The Baker's Dozen of Yale University is 'one of the nation's oldest and finest a cappella groups.' Our ensemble, founded in 1947 and comprised of sixteen male undergraduates, commands a broad repertoire of songs, ranging from traditional ballads to jazz, rock, and contemporary hits. The boundless energy and entertaining camaraderie of the "BDs" resonate with audiences in virtually any setting, be it a short set at a private party, a mid-size concert at a school, or a full-scale formal event in black tie. Highlights from recent Baker's Dozen albums include original arrangements of songs by John Legend, The Temptations, The Beatles, and Maroon 5. Every year, the Baker's Dozen performs at on-campus events such as the annual Yale-Harvard Game, and at numerous residences, clubs, resorts, and schools throughout the country. The BDs have entertained prestigious audiences at venues such as the White House, the United Nations, the Academy Award Offices in Hollywood, and the CIA headquarters. In the last two years alone, we have sung on national television with Martha Stewart and performed the National Anthem for the L.A. Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and the Boston Red Sox. In 2010, the Baker's Dozen formalized our commitment to spreading our passion for music by incorporating as a Connecticut non-profit (503(c)(3)) organization.
Although the group has grown in accomplishments and notoriety since its inception in 1947, the BDs continue to cherish the group’s founding principles and traditions. From the simple pleasures of time spent at the BD House to the spectacular thrills of life on tour, becoming a member of the Baker's Dozen promises unforgettable experiences and lifelong friendships. The Baker's Dozen experience is grounded in long-standing tradition that extends far beyond singing, with a passion for music and friendship that is as strong today as it was in 1947.
The BD Experience
...More than a singing group
We are one of 12+ a capella groups at Yale. "But what sets us apart from the rest? What are we all about?" The Baker's Dozen (or "BDs", as we are affectionately known on campus) is an extremely close-knit community of fun-loving and adventurous singers who have carried on a rich tradition for the past 67 years. You will soon find that we are far more than a typical singing group. We are, above all, a group of friends.
As an a cappella group that spends upwards of six hours a week together, as well as most of Winter and Spring vacations, we understand the importance of not simply getting along, but forming deep and lasting friendships with every member in the group. By becoming a BD, you cement a large part of your identity at Yale, and you instantly gain a group of close friends. We hang out together multiple times a week, bonding over much more than just music -- although music is at the core of our group.
Never was the rich history of the Baker’s Dozen made more apparent than when over 100 alumni flooded Yale’s campus for our 60th anniversary in 2000. The three days of songs, stories, banquets, and competitions provided even more evidence of the everlasting and resilient BD camaraderie.
Yet it doesn’t take a blowout reunion to see the lasting bonds formed by the Baker’s Dozen. Alumni provide immeasurable support and energy each year, turning out in large numbers for Spring Jam and other on-campus events. When on tour, we make an effort to catch-up with alums wherever we can find them, and many of the BDs' most extraordinary times have come as a result of opportunities provided by alums. Most importantly, alumni provide the living, breathing connection to the history of the group. Sixty years of tradition lie at the heart of the BD experience, and thanks to its active alums, the tradition remains alive today.
We are the only a cappella group on campus with our own house. The "BD Haus" functions as our social hub, as well as a home away from the dorm room for all our group's members. It also houses the group's juniors; as a BD, you get the amazing experience of living with your closest friends in a fun, active environment. Our tradition of living together is a testament to our group's close bond.
We engage in social activities and do a lot of good ol' fashion hanging out—we are known on campus for our weekly Thursday night get-togethers: "BD Thursdays". This year, we will have the exciting opportunity to move to a new house, a newly-renovated, nine-bedroom palace located at 250 Crown Street. Read an article from the New Haven Independent about the new house!
The BDs are a completely student-run group. We rehearse six hours per week in student buildings on campus. The rehearsals are led by the musical director -- or "pitch," as he's affectionately called. The pitch also selects our set lists, and works with soloists. In general, our policy on solos is that any group member may sing any song he wishes, provided that he learns and works on the solo in advance. This makes for an extremely collaborative and non-competitive environment in which we are always encouraging each other to try new things.
The business matters of the group are handled entirely by the business manager(s) -- "the biz". The biz also handles logistics regarding concerts, the house, and tours. Tours, however, are coordinated almost entirely by the two Winter Tour and Spring Tour Managers. These are usually juniors, with a few exceptions. As a result, the junior members collectively run the group, with the biz and pitch often serving as the "spiritual" leaders of the BDs.