Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sisters in Music? Splendid

In the fall of 2003, I was a freshman in college.  I was having the time of my life, loving my new town, my new classes, and all the incredible new friends I made in the Marching Illini.  There was a group of about 10 junior and senior girls in my section who really looked out for me.  At the end of rehearsal one day, three of them approached me about joining their women’s music fraternity.  I had no intention of “going Greek” during college, and I initially told them I wasn’t interested.  They asked me to attend an informational meeting for the group before making any decisions.

Sometime in the next week, another trumpet playing music major friend of mine and I attended an information night about the group.  I like to say that the girl who ran the event started with the line, “You should join Sigma Alpha Iota because we like music and we like food… a lot.”  That may or may not have been a direct quote, but it’s the sentiment that counts.  It’s the same sentiment that worked to get me to another meeting.

In all seriousness, I didn’t really understand the scope of Sigma Alpha Iota when I rushed and was a pledge.  (Yes, we still called them that in those days!  Now it’s recruitment and members-in-training.)  What I did understand was that it was an organization of women who came together because of their interest in music.  I saw that the members of my chapter were leaders in ensembles and other organizations.  They were women I really admired.  As a member of a male-dominated trumpet section, it was great to have those role models.  Going through my education period allowed me to grow closer to the other members of my pledge class which was important.  Not only was my trumpet section male-dominated, it was also huge, so had it not been for SAI I probably never would have made friends outside my section!

Every SAI remembers her Initiation.

I loved my collegiate SAI experience.  I served on quite a few committees, held a position on the executive board, helped organize fundraisers benefitting VH1 Save the Music, and formed genuine connections with my sisters in music.

Sigma Delta Chapter 2006
Executive Board

It was a tradition in my collegiate chapter to share favorite memories and write letters to graduating seniors as a way to say goodbye.   I didn’t grow up with sisters, and I honestly didn’t expect to gain any through a Greek organization in college.  So imagine my surprise the first time I realized the stifled sobs during one of these events was coming from ME!  I was saying goodbye to my Pledge Mom (it was still okay to call them that back then!) and another of my very good friends in the trumpet section.  That was the moment I realized that they were my sisters.
My Pledge Daughter and I say goodbye to my Pledge Mom

I had no idea my journey in membership of Sigma Alpha Iota was just beginning.  Little did I know that I would continue to be an active member of the local alumnae chapter, an advisor to two collegiate chapters, and a Province Officer in the national organization.  But those are stories for another time.

Vita Brevis, Ars Longa

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