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Dave Keller's Chapter History for 1969-70

        This exists in one typewritten copy in the "Rider Administration" file and is entitled HISTORY OF PHI MU ALPHA SINFONIA KAPPA SIGMA CHAPTER March 21, 1969 to January 5, 1970. [--Patrick Feaster]

        Well, I've been sitting here the past 1/2 hour chuckling over Stix's minutes, and I can really say that not much really happened in the spring of '69. Well, almost not much excepting for the fantastically successful popular music concert which actually was Gouker's baby. It occurred on May 12 (the day we got our new "autumn" colored rugs if I remember correctly). The temp was somewhat low and we almost scrubbed the concert. Nevertheless at ca. 6:50 a whole troop of brothers left the Mu house led by Snowbeck and his pipes and trooped over to the Locust Street Center and picked up thousands of kiddies, then back to the cahpel [sic] where we arrived just in time for our first outdoor concert ~c: The Phi Mu Alpha Band led by John Phillip Gouker (they played St. Louis Blues, and Tubby The Tuba (Paul Wolf and Tom Janson) -- "Gigi" was scratched at the last minute) and not only that but Paul Simon' "America," and a barber shop quartet and brass quintet. And the male chorus also sang Viva l' Amour and a Latin drinking song. As we all trooped out to look for America, we realized that this had possibly been one of our most enjoyable concerts, both for us and for the people who listened, including the Locust Street Gang.

        After such a high point any other musical action could only be anticlimactical. And it was. A few (very few) brothers played musical instruments for the Locust Street Kids. Some others (mainly the brass quintet and the Quartet) played for local republicans and the like.

        Social wise there were only three big events: an orgyless Wagner party on May 3, a kegger ~c the Deconi which featured half raw hamburgers, and the Formal on May 17 (I don't know much about it since I didn't go). There was a bit of a row over this formal. A few of the fellows thought that they were being gypped since they were non-formal type. Finally the assembly decided that the formal wouldn't be mandatory any more. So that was that.

        The political action during the spring was also kind of slow (although meetings seemed to last as long as usual). Well, you know, in spring guys' thoughts turn to other things such as females or physics and organic chemistry. Anyway, as I was saying when Truth broke in with all its matter of factness, there was not much pokitics [sic]. Steve Helmreich introduced a number of suggestions to be presented at the next National Delegate Representative Assembly regarding pledging, blackball, etc. We later learned that National had out-liberalled the KSs and suggested even more radical reforms. I guess if you want to staye ahead of the Great White Whale, you really have to go whole Hog. Dues were also raised that spring form [sic] $50 to $55. as was house and meal plan. Our super energetic pledge class was activated. And not only that, we also initiated a whole new chapter, the Chi Omegas at Northeastern U. in Chicago. The fellos were very impressed with our performance of the rutual [sic] (which was directed as usual by Gouker) and it was fun for all of us and they had good food too.

        A few of the other things I remember about that spring: field day, foul shot contest, Vera quit and we hired Clara who had cooked for us previously, studying organic chemistry like mad, and Stix's minutes -- God bless his little old pen. Then summer broke in with all its matter of facness:


        Then school started again and the fraternity started up again and all at once became involved in all sorts of monstrous projects and things began to snowball. There was a lot of unhappyness and people were putting mreo into the fraternity than they were getting out and the whole bloody mess came grinding to a halt sometime in December. But let's backtrack a bit and pick up a few loose threads.

        Music -- We spent most of o[u]r time that fall firing up for the concert on Nov. 13. This again was Dave Gouker's offspring -- mostly. You see, he had been working on an independent study dealing with concert format and essentially the concert was an experiment with format. Let me explain. The usual concert format goes something like this: people come in and sit down after getting their programs and then the performer comes in, they clap, he bows, he plays, they clap, he bows and goes out. Gouker wondered if this is really an effective way to present music -- if people really got as much out of this as they could. So he tried this: the people come in to the concert hall and are handed a program which readily converts to confetti should the need arise and a chair (because the hall is empty). The performers are already on stage, some playing chess, doing push-ups or just sitting and talking and then a beat arises from the group, it's not the right one and slowly dies out. Then another arises and all of a sudden the concert starts with the Gouder-Schneeweiss (See lighter.) arrangement of "Yes Indeed." And there's also a lot of emotion involved in this concert: "Super Flumina Babylonis" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" with audience singing along, and Snowbeck and his dried out reeds and the whole brotherhood marching around behind him, and a lot of gimmicky things like the geographical fugue and the madrigal group sitting around the table with their mugs of ale and all, and Schneeweiss and Gouker and Resch teamed up to do the Britten Hymn to the Goddess or whatever. And our old b.s. quartet ends the whole thing with "Goodnight My Someone" as the audience leaves. Well....that was the "Concert for Audience."

        After this we did a number of rehashings (or regurgitatings) of the concert: at the Evergreen Home, at a Sunday morning Eucharist, and at the Christmas happening in the chaple [sic]. All of this was going on in early December. Unluckily about this same time everybody became dissatisfied with the music program because it allegedly didn't offer too much variety or something. And there were meetings and more meetings and B.S. sessions and more B.S. sessions. And then you know what.

