At Jacksonville State University, three fraternities focus on sharing music with the world with individual voices.
Sigma Alpha Iota is a professional international music fraternity for women. “A lot of people call us a sorority, but we are actually a fraternity,” says SAI president Ellen Abney.
SAI was started by seven women at the University School of Music in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1903, but JSU’s chapter, Theta Beta, was chartered in 1993.
Everything that the fraternity does centers on the support and promotion of music.
The Theta Beta chapter collects money for Music in our Schools Month, which is in March. Alumnae Christina Booker started the project two years ago. This past spring, SAI raised over $2,000 to donate to the music program at Pleasant Valley High School.
“You’ll see us carrying jars around campus in the spring, so save up some change for us, because we plan to donate to another music program this year!” Abney says. “Seeing faces when we can offer monetary assistance is an amazing feeling.”
Recently, SAI participated in a fundraiser for a student at White Plains who had earned a spot in a national honor band but didn’t have the money to go and participate.
“After donations from Southerners and the brothers of Phi Mu Alpha, the SAI sisters came together to finish raising money for him to go,” says Abney. “I had the honor and privilege of surprising him with the money at his school. He got choked up and was so excited that he was going to get to take his trip.”
Just like SAI is a fraternity exclusively for women, Phi Mu Alpha is a music fraternity exclusively for men. “We try to promote the uplifting of mankind through music,” explains Phi Mu Alpha president Zack Davis.
The fraternity’s main philanthropy is the Mills Music Mission, in which the brothers sing for people in hospitals or nursing homes. JSU’s chapter, Epsilon Nu, visits Myrick Manor in Jacksonville at least once each semester. They are planning to sing there on October 6, which is the fraternity’s Founder’s Day.
“We are a social fraternity with professional ideals,” Davis says of Phi Mu Alpha, which is open to any type of musician. “I think that makes us different from most Greek organizations.”
Kappa Kappa Psi is a co-ed fraternity committed to service to JSU’s band program and is open exclusively to members of the school’s instrumental ensembles.
“All brothers of Kappa Kappa Psi have a common love for the band program and are willing to help out by doing anything and everything we can for a professor here in the music department,” explains KKY president Tim Chappell.
Because the musical ensembles themselves are the fraternity’s philanthropy, KKY gives water or goodie bags to the Marching Southerners, purchases music stands for the jazz bands, and hosts cook-outs for Music Department faculty.
Chappell describes the David L. Walters Department of Music as “a department that has given so much to so many here at JSU.”
He adds, “The best part of being a member of KKY is the fact that I get to help out the band department with my closest friends and brothers while developing responsibility, loyalty, and leadership skills.”