Anelisa Fergus, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly referred to as “The Mormon Church”) is a senior at Yale University. She is the current musical director of Whim N Rhythm, which is Yale’s all-senior a cappella group founded as an all-female counterpart to the Whiffenpoofs. According to Yale Daily News.com, “her voice and musical abilities are lauded by peers and teachers alike.”
Anelisa, who was born in Texas, had never sung a cappella before college, but she grew up in what she describes as a “casually musical family.” Her parents’ careers moved the family from Texas to Pennsylvania to New Jersey, where she attended North Hunterdon Regional High School. She began playing the clarinet in the fourth grade and continued playing through high school, traveling to the Manhattan School of Music on weekends, where she trained and participated in an orchestra and clarinet ensemble. Later, she started playing the saxophone and performed in both her middle school and high school jazz bands. She says, “I was a total band geek,”
When it came time for Anelisa to apply for colleges, she had aspirations of pursuing clarinet further and in addition to applying to Yale, she also applied to music schools for clarinet performance. It was at Bulldog Days that she fell in love with Yale, as well as, a cappella. After attending an open rehearsal event, she became determined to join an a cappella group at Yale.
When it came time to apply to colleges, Fergus almost decided to pursue clarinet further. She applied to music schools for clarinet performance in addition to Yale. But at Bulldog Days, Fergus fell in love with both Yale and a cappella. She attended an open rehearsal event and returned home determined to join an a cappella group at Yale. She said, “I started practicing my audition song in May. The song was “Matchmaker” from “Fiddler on the Roof. Twas a time.”
Her preparation paid off, and she joined The New Blue – Yale’s oldest all-female a cappella ensemble which was founded in 1969. She describes herself as being “heavily involved” in The New Blue, but she never served as the musical director. Being encouraged by Sarah Householder ’18 –– last year’s Whim ‘N Rhythm musical director and previous The New Blue musical director –– to audition for musical director of Whim ‘N Rhythm, Anelisa accepted the challenge and was selected last spring. A member and tour manager of Whim ‘N Rhythm, Gillian Bolt ’19, commented, “We lucked out. She’s [Anelisa] patient, thoughtful and generous with her time. She motivates the group to work hard and efficiently and she manages to bring a sense of humor to every late night rehearsal.”
Anelisa is looking forward to the group’s world tour after graduation, which will last from May to July 2019.