Hotelier’s epic $20k shout

Queenstown-bound: Yale University’s famous Whiffenpoofs are singing at Hotel St Moritz this month

Two Queenstown dinner performances by a world-famous a cappella singing group have been turned by a generous local businessman into a fundraiser for the Wakatipu High School Foundation (WHSF).

After a long absence due to border restrictions, the Whiffenpoofs, from the United States’ prestigious Yale University, who originally assembled in 1909, return to Hotel St Moritz on July 24 and 26 during a world tour.

Hotel owner Graham Wilkinson, following a conversation with WHSF trustee Karen Spires, is donating the entire $150 ticket price for the three-course meals and performances to the foundation.

His local winery, Nevis Bluff Wines, is also donating the wine.

‘‘It’s a pleasure to able to organise something after the last long two years that entertains and helps do some good in the community,’’ Wilkinson says.

Provided the 140 tickets sell out over the two nights, WHSF expects to raise $20,000 from the event.

Spires says the foundation’s ‘‘truly grateful’’ for Wilkinson’s generosity.

So far, it’s donated more than $1.25 million for special programmes over and above what the government provides.

This year alone, with the community’s support, it’s donated $400,000 across a wide range of programmes from student well being, sports, camps, academics, music and cultural events to the Awhi fund assisting students and their families in need of extra financial support.

To book for either of the Whiffenpoofs’ ‘Supper & Song’ evenings, which start with oysters and bubbles on arrival, visit

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