If you didn’t know, I’m a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia – the world’s oldest and largest social fraternity in music. I believe we are the third fastest growing fraternity of any kind – which is crazy! This is an organization that has given me so much throughout my years here at Northwestern, not only in the form of great brotherhood among the brothers here at Iota Chapter, but also through meeting many other brothers of Phi Mu Alpha across the country. One of the opportunities for making these national connections is the annual Leadership Institute, held in Evansville, Indiana, where our headquarters is located. Having participated last year, I was excited to be a part of this experience again – but this time, I registered for the parallel, more music-focused Ultimate Musical Experience (UME).
I knew that the UME would entail singing in the Men of Song Chorus, as I had done last year, but this year it was different. The music was more challenging, we had more time slotted for rehearsal, and the other lecture and seminar type activities were all geared towards becoming a better musician instead of general leadership. Many were specifically geared towards becoming a better music director, which was perfect since I’ll be taking on that roll in the upcoming fall with my own Iota Chapter.
I especially enjoyed being able to participate in the choral conducting masterclass run by the amazing Chase Moore – one of the co-directors of our choir this year who also happens to be an unbelievably talented piano player. I had fond memories of us getting to know each other last year and I was very excited that I had been selected to participate in his conducting masterclass. In fact, it turned out that this masterclass was exactly what I needed at this stage in my music directorship, as I was able to mostly hold my own in directing the choir with Chase alongside me giving me some specific tips and possibilities for improvement that I could really latch onto and work on in the future. At the end of the institute, I even got a chance to conduct all of the leadership institute participants in a fraternity song that I quite enjoy!
Overall, I had another fantastic year at Leadership Institute/UME. These are definitely the types of experiences that stay with you to better you not only as a musician, but as a person in general. Here’s a photo of me along with our national president, national executive director, and a few other friends from my province!
On and ever upward!