The Ephlats were formed in the fall of 1956 by a core of three sophomores including Jack Hyland, Jr. ('59), from the one singing group at the Haverford School in Pennsylvania. They knew enough songs together to start a singing group
at college, and they attracted four others to join. Unfortunately, they never took new members in their four years, and in the spring of 1959, they graduated and the group was no more. But not for long. In the fall of 1959, John
Conner ('63), Richard Mitchell ('63) and others restarted the group. These two were roommates in Sage Hall during their freshman year and they both had sung with The Buttondowns, a high school a cappella group from The Pingry School
in New Jersey. This time they began recruiting new members from the freshman class each year, starting with the class of 1964.
The next major change came when Williams accepted women for the first time. In relatively short order, the Ephlats followed suit and took three women in their first year as an all-gender group. By this time, the group had moved away from its a cappella origins and performed with guitars, a double bass and various percussion instruments.
At the end of the 1970's, interest in the group died out, and the members decided they had better things to do with their time. So, for the second time, the Ephlats dissolved.
This time it was a group from the Williams Springstreeters that restarted the Ephlats. With Kendal James ('84), Caragh O'Bryan ('84)--who became the music director--and Blake Martin ('84), they reformed in the fall of 1982. Somewhat ironically, James, like Connor and Mitchell, was also an alum of The Pingry School and The Buttondowns. This time, the Ephlats returned to an a cappella format: one of their show-stoppers in the early years was "For the Longest Time" by Billy Joel.
Since that time, the Ephlats have remained a cohesive singing group -- we are now in our 64th year. The Ephlats have produced several albums over the years. At least three on vinyl, several on audio tape, and the latest five on CD. Our albums, including our most recent release, Hushed Intensity, can be purchased by contacting the business manager, RB Smith.
This somewhat comprehensive history was compiled by Scott Case ('98) with the help of Jack Hyland, Jr. ('59), Richard L. Mitchell ('63) and Kendal James ('84). Dan Seaton ('01) and Zach Yeskel ('04) served as a contributing editors for later updates.
The Williams College Ephlats have a long and storied history. Below is a list of all known Ephlats members, past and present. For more information about a current member, click on the "members" tab.