Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia - Theta Upsilon Chapter, Delta State University - Cleveland, Mississippi

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Chapter News Archives

Chapter singing at AMRChapter presents American Music Recital at DSU
On October 12, 2009, Phi Mu Alpha hosted their annual American Music Recital in the recital hall of the Bologna Performing Arts Center.  The chapter as a whole performed during the recital singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Hail Sinfonia,” and “A Serenade to A Girl.”  Brothers performed songs by various American composers including Leonard Bernstein, William Gaither, Bob Seger, and John Mayer.  The chapter also welcomed Dr. Douglas Mark on stage to perform with the DSU Tuba Duba Polka Band. The light-hearted atmosphere of the event seemed to appeal to the mostly student audience and all performances were met with applause and occasionally laughter. [Read more...]


Stadium lettersChapter congratulates Brother Gilbert
On October 3, 2009, Brother Matthew Gilbert (Theta Upsilon, 2007) engaged in Holy matrimony with Mu Phi Epsilon member Melanie Carpenter.  The ceremony was held outside of First Baptist Church of Olive Branch.  Several members of Phi Mu Alpha and Mu Phi Epsilon were present, including brothers Joe B. Raymond III, Timothy Powell, Greg Cobb, and Kermit Sartin who served as groomsmen.  The chapter wishes Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert the best of luck as they begin their journey in life together. [Read more...]


Stadium lettersChapter debuts new stadium letters
Delta State University's 2009 Pig Pickin celebration marked the first home game of the season for the Delta State Statesmen.  It also marked the debut of new stadium letters for the chapter.  Several brothers gathered at the home Brother Scott Trapolino to design, cut, and paint the letters. Each of the letters measures 8'×8' hinged in the middle for easy storage and transportation.  Over the semester the letters will continue to be painted for different occasions including dawning a pink ribbon for the game on October 24 to show support for breast cancer awareness. [Read more...]


Auditiorium in SkeneAuditorium in Old Skene High School is arsoned
On Sunday, September 6, a member of the Bolivar County Emergency Response Team drove down Highway 446 in Skene to see a fire at the old Bayou Academy building.  This building is where the chapter has annually held a Haunted House fundraiser around Halloween.  The auditorium area of the property was completely engulfed.  Chapter president Joe B. Raymond, III, commented on the damage done to the property, "We had already started planning, mapping and staging this year's Haunted House.  The damage from the fire will definitely cause a hindrance to our plans.  We'll have to work a lot harder than we had foreseen in order to make the event happen. ... It actually may come as a positive influence on the event, which is one of our biggest fundraisers.  Hopefully, when the proverbial dust settles, we'll have the best Phi Mu Alpha Haunted House to date." [Read more...]

Shelby Anderson manning the grill.Chapter feeds the DSU Marching Band during Band Camp 2009
Several brothers from the chapter assembled in the breezeway between the Bologna Performing Arts Center and Zeigel Hall to give a hamburger and hot dog lunch on Saturday, August 15, 2009, to the band students at Delta State University.  Brothers gathered the ingredients and supplies necessary to feed all the participants and a few extra people.  Brother Shelby Anderson (pictured at the grill) manned the grill, preparing hamburgers and hot dogs for dozens of starving musicians.  It was a good time for brothers and band members to get to know each other and to see each other after the summer break.  This event is one that happens at the Delta State University summer band camp every year, and functions to allow people to meet the Sinfonian brothers in an official, but laid-back function.  New students, old students, young friends, and old friends all gather every year at this cookout to build camaraderie and fraternalism among hungry musicians. [Read more...]

L-R: Chris Sparks, Brad Ballard, Joe Raymond, Travis Hall, and Timothy Powell.Chapter brothers participate in drum corps across the nation.
Five brothers of the Theta Upsilon chapter are spending their summer traveling the country in competition, helping to do their part in the advancement of music in America.  Brothers Joe Raymond, Christopher Sparks, Travis Hall, and Brad Ballard are performing members of drum and bugle corps.  Brother Timothy Powell is spending his second year on tour as a volunteer helping the Carolina Crown to sell merchandise at each event. All of these brothers, along with several others in each corps, work together all summer to provide a musical experience that is unmatched in the world of marching and pageantry arts.  Each corps travels the country between June and August performing up to 40 shows in one summer at varying locations.  The summer tour culminates at the Drum Corps International World Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, on August 8 and the Drum Corps Associates Championships in Rochester, New York, the final weekend of August. [Read more...]

