Before their Thursday night meetings begin, members of the fraternity bow their heads in prayer, a curious sight for a fraternity.
Junior church music major and president of Phi Mu Alpha, Cameron Roucloux said, “We have a chaplain, and we open every meeting in prayer. We are committed to not only growing together as musical brothers, but as Christian brothers as well.”
Without togas, carousing or carelessness, the group of 15 proceeds to the opening song, “Hail Sinfonia,” as voices of various pitch join together.
Combining through differences sounds ironic, but it is the very heart of the group.
“We have a wide variety (of members) from freshmen to juniors,” Roucloux said. “We have a good time, and we enjoy each other’s company.”
Freshman biblical studies major James Williams, who is the fraternity chaplain, said, “It is a way for me to connect with the guys. To me, a choir is an image of the body of Christ because you are using a bunch of different skill sets and putting them together into a unified goal.”
For that reason, Williams is glad that the fraternity came to fruition.
Before its birth on the UMHB campus, PMA was credited with a long history of musical and moral accomplishments. Created Oct. 6, 1898, at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Sinfonia—under the leadership of Ossian Everett Mills—was comprised of 13 boys to further their development as men and singers. Two years later the group became recognized as a national fraternity. The UMHB division became official in December.
Since then, PMA has been growing and accepting more branches.
“The faculty has been pushing to make this a place people want to come to and to make us competitive with other schools. Almost every major music school in the state and in the country has a chapter of Phi Mu Alpha. We thought this would be something to help with recruiting to say we have a chapter,” Roucloux said.
He hopes the fraternity grows and said, “We would love to see anybody interested come out. You don’t have to be a music major, read music, or sing in a choir to be in Phi Mu Alpha.”
Sophomore nursing major and historian Patrick Krone, who had limited music experience, said, “I know the term crescendo, and that’s about it, but I met some new friends, and it’s cool that I’ve been able to join and get involved.”
Krone recognizes that he has progressed as a musician, and he enjoys the social side of the choir.
Junior music composition major and vice president Tyler McMahon said PMA is on a good path because “it’s a great way to see what music is like socially as opposed to academically.”
McMahon believes in the direction of the fraternity because “we do service aspects as well,” he said. “We’ve done Operation Christmas Child, and since we are a Christian university, we try to bring a Christian aspect to the fraternity.”
The group hopes to be a beacon of light for the university and community.
Roucloux said, “We will do community service, service to the music school, and service to the university.”