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A Brief History of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia,
Kappa Sigma chapter, 1960-1980's

(Compiled in late 1993 from chapter minutes, correspondence, bills, and other such records by Joel Hahn, chapter historian 1993-94)

* October 28, 1960 -- Ken Lundberg contacts Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia nationals
regarding forming a chapter at Valparaiso University
* October 31, 1960 -- Phi Mu Alpha responds with the requirements for
becoming a chapter
* February 9, 1961 -- First organizational meeting of men interested in
joining up
* March 21, 1961 -- Temporary officers elected, Dr. Newman Powell becomes
the first Faculty Advisor
* Sunday, April 23, 1961 -- Kappa Sigma received its charter and became a
member of Province 4.  (This province consisted of all of the chapters in
Indiana.  Kappa Sigma was moved into either Province 49 or 39--possibly
still all of the Indiana chapters?--in the mid-60's, and switched back to
Province 4--which now held most of the Chicago-area chapters--in 1970, where
it remained for much or all of the 70's; in the late 70's or early 80's, it
was moved into Province 28--again, containing most of the Chicago-area 
chapters--where it remains to this day.  In the early 00's, the provinces
were redistricted again, with the result that the Illinois chapters were
removed from Province 28.)
  * 18 students and 2 faculty members were inducted into Phi Mu Alpha
Sinfonia as charter members of the Kappa Sigma chapter
* 1961-62 -- "The fourth project to fail this year was an informal Christmas
party with SAI and the faculty members of the Music Department... Much of
the confusion was caused by a lack of communication between SAI & Kappa
Sigma.  Whenever communication was established it was still vague and
indefinite due to indecision on the part of the SAI chapter."  "There were
unspoken animosities existing between PhiMA and SAI; these were to flower
into more devestating but suvtle enmities in the following year.  SAI wanted
to play the patronizing role to the young men's fraternity; Kappa Sigma
Chapter resented SAI's arrogant mothering and strove for superiority over
  [The history for the following year (1962-63) includes an entire
segment just on relations with SAI. By 1991, the situations were reversed--
Kappa Sigma was the second largest chapter of Phi Mu Alpha in the nation and
one of the larger fraternities on campus, while SAI had dwindled to a bare
dozen members.  At that point, most Kappa Sigmans either wanted nothing to do
with SAI, or wanted to be the primary music organization on campus, with SAI
in a secondary role.  (It also didn't help that PH siphoned off many eligible
women.)  Animosities redeveloped, but cooler heads prevailed, and as SAI
began to grow again, the two organizations began to work together for the
first time in many years.]
* 1962-63 -- VU President O.P. Kretzmann stated that Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
was the first student organization on campus that he considered joining in
all his some 20 years as president of VU. (He was later made an honorary
* May 1963 -- It was decided that the chapter would lease the house at 605
  [Since demolished; there is currently a wheelchair ramp to the
house next door on the lot where the house stood.]
* June 1963 -- Kappa Sigma signed a sub-lease from Pi Kappa Alpha.  Kappa
Sigma went on to sign their own lease from Delta Theta Phi the following
  [Pikes had one year left on their lease from Delta Theta Phi (who owned
both 605 and 607, and may still do so even though that fraternity has long
since been defunct at Valpo), but had completed the annex to their house and
so no longer needed to use the house at 605 Lincolnway.  As a matter of fact,
Kappa Sigma has twice moved into houses previously owned by other
fraternities; back in the 1930's, 810 Brown Street was the Sigma Delta Chi
house--a local fraternity which became a chapter of Theta Chi in the 1950's.
There is even a picture of the house as it looked when it housed SDX in one
of Valpo's old yearbooks.  Also, 605 Lincolnway had been the Alpha Xi Epsilon 
sorority house. DTP purchased it from Alpha Xi when the sororities were moved 
into Scheele Hall in 1961.]

* Fall 1963 -- One pledge was inducted
* Spring 1964 -- 14 pledges were inducted
* Spring 1967 -- 15 pledges were inducted
* February 27, 1967 -- Kappa Sigma purchased the house at 810 Brown Street.
  * They moved in in June
  * The house originally housed 25 brothers (the basement had two or three
    rooms used as bedrooms at that time)
  * The mortgage was burned in 1981
  * The chapter kept the phone number they had had at 605 Lincolnway
    [This resulted in the ongoing joke of answering the phone "Hello, this
    is Pikes".
  * In the late 1980's, the house was remodled; it now houses 17 brothers.
* Red & Black, Vol. X, no. 2 (Nov./Dec., 1993) printed an "on campus"
chapter update from Kappa Sigma for the first time in may years--possibly in
the history of the chapter.