2009 Convention LogoChapter brothers to perform in all three national fraternity ensembles
In mid-July, three chapter brothers will set out to Orlando, Florida, to rehearse and perform in all of the ensembles at the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia 2009 National Convention. Brother Greg Cobb (Theta Upsilon, ’08) will be playing the drums for the Convention’s Jazz Band, led by Jim Ketch (Alpha Rho, ’78), and with the sit-in playing of Jamey Aebersold (Gamma Tau, ’68). Brother Mark Helmstetter (Theta Upsilon, ’03) will be playing the euphonium in the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Wind Ensemble, which will be conducted by Dr. Bobby Adams (Theta Pi, ’61), with one piece guest conducted by Dr. Frank Ticheli, who has been selected by the fraternity to be a national honorary member, to be initiated at Convention. Brother Andrew Owen (Theta Upsilon, ’06) will be singing bass in the Men of Song Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia National Men’s Chorus, under the baton of Dr. Dennis Shrock (Zeta Tau, ’63). [Read more...]

Group picture by the national headquarters signChapter takes a retreat to Lyrecrest
For the first time in many years, the chapter visited Lyrecrest, the fraternity's national headquarters in Evansville, Indiana, for a weekend retreat on April 3-5.  The caravan of about 23 people left Cleveland at about 4:00 p.m. and arrived in Evansville after midnight.  The chapter ate breakfast and, with the assistance of the fraternity retreat coordinator, Will Lambert, did some brotherhood-building exercises, along with some leadership development exercises.  Throughout the retreat, the chapter made copies of all old archived chapter files, from the petition to become a chapter in 1960 to the chapter reports of the current millennium, filling out years of formerly lost chapter information.  Saturday evening, National Vice President John A. Mongiovi spoke for about four hours about the message of the ritual and the philosophy of the fraternity.  The chapter very much enjoyed the retreat, getting to know each other even better, speaking with the foremost authority on the ritual, eating together, and visiting each other, miles away from the responsibilities of their lives. [Read more...]

Several Sinfonians after the presentation.Chapter does its second mass Mills Music Mission
Over the weekend of March 21, the chapter participated in a large Mills Music Mission around the Northwest Mississippi region, including Southaven, Hernando, Memphis, Batesville, and Grenada.  The Mills Music Mission is a philanthropy where brothers go to hospitals and retirement homes to sing and spread the joy of music with those who need it most.  Similar to the Mills Music Mission of the previous year, the chapter did not just sing in one place, but in several.  The chapter spent from an hour to an hour and a half in each facility, singing and visiting the residents.  The mission was a very emotionally powerful experience, showing the brothers firsthand the power of music on the human spirit.  Many brothers admitted that it was the most moving musical experience of their lives. The Mills Music Mission will continue to be a beloved activity of the chapter, and it hopes that the mission brought as much joy to the residents as it did to the chapter. [Read more...]

Province Workshop Group Photo.Harmony Ball leads to a Sinfonian proposal
On Friday, February 27, 2009, the chapter held its formal, called the Harmony Ball, at Stafford's on Main in Drew, Mississippi.  The party's entertainment was Brandi Lyle Ward, who kept the evening very enjoyable and inviting. The formal was open to the members and dates of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Mu Phi Epsilon.  Those who attended the party enjoyed either a delicious shrimp alfredo, a well-prepared country fried steak, or a scrumptious vegetarian dish.  The appetizer was a plate of fried green tomatoes, and the dessert was a rich bread pudding.  Near the end of the evening, Brother Joe Raymond proposed to Miss Amanda Gill with the chapter singing a special version of the Phi Mu Alpha Serenade to a Girl.  It proved to be a very memorable night for all who attended. [Read more...]

Several Sinfonians after the presentation.Brother Bill Clark is presented with the Orpheus Award
During Delta State's 2009 Honor Band program on January 31, 2009, Brother Bill Clark (Theta Upsilon, 1972) was awarded the Orpheus Award, a very high honor in the fraternity, for having made a lasting impact on the music of America.  Brother Clark was the director of bands at Delta State University from the 1970s well into the 1980s, and since then has been a guest clinician many times across the country.  Brother Joe Raymond said during the presentation that "he is a true example of the advancement of music in America, through his tenure as director of bands at Delta State, and across the country in other schools and clinics, shaping young minds and really pushing people to become great musicians."  Designed as a local-level counterpart of the National Citation, the Orpheus Award was first presented in 1973 to Will B. Green by Mu Omega Chapter. Since then it has been awarded about three hundred times. [Read more...]

