well as at country clubs, yacht clubs, churches, schools and resorts. The SOBs are one of only three groups — along with the Whiffenpoofs and Whim 'n Rhythm — that have a weekly engagement at Mory's Temple Bar.
The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus records a new album every other year. Since its founding, it has recorded and released 21 albums:
|Songs of the O's and B's||1948|
|The Lost Album||1954|
|Singing with The SOBs||1959|
|A Toast to the Gods||1963|
|Grapes on Cover||1967|
|The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus||1969|
|An Evening with the Immortals||1978|
|Too Much is Just Enough||1981|
|Drinking from Lethe||1992|
|Morning After the Gods||1995|
|Wine in a Box||1998|
|One for the Road||2006|
|The Continuing Adventures of Cyrus T. Elk and His Fantastical Flying Machine||2010|
|Now and For All Time||2015|
|Out of the Box||2017|
- Hunter H. Comly 1941 - identifier of the cause of blue baby syndrome.
- Paul Lebaron Springer 1941 - a former intelligence officer, awarded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with the Intelligence Medal of Merit on retirement.
- Ralph Levy 1942 - an Emmy Award-winning American producer, film and television director.
- William Collins Jr. 1945 - a professor and Chief of Yale School of Medicine in 1967.
- David Chavchavadze 1950 - an American author and a former CIA officer.
- Sam Weisman 1969 - an American film director and an executive producer of NBC's The Sing-Off.
- Robert Picardo 1975 - an American actor. He is best known for his portrayals of Dr. Dick Richards on ABC's China Beach, the Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH), also known as The Doctor, on UPN's Star Trek: Voyager, The Cowboy in Innerspace and Coach Cutlip on The Wonder Years (for which he received an Emmy nomination).
- Jonathan LaPook 1975 - American physician and medical journalist. He is the chief medical correspondent for CBS News.
- James L. Connaughton 1983 - an American energy industry lawyer and the former George W. Bush administration environmental adviser.
- Roy Jenkins 1984 - award-winning and twice Emmy-nominated comedy writer for Late Night with Conan O'Brien, alumnus of The Groundlings.
- Jeb Brown 1986 - Broadway performer, notable for his roles in Grease and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
- Mike Errico 1988 - American singer-songwriter, composer and producer.
- Tad Low 1988 - creator and producer of television shows, including Pop-Up Video and Pants-Off Dance-Off.
- Henry Blodget 1988 - editor and CEO of Business Insider.
- James Waterston 1992 - American actor and screenwriter.
- Franklin Raff 1996 - twice Emmy Award winning (Best Host, Best Documentary) host of GREAT WHITE SHIFT - Talk radio host.
- John Gidding 1999 - an American architect, television actor, former fashion model, one of the designers on the ABC Family show, Knock First, designer on Curb Appeal: The Block, and now appearing on the reboot of Trading Spaces.
- Chaim Bloom 2004 - Director of Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox.
- Brian Reed 2007 - NPR producer and creator of the award-winning podcast S-Town.
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- Mickey Rapkin (September 4, 2012). Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory. Penguin Group US. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-1-101-60903-3. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
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