Alumna A Capella

Students in the Upper and Middle School were welcomed back from Winter Break with a musical treat at their respective assemblies. Whim ‘n Rhythm, a female a cappella group from Yale University, wowed the students with their singing. With songs ranging from Killing Me Softly to Jolene, there was something for everyone.

One member of the group, Madi Cupp-Enyard ’16, was welcomed back to her alma mater with open arms. Cupp-Enyard gave an especially impressive performance, not only because of her vocal talent, but also in her leadership of the group. Students especially enjoyed her soloist performance of Lay Me Down.

Her poised leadership and beautiful voice came as no surprise to her former teachers. While a student at MICDS, Cupp-Enyard was Co-President of the Honor Council and an officer for the Thespian Troupe. She participated in Troubadours, sang in the Upper School choir, choreographed for Spring Pops and competed in cheerleading and track and field. She spent her summers as a Muny Teen, performing at the Muny in Forest Park. 

Now in her senior year at Yale University, Cupp-Enyard is a member of Morse College, double majoring in Theater Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She sings Soprano 2 and serves as the Musical Director for Whim ’n Rhythm. She also has three younger siblings in the Middle and Lower school here at MICDS, and they were part of the audience applauding her performances. 

Cupp-Enyard shared the following reflection about performing at MICDS, including some thoughts on how MICDS prepared her for college in general. 

“It was a bit surreal to perform at MICDS. To show this new part of my life in such a formative space that really shaped my adolescence was a really special opportunity, and I’m grateful to MICDS for having us. I was so honored to show my group to the teachers who got me to Yale and who nourished my love for learning and the arts.

“MICDS fostered my love for the arts, school and leadership. I participated in choir and theater at MICDS, doing multiple years of Honor and District Choirs in the area and around the country. My qualifications for a cappella, and specifically music directing Whim ’n Rhythm, came entirely from my classes with Dana Self. His choir classes and AP Music Theory classes truly treated music as an art and a skill. No one respects the craft like he does and no one is a better leader. I learned everything I needed to run this group from watching him run our choir classes and training my ear in our music theory class. I owe it all to him – I wouldn’t be in Whim without my classes with him. Getting to show him this group was the highlight of my year. It meant so much to me.

“I also took many AP classes and ran the Honor Council as Co-Head my senior year. These experiences definitely prepared me for the obstacles and opportunities in college and specifically at Yale. Much like MICDS, Yale students have a myriad of academic interests and participate in so many extracurriculars. Many students double major and even hold leadership positions in multiple organizations on campus. This mirrors the MICDS experience. Learning how to manage a rigorous academic schedule, as well as athletic practices after school and then various rehearsals at night could describe both the MICDS and Yale experiences. MICDS prepares its students for a demanding schedule while balancing organization and passion for various skills. The school expands the definition of ‘learning’ to outside of the classroom as well, and that has only helped me in my time at Yale.”

Whim ’n Rhythm is a nonprofit organization composed of 12 of the best senior soprano and alto singers at Yale. Since its founding in 1981, the members of Whim ’n Rhythm have recorded professional studio albums and traveled to every continent to share their talent and love of singing with audiences around the world, all while promoting the role of women in higher education and music. This year’s Whim ’n Rhythm class hails from 12 different hometowns and studies over 13 majors from Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry to Theater Studies. They visited St. Louis on their winter tour and San Francisco and Los Angeles in the spring. They also plan to record a professional studio album to be released in the summer, and the day after graduation they will take off on an eight-week world tour.

This performance was made possible by the Mary Institute Class of 1976 James P. Stearns Honorary Humanities Series endowed fund. Established as a Senior Class Gift from the MI Class of 1976, the Stearns Fund provides support for bringing distinguished performing artists, lecturers of the fine arts and lecturers in the humanities to School. James Stearns served as the Head of Mary Institute from 1969 to 1976.