Province Workshop Group Photo.Chapter attends 2009 Province 24 Workshop
On the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Province 24, which includes all the chapters of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia that are in Mississippi, held the 2009 Province Workshop.  It was held at Mississippi State University's new fine arts building.  The Theta Upsilon chapter sent twenty-three brothers to the event.  The highlight of the workshop was the presentation by the national chair of the Province Governor Council, Mark Lichtenberg.  The province used this workshop to elect a Collegiate Province Representative (CPR), Assistant CPRs, and Province Fraternity Education Officer.  It elected Brother Coday Anthony of Theta Upsilon as the Province Fraternity Education Officer. The chapter enjoyed attending the event and looks forward to the next Province Workshop. [Read more...]

Auditorium seats at Old Bayou.Chapter hosts Haunted House at the old Skene High School
On the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday around Halloween 2008, the chapter hosted its annual Haunted House fundraiser at the old Skene High School (also called Old Bayou Academy) at Skene, Mississippi.  The theme centered around a medical research facility and was sponsored by Domino's Pizza and Red Bull.  The fundraiser was very successful for the chapter, and proved to be a good diversion for several hundred people throughout Bolivar County, Mississippi.  It was also very successful in building strong bonds of brotherhood among those who worked in the Haunted House to make it successful.  The Haunted House proved to be a great experience for learning the importance of leadership and good positive interactions with others to work toward a common goal.  The entire experience was a meaningful one to all the volunteers and brothers, and the experience from the haunted house itself was one of good frights and chills.  The chapter looks forward to planning next year's haunted house at Skene's old high school building. [Read more...]

Brother Waters dunks Brother Wojcik.Chapter probationary class hosts dunking booth
On Tuesday, October 7, 2008, the probationary class hosted a dunking booth fundraiser on the Delta State University Quadrangle.  Several balls were thrown, and a few landed perfectly on the target in order to dunk several excited volunteers, such as Brothers John Wojcik and Chris Hartfield.  The event was very successful in terms of getting the letters out in the open and having a lot of fun on an otherwise dreary day.  Everyone involved seemed to have a very good time on the quad that day, dunking their professors and classmates.  It was a great experience for the probationary members, learning through direct application how to spearhead an event like this and make it come out successfully. [Read more...]

Brothers Raymond, Leach, Anthony, and Powell, with probationary members Daniel Payne and Travis Hall.Chapter assists chapter alumnus in Central Mississippi band festival
On the morning of Saturday, September 20, 2008, brothers of the Theta Upsilon chapter of Phi Mu Alpha traveled to Florence, MS to volunteer at the McLaurin Band Festival.  Brothers Joe Raymond, Timothy Powell, Coday Anthony and probationary members Daniel Payne and Travis Hall participated in assisting alumnus Burell Leach (Theta Upsilon, '86) in the operations of the festival.  Performing bands included McLaurin Attendance Center, Hillcrest High School, Ridgeland High School, and Franklin High School.  The brothers assisted in parking arrangements, escorting bands to and from warm up areas and escorting units to the performance field.  The participating brothers had a great time meeting alumni of Theta Upsilon, Lambda Phi (Mississippi State University), and Iota Gamma (University of Iowa). Theta Upsilon was extended the invitation to assist in this festival throughout upcoming years.

Brother David Dunavent brainstorming ideas.Chapter has begun to plan the Skene Halloween Haunted House fundraiser
With two months to gather information, resources, and volunteers, the chapter is now looking to plan and implement the annual Haunted House at the now abandoned, privately-owned Skene High School.  Early on the morning of Friday, August 29, Brothers David Dunavent, Andrew Owen, Wes Patrick, and Joe Raymond assessed the damage to the property since the last Haunted House.  They found that the facility was in surprisingly good shape, only having sustained some minor damage from the elements and vandals.  Friday's investigation showed that cleaning up the facility would not be tremendously difficult for the chapter to take care of as the date of the event quickly approaches.  The chapter welcomes any person interested in volunteering to make this event a great one to contact either the president, Joe Raymond, or the chair of fundraising and projects, David Dunavent.  The chapter also welcomes any ideas from anyone on possible themes and rooms. [Read more...]