Notes of possible interest from the minutes...
[With editorial asides from the compiler in square brackets]
* October 3, 1977 
  * The chapter was referred to by chapter secretary Edwin Schmeckpeper as
  being ruled by the "Steck Dynasty"
    [It was common for some time that each chapter president's term was
  referred to in this sort of manner; "Regime" eventually became the most
  common such term.  In the late 1980's, the 'Junta' formed, with the
  purpose of undermining the "oppressive Broadhead regime" (often by simply
  chanting "Junta! Junta!" at various points during GA.  When the next
  elections came around, the Junta put up candidates for each position, and
  their leader, Tom Thress, became president--if I remember correctly, all
  but one of the Junta candidates won that year.  Members of the Junta
  continued to be elected to various offices over the next several years.]
  * "Rush/Social: ... Phi Mule Alpha's will be available at the bar for
    [This was later shortened by the mid 1980's to just "Phi Mules", though
  whether the contents were the same is unknown. In the late 1980's/early 90's, the
  official recipe was for a 3 1/2 shot drink--whiskey, vodka, either gin or
  vermouth (drinker's choice), 1/2 shot of rum, and a splash of bitters.
  See the memories page for more details.]
  * New Business: ... Dr. Norm congratulated us on all the work that we did
  over the weekend (the garage now has a new roof, featuring the William Reed 
  Nesbit Memorial Corner...."
    [There are a couple of "memorials" around the house.  That corner of
  the garage roof is one; another is the "Tim Kieschnik Memorial Window" in
  the inside front door.]
* October 24, 1977 -- Mention made that the meeting was opened & closed with
"Hail" [When these notes were compiled, one of the driving reasons for notes
being taken on this portion of Kappa Sigma's history was curiousity about
the origins of certain practices during meetings--specifically when Kappa
Sigma started opening with the "Hail" and closing with the "Sinfonian
Anthem".  This was the first mention in the minutes of beginning a meeting
with a specific song.]
* November 7, 1977 
  * "Music & Ushering: ... Pep band will play Dec. 16 & 17 (so fire up).  The
  pep-band is tenatively named 'The Valparaiso Collegiate Bombers'..."
    [Kappa Sigma has a history of providing the backbone of informal VU pep
  bands.  In 1990, VU disbanded its marching band; the remaining band members
  decided to start an informal "stands band", and recruited anyone who could
  at least pound a triangle, whether or not it was with any rhythm.  Several 
  Kappa Sigmans were among the founders of this band, which is still going at
  this time and over the years gained some unofficial "officialness" and even
  some notoriety.  For example, during halftime of one game (possibly
  Homecoming) where free mini-footballs had been given away, the stands band 
  started playing touch football on the field during halftime.  They got more
  cheers from both sides than the actual team did!  This was towards the end
  of a time period where VU's football team went some six years without a
  single win.]
  * "Announcements: ... Bonzo made a motion that we pass the gavel (as in
  Robert's Rule's of Order) at the close of this week's meeting.  The motion
  was passed after some discussion."
    [This was the first time the gavel was passed at a Kappa Sigma general
* November 17, 1977 -- "It was moved to pass the gavel at this week's and
all following week's meetings, this would replace Announcements and
Correspondence.  The motion was seconded and passed.  The Gavel was passed
and the meeting was adjourned."
  [On this date, the passing of the gavel was made a rule, to be done at
every general assembly thereafter, except when suspended by majority vote
for a given meeting.]
* February 13, 1978 -- "Some people expressed their belief that we do not
have enough time for a 2nd pledge class."
  [This shows that this has been an ongoing concern for several decades now.
The fall semester at VU is somewhat longer than the spring semester by about
two weeks, and has fewer vacations & mandatory chapter activies.  Thus,
spring pledges often have a difficult time getting all of their requirements
done in time, and the chapter often has problems scheduling all of the
necessary pledging activities, due to conflicts with other musical activities
on campus.  However, now that the chapter must obey IFC rushing rules, 
freshmen cannot pledge in the fall, so the spring now has a big class of
freshmen, and the fall tends to have a small class of sophomores & juniors.]
* "Boo-Boo" = Bob Brinkley
  [It is always a help, when reading through the minutes, to have notated
somewhere which brother goes with which nickname; that way, future chapter
members may look back and figure out who was doing what, but also see the
nicknames and catch some flavor of the times.]
* February 27, March 6, 1978 -- "The following Comments were not made, but
should have been..."
  [There is something of a tradition of chapter secretaries doing what they
can to spice up the minutes.  Edwin Schmeckpeper included these comments
written in the style of various brothers, or as editorial commentary on the
meeting.  David Ashby, who professed to dislike just about everyone, included
various editorial asides in which he spoke his mind about the topic at hand
or the speaker.  Erik Gustafson varied the minutes from week to week, writing
Shakespearean free verse, a parody of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas,
various song parodies, making overly "friendly" minutes by inserting just
about every synonym for "friendly", "pastoral", or "innocuous" in the
thesaurus whenever the grammar allowed it.]
* "Bonzo" = Bill Nesbit
  [Again, a translation of nickname to real name; in this case, discovering
that the person for whom a corner of the garage roof is named was also the
person who made the initial motion to pass the gavel.]
* March 13, 1978 (the last meeting of the Steck Dynasty) -- The meeting was
opened with the singing of the "Sinfonian Anthem"
  [This is the first time mention is made of Kappa Sigma ending a general
assembly with the "Sinfonian Anthem".  GAs were begun with "Hail Sinfonia"
and ended with "Sinfonian Anthem" for many years.  Around 1993 or so, the
ending song was changed to the "Parting Song", partially as a gesture to
promoting more brotherhood during a rough time for the chapter by changing
one of two boisterous songs of praise to a gentler song of parting ways &
brotherhood, and partially as an excuse to learn more songs from the Red

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