Baker’s Dozen, Yale’s prestigious a capella group, visits choir classes

The Baker’s Dozen work with our choir class. Photo courtesy of Dr. Balfour.

By Lily Angel

On Friday, January 13, students and faculty were treated to a special performance by Yale University’s renowned a cappella group The Baker’s Dozen. The group visited the school and performed during lunch in Highlander Hall, entertaining the audience with songs such as “Your Man” and “Just My Imagination.” 

The Baker’s Dozen is the oldest a cappella group in the nation founded in 1913 and has a long-standing reputation for excellence. The group’s visit provided students and faculty with an opportunity to learn from experienced musicians in the field of a cappella music and to understand the history of the art form and its evolution over time. 

The Baker’s Dozen also worked with choir classes, offering tips and insights on singing, performance, and dynamics. They provided guidance on how to improve vocal techniques and how to create unique arrangements. The workshops allowed students to learn and gain a deeper understanding of the art of a cappella.

Students were able to ask questions and interact with the group, giving them an opportunity to gain insight into the professional music industry. 

The Baker’s Dozen began and instructed two vocal exercises for all choir classes. These exercises were aimed at preparing their voices for the rest of the workshop. The students also had the opportunity to teach the Baker’s Dozen a vocal exercise, allowing for a collaborative learning experience.

“The Baker’s Dozen performed a song or two for the students and discussed and demonstrated musical concepts such as dynamics, blend, and expression,” choir instructor Dr. Desiree Balfour said.

After their performance, The Baker’s Dozen divided the class into four groups by vocal range with one member leading them in each group. From there, the Baker’s Dozen worked closely with the students, teaching them the song they had previously performed. Once the groups felt ready, they all joined together and performed the songs as a class.

At the end of class, students were given the opportunity to ask The Baker’s Dozen questions. The questions varied but stayed on the central theme of vocal techniques and what it was like to be a student at Yale.

The students were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such accomplished musicians, and many of them found the workshops to be beneficial and inspiring.

“It was honestly really fun, they were really down to earth. You would expect somebody different coming from an Ivy League school. They made us feel like we were one of them, like we weren’t just high schoolers. They made us feel like we were on their level. They were honestly really chill and fun to work with,” senior Isabella Cruz said.