“Rush” is the name of the audition process for a cappella singing groups at Yale. While called by the same name, the Rush process is different from a sorority or fraternity-style rush. It is usually about a 2 week-long process of auditions, concerts, and meals, culminating in a “tap night,” when the new members of groups are selected. The process is designed to introduce interested singers to the wide spectrum of a cappella singing opportunities at Yale, as well as give more in depth views of each group’s style, repertoire, and personality.
When can I first meet and hear these different groups?
The first event of Rush 2018 is the Woolsey Hall A Cappella Kick-Off Jam, which takes place on Sunday, August 26th at 10:30 pm. At this event, all the groups sing a couple songs to highlight their different styles and sounds. This is an event which many members of the Yale community attend to cheer on their friends as well as listen to quality a cappella music. Attendance is free, so bring your friends!
How do I audition?
The Dwight Hall A Cappella Rush Jam is a second chance to hear all the a cappella groups perform more songs and skits from their repertoire. It is held on the Wednesday night following the Woolsey Jam (August 29th) so that interested singers have time to reflect on the different performances they saw and heard at the previous jam.
Sign-ups for auditions immediately follow the end of the last performance at Dwight. Each group has a table alongside the walls of the room. Please sign up for an audition time and receive an audition card/materials from each group you would like to audition for. Once you sign up for an audition, you are a rushee of that group! This sign-up process can sometimes get a little crazy, but if you stick around long enough you may witness a unique inter-group tradition.
I missed Dwight Jam, but I really want to audition! What do I do now?
If for some reason you miss the Dwight Sign-Up (you fell asleep, you lost track of time…) and are interested in auditioning, do not panic. You can email any of the SGC co-chairs (Lauren, Dennis, or Emil) telling us which groups you’d like to audition for and we’ll put you in touch with their Rush teams. You could also use the links on our website to search any of the groups’ websites to contact their respective rush managers directly. Please note that auditions cannot be held after the Monday following Dwight Jam, so please reach out as soon as you know you’re interested.
I am not a First-Year student. Can I still audition?
Yes! Nearly every year several groups tap upperclassmen singers (Second-Year, Third-Year, and Fourth-Year students) into their groups. The only way to assure that you won’t be tapped is if you choose to not audition. So attend the Dwight Jam and sign up!
Which groups can I audition for?
The Whiffenpoofs and Whim ‘n Rhythm each have separate audition processes in the spring open only to juniors. Other than this, 14 other SGC-affiliated groups participate in the fall Rush process, and auditions are open to all students. You may choose to audition for as many or as few of these groups as you choose to sign up for at the Dwight Jam.
As a note, men rushees cannot be tapped by all-women groups and women rushees cannot be tapped by all-men groups. However, interested singers may schedule a “practice audition” with a single-gender group of the opposite gender. The group members should treat you as regular rushee through your first audition.
When and where are auditions held?
Auditions are held in various locations across campus only during the weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) immediately following the Dwight Jam. Check each group’s website and Rush materials for audition locations. If you have questions, feel free to reach out the Rush teams of the groups you’re rushing.
What is the audition process like?
The groups vary, so each audition may be a little different. However, the following general guidelines should hold true for any first audition.
Auditions typically last ten to fifteen minutes. In the audition, you will be asked to sing a solo (without accompaniment) of your choice. Groups will also ask you to do some interval, rhythm, and blending exercises and to learn a small excerpt of music.
In the spirit of Rush, auditions are not meant to be intimidating in any way. Above all, don’t fret about your solo choice – anything that shows off your voice is great. Groups have heard everything from “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to “Umbrella” to “Memory” to “Se tu m’ami.”
Exactly what is a 'rush meal?'
After your audition, you may be scheduled for rush meals, where you will have the chance to eat and chat with some group members. These meals are meant to help rushees and group members get to know each other. You will be scheduled for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in one of the Yale dining halls with one or more members of the group. Rush meals will not be held outside of Yale dining halls.
What is a 'Singing Dessert?'
Every rushee of a group is invited to attend the group’s Singing Dessert, a group’s only full-length concert during the Rush process. Here, groups present selections from their repertoire and serve snacks and desserts. Invitations to Singing Desserts are delivered to rushees at or after auditions. Most Singing Desserts are either preceded by pre-parties or followed by after-parties, where you can hang out with members of the group, chat about the dessert (or the concert), and get to know the members better. Savor this sweet time, as it’s the only time to you’ll be able to see the group members in a social setting during Rush. All Singing Dessert parties are dry.
Are there callback auditions?
Many groups choose to have callback auditions for rushees they are interested in hearing again. Callback auditions will be held on the weekend of September 8th-9th. Each group runs its callbacks slightly differently, but generally these auditions are similar to, but slightly longer and more comprehensive than, the first auditions. If you are called back, you should receive specific information as to what your callback will entail. If you have questions, please contact the rush managers of the group you are rushing for clarification.
When will I find out if I've been chosen by a group?
In the days following your callback audition, you may receive a pre-tap from a group (or several groups). This pre-tap is simply a heads-up that the group would like you to come to your door and tap you on Tap Night. Pre-taps may be given on a legal Rush Meal, over the phone by a Rush Manager, or in an email from a Rush Manager. While you do not need to reply to this pre-tap before Tap Night, we strongly encourage you to make your final decision before then, as it makes things easier for the groups and your fellow rushees. Each group is different however, and if you are not given a pre-tap from a group you are rushing prior to Tap Night, you could still be tapped. If a group does not intend to tap you, they’ll let you know as soon as they can.
Tap Night is the end of the Rush process. On this night, all the groups line up on Old Campus and race towards the Old Campus dorms (or wherever rushees live). The groups run all over campus to “tap,” or notify, the rushees they would like to be members of their group. Rushees who will not be tapped will also be notified by the group before the end of tap night (12:30am).
The earliest you should hear about a pre-tap from a group is 8:00 am on Monday, September 10th. If you think a group is trying to pre-tap you before then, please let the SGC co-chairs (Lauren, Dennis, or Emil) know. NOTE: If you are not a first-year, you can receive a pre-tap at any time after your audition.
Do I have to decide which group to go with by tap night?
Most rushees do decide to go with a group that taps them by tap night, because it is a thrilling experience to run with the group, and brings great closure to a 2-week long process. However, if you are feeling really unsure about your decision, you do not have to immediately decide to go with a group when they come to your door. When a group asks you if you would like to be a member of their group, you have three possible responses: YES, NO, or MAYBE.
As soon as you say YES to a group, you are a member of that group. You may run with the group for the remainder of tap night, and cannot join any other group that may try to tap you unless you quit the group you said yes to and re-rush the other group in the next rush.
As soon as you say NO to a group, the group should no longer pursue you. You cannot become a member of that group unless you re-rush and are tapped by them again in the next rush.
If you say MAYBE to a group on tap night, they cannot actively pursue you after 12:30am, but you have until midnight on the Sunday following tap night to decide. No decision by this deadline is equivalent to NO. Also, if you say MAYBE to a group, but then choose to run with that group or attend its tap night after party, that is equivalent to saying YES.
What should I do if I have any more questions?
If you have any questions about Rush policies, we suggest you read the Rush rules. They are available below. If you have any questions about when Rush events occur, please see the Rush calendar. If you have any further group-specific questions, please contact one of the Rush Managers of that group. However, feel free to contact us at any time. We will do our best to help!