        Let's look at this from another angle. T. Lee was rush chairman and LeRoy Christenson was social chairman. These guys essentially did a good job bringing social life to the Mu house. The only trouble seemed to be that many of the Mus in their old age had forgotten how to put on a decent party. For instance there weren't many women (nor many Mus for that matter) at most of the parties. And as we all know there are two things that constitute a good party, C2H5OH and O.[1] Here are the parties we had: a gay 90s party at which we showed off Rider's artwork on the piano, a traditional homecoming party, an old time comedy party for which T. Lee procured a flich [sic] that was made up of old time silent films, a hayride on Nov. 8 and a number of smokers and back yard cookouts. (Of course around Christmas there was talk about a Christmas party too, but at that time nobody was in the mood for any sort of party). As it turned out, Hahn and T. Lee engineered a sort of reception ~c spiked eggnog and all that and it was a fairly successful event.

        All of these efforts netted us only three pledges: Ness, Saundermann and Ferrini, who were initiated on Oct. 12. However, trying to perpetuate the fraternity with pledge classes of three is not too healthy considering there were about elevendy nine graduating seniors. But it's better than a kick in the head. At any rate the brothers became sort of desperate when they recognized this. There seemed to be some sort of idea, however, that whoever wanted to pledge Phi Mu Alpha would do so regardless of whether he was rushed hard or not, so we became a sort of rushless fraternity - - and I am as guilty as anybody on this count. This wave of panic seemed to reach its crest in the middle of December also.

        Now there are a number of small things I must put down, being a nostalgic bug. Our good ol' Jumpin' Johnny (Stechholz) started the first Phi Mu Alpha soccer team -- the Brown Bombers who sort of bombed out of the fraternity league, only actually winning one of our games narrowly against a six man Phi Sig team (they were all big fellows though). And the Roundball team coached by Erik Moehring was suckin' it just about as bad since we also won only one game (or maybe it was more). Well, we don't exactly work out [sic] butts off, but we have a lot of fun doing it (sometimes). The meal plan had two turkey dinners in the course of the fall. The stove hood was finally installed after we got Jorgenson (he was the guy who we had originally contracted[)] to cough up the money we paid and then payed somebody else, the kitchen and the phone booth repainted and the livingrood [sic] papered. The new bathroom was the Big Thing. Hahn calculated that we could save a lot of money if we were to get the thing put in during Christmas vac. so we begged, borrowed and stold [sic] the money needed to pay Dillon Home Builders for it and came back after Christmas expecting to be able to use the brand new bathroom when actually....but that's another story. We only heard from the Great White Wale once that fall -- just a letter bawling us out for having counterfeit sweatshirts and for not letting him know sooner that the Midwest Regional Convention at Bloomington (which we did not attend) was scheduled at an asinine time -- well, actually we sent him an even snottier letter complaining about the asinine date for the MWC although we had been forwarned. I guess I have come to the end of this paragraph.

        Freud said thay [sic] you can't hardly have civilization without having some discontented people. Well, we have some too, although our veneer of civilization sometimes wears pretty thin. I guess around December the discontents won out. Brothers didn't like the music committee because there were too many things to do, or because the music program didn't fit some people's tastes. Or they didn't like rush because [there] weren't enough pledges and too much work [was] involved. Or they didn't like their offices. Discussions ensued and then guys got pissed off because their discussions got them no where then they would discuss why they were pissed and so on. Then at one meeting, president Al Rider surprised everybody by recommending that the by laws be repealed (remember the by laws which we babied through so carefully a year ago?) and then resigned his office and recommended that the rest of the officers do likewise which they did. Then Phil Hahn was electued [sic] "caucus chairman" which meant now he was in charge of practically everything and by sheer will power almost pushed the fraternity through the next two weeks up to Christmas vacation. I'll never forget the last meeting before vacation. All and I mean all gathered after a week of soul searching and succeeded in hammering together a new music policy (with options beside male chorus) and an inactive status and a rush program and all kinds of good stuff.

        Well, after Christmas we all came back feeling better and leected [sic] new officers. And that was that.

* * *

        My duty officially ends here, besides I want to write a letter to Diane yet tonight. May I say in closing that in hard times like this fall one is really grateful for friends who can be happy and funny despite all the darkness around (Bully for you Stix, you're one heck of a nice guy.)

Dave Keller  
April 8, 1970

Executive Board:

    Al Rider - President
    Eric Moehring -- Vice President
    Dave Stechholz -- Secretary
    Wayne Heitmann -- Treasurer
    Ron Oberla -- Warden
    Jim Haritatos -- Historian
    Clifford Zechser -- Alumni Secretary

Appointed Officers:

    Dave Gouker -- Music Chairman
    Tom Lee -- Rush Chairman
    LeRoy Christenson -- Social Chairman
    Paul Van Gorder -- Fine Arts
    Tim Nickel -- Athletic Chairman
    Eric Moehring -- Basketball Coach
    Phil Hahn -- House Manager
    Dave Keller -- Meal Steward
    Eric Moehring -- Pledgemaster
    Tex Edwards -- Radio Show
    Chris Michaelson -- Ushering
    Jon Stechholz -- Pop Machine
    Jeff Daehn -- Resident Director
    Dave Gouker -- Newsletter Editor

[1] [For the non-chemists out there, that's (ethyl) alcohol and oxygen. --Joel Hahn]