Brothers Andrew Owen and Mark Helmstetter staining the deck. Four chapter brothers participate in Lyrecrest Work Weekend
From May 15 until May 17, 2008, four brothers from the Theta Upsilon Chapter visited Lyrecrest, the fraternity’s national headquarters, for the annual work weekend. In an act of volunteerism to better the fraternity and develop strong bonds with brothers from around the nation, the chapter made a lasting mark on Lyrecrest. Brothers Johnathan Gibbs, Mark Helmstetter, Andrew Owen, and Joe Raymond did many tasks around Lyrecrest, including pressure washing the entire facility, staining the front ramp with Mahogany Flame, painting the doors to the cottage, and removing the back porch of Lyrecrest North.  The experience was memorable for not only the four chapter members who went, but also for the other brothers who came from other chapters.  The trip strengthened bonds among the brothers, showing how much fun being at Lyrecrest is, while at the same time reminding the chapter that it is united with hundreds of other chapters through its common experience. [Read more...]

Housing plans to demolish dormitory, including chapter room
During the first week of April, Housing and Residence Life Director Elsie Lynn Ervin mentioned to Brother Joe Raymond in passing that the chapter would lose its chapter room at the end of the 2008 spring semester.  She expressed to him that the Bond-Carpenter and Whittington-Williams dormitories were not very suitable places in which to live, and that Housing had thus decided to demolish all four dormitories, figuring out how to house the many incoming students with the other remaining male dormitories.  Housing had no plan at all for rehousing the chapter any time before the construction of a new dormitory, which is scheduled to happen around 2012 at the earliest.  Even though this development puts the chapter behind a great deal, the chapter will work hard to maintain its morale without a chapter room for a few years. [Read more...]

Phi Mu Swap Group PictureSwap with Phi Mu successful
On the evening of Sunday, April 20, the Delta State chapters of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Phi Mu Fraternity had a luau-theme swap on the Pavilion near New Men's dormitory.  Everyone was invited to come dressed in tropical shirts and enjoy a good time.  The swap was filled with different luau activities, including an exciting game of limbo and an on-going game of throwing the beach ball around.  The chapter had the band Cobalt Cali play at the event to keep the air filled with lively music.  The chapter invited all brothers from the province to attend, and a few brothers from the Lambda Rho chapter at Northwest Community College came to the Delta State campus to join the festivities.  Everyone who spoke about it said that the luau swap was a very successful event, and proof that a lot of fun can be had without alcohol. [Read more...]

Chapter standing behind the sign of the first facility on its mission, Briar Hill. Large Mills Music Mission
In the early days of the fraternity, Father Ossian Mills would take several friends and visit hospitals and care homes in Boston in order to give the gift of music and flowers to those there so that they might be comforted during their hardships.  To commemorate that practice (the "Flower Mission," as it was called), the chapter planned its Mills Music Mission (as it is now called).  The chapter scheduled singings in eight different places, including nursing homes and hospitals, to take place over two days. On the weekend of March 29-30, the chapter went down to central Mississippi—to Brandon, Raymond, Jackson, and Vicksburg.  After singing at all eight of these places, the chapter went back to Brother James Koestler's home in Vicksburg to reflect on the mission.  It was an extremely moving experience for everyone involved.  After that event, the chapter strongly wanted to do more of them. [Read more...]

Rho Iota Chartered
Theta Upsilon attended the chartering of Province 24’s new chapter at Tougaloo College, Rho Iota, on March 28, 2008.  We look forward to watching the chapter grow and continue to be strong. [Read more...]

The chapter sings to Kossman on her 98th Birthday
While planning for Juliet Kossman's 98th birthday party, Brother James Robinson suggested that the chapter sing to her as part of the festivities.  The chapter, of course, did so, giving its gift of song to her for her birthday on March 24, 2008. The chapter took tremendous pleasure from bringing her joy on her birthday.

Participants in Province Workshop 2008.2008 Province 24 Workshop Successful
Every January during MLK weekend, Province 24, which includes all the chapters of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia that are in Mississippi, holds a Province Workshop.  The 2008 Province Workshop was held at Northwest Mississippi Community College.  The Theta Upsilon chapter sent thirteen brothers to the event.  Several speakers reported on matters like risk management and about how to improve chapter activities and brotherhood.  The Workshop also had several breakout sessions on different matters such as the national strategic plan and how to develop brotherhood. The province traveling trophy, the "Mag," was unveiled in its full form.  Points for the "Mag" were tallied up and Theta Upsilon won the most points for provincial interaction with the prototype "Mag" over the previous year.  The province also used this workshop to elect a Collegiate Province Representative (CPR), Assistant CPRs, Province Fraternity Education Officer, and Province Alumni Coordinator.  The chapter enjoyed attending the event and looks forward to the next Province Workshop.  [Read more...]

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