Mu Phi Epsilon
Dallas Alumni Chapter

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Convention 2021

Mu Phi Epsilon Convention Announcement
July 21-24, 2021

Attention, all Mu Phis! We are thrilled to announce the first VIRTUAL Mu Phi Epsilon convention on July 21 - 24, 2021. You will be able to attend from the comfort and safety of your home or office, and we will still have a Foundation competition, District Director workshop, collegiate and alumni workshops, formal business sessions, and so much more!

Each collegiate and alumni chapter must be represented by an official business delegate. Work within your chapters and with your district director to determine who that delegate will be. The member chosen as delegate must be someone who can attend all the sessions throughout the convention. Of course, ALL members are encouraged to attend the convention.

We are disappointed that we will not be able to meet in person this year, but we are very happy that we can keep our connections strong by virtually coming together to learn, share, and be together as best we can as the world recovers and gatherings become safe again. The safety of our members is the number one priority!

Check this page regularly for updates!

Rosemary Ames

Convention Update
by Nancy Laine, Dallas Alumni President

For those of you unable to attend the virtual Mu Phi convention, I thought I would share some of the exciting things that happened there. Your ears may have been burning, as there was a lot of great representation from our chapter!

Our Dallas chapter won the Outstanding Alumni chapter in the South Central province and came in 3rd place overall in the Circle of Winners. (Palos Verdes Alumni, who won overall, held a virtual recital which raised about $16,000, which they distributed to various music organizations throughout the community .) You may remember that Dallas won overall in 2020, so it’s OK to share the honor every now and then. ??

Dallas chapter won Outstanding Yearbook of the Year. Particular thanks to Mary Williams for all her work on that (and MANY other projects!)

The Katherine Doepke Creative Programming Award, which we won in 2020, was also won by Palos Verdes, but Dallas and our “Changing Times” theme was in the top 4. Marcus Wyche, the alumni VP, said he wished he could give the award to all 4 chapters. (By the way, our theme for the upcoming year will be “Back in the Swing.”)

Ashley Bouras was elected to be the new 2nd VP, Collegiate Advisor. Ashley follows in the footsteps of other Dallas alumni who have served in this office – Tena Hehn (1983-1989), Sandra McMillen (2008 -2014), and Jenny Smith (2015-2021).
Ashley was also awarded District Director of the Year. This past year, Ashley served as DD for chapters throughout the country that didn’t have a designated DD.

Congrats to Jenny Smith on completing her term on the board as 2nd VP, Collegiate Advisor. I heard that she did a great job in the Collegiate workshops! She was also great at offering technical assistance for those having computer trouble.

Kimla Beasley did an awesome job as our official chapter delegate and made an awesome presentation on our library series and how we had quickly transitioned to virtual. (I enjoyed hearing people ask how we could find so many performers, how much money we had to pay them, and how much money we made on the concerts. To have had such a long-running series with such outstanding artists, most people never considered that there was no money involved with either the audience or the performers. We really do have a unique series!)

Kimla also served as chair of the resolutions committee. (As it turned out, there were no resolutions to be considered, but in typical Kimla-fashion, she delivered her reports with such polish and professionalism that it was hard not to be impressed.)

Lisa Beyer and Ashley Bouras delivered a terrific session on Mindful Movement. (You may remember when they presented this at our chapter meeting in October 2019, when they had us dancing around Pat Suitt’s living room saying kind words to each other.)

Leslie Spotz, piano, gave an awesome presentation and piano recital in celebration of Beethoven’s upcoming 251st birthday.

Julie Schmitt and a friend (sorry, I don’t remember her name) performed Julie’s composition, A Hole in the Water, on one of the Composer Recitals. (We got to hear this piece in January 2020 at our chapter meeting. With typical Julie-wit, it’s based on a poem about measuring your importance (or lack thereof) by putting your hand in a bucket of water, then pulling it out to see how big a hole is left.) I saw comments in the chat box from people wanting to know if it had been published, as they were interested in singing it themselves.

Katy Freiberger and her composition, A Mountain Meditation, were also featured on the Composer Recital, performed beautifully by Pat Suitt and Claudia Jameson. (You may have heard them perform this on our Library Concert Series in February 2020 when the Musical Arts club was celebrating a big anniversary.)

New International Executive Board Officers

President: Kurt-Alexander Zeller
First Vice President, Extension Officer: Liana Sandin
Second Vice President, Collegiate Advisor: Ashley Bouras
Third Vice President, Alumni Advisor: Ann Geiler
Fourth Vice President, Music Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Sorley
Fifth Vice President, Eligibility Advisory: Terrel Kent
Executive Secretary-Treasurer: Jess LeNore
Triangle Editor, Kat Braz

From Rosemary Ames, outgoing president:

Subject: Many, Many Thanks

I wanted to take my time, so I read a bit each day from the beautiful Memory Book that you gave me. Your beautiful words were touching and each memory is a special one I hold close. I will always remember our times together and think about the bond of Friendship that we have because of our shared love of Mu Phi. Although my time as president is finished, our times of friendships will never end. Thank you for the wonderful memories and being a part of my life, never forgotten.

Stay safe & healthy

1968 Convention

If you think this is a lot of work – it’s not like it used to be. The host chapters had much more work to do in planning. The last time the Convention was in Dallas was in 1968. Here are some photos from that Convention.

Convention 2020 Preparation

The Mu Phi Epsilon International Executive Board (IEB) held their annual meeting in Grapevine on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 to prepare for the 2020 Convention in Grapevine next year. Rosemary Ames, the international president, invited our chapter to join the Board for lunch. Several chapter members were able to take this opportunity to get to know the board members and to get in on the ground floor for next year's convention planning.

Julia Scherer - 1st  VP - Extension Officer; Jenny Smith - 2nd VP - Collegiate Advisor; Nancy Laine - President Dallas Chapter; Tena Hehn - Member Dallas Chapter; Melanie Moseley - Member Dallas Chapter; Rosemary Ames - International President; Marcus Wyche - 3rd VP - Alumni Advisor; Ellen Sackett - International Editor Triangle; Jess LaMore - INEST (International Secretary/Treasurer); Sandra McMillen - Member Dallas Chapter

Past Conventions
District Conferences

South Central 2 Conference

Dallas Alumni Chapter is part of the South Central 2 District.
See photos from past District Conferences:
2018 SC2 Conference
2017 SC2 Conference - canceled
2015 SC2 Conference
2013 SC2 Conference
2010 SC2 Conference

"No Shrinking Violets"

by Kurt-Alexander Zeller
1 August, 2008

When Mu Phi Epsilon was founded almost 105 years ago on November 13th, 1903, at the Metropolitan College of Music in the uptown Mt. Auburn neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, the 13 women who were its charter members chose the violet as the new fraternity’s official flower. It was not unusual for a fraternal organization to choose a flower as a symbol (another music fraternity founded that same year has the red American Beauty rose as its symbol), but nobody seems to know exactly why our founders chose the violet.

Perhaps it was merely that it is a well known flower whose very name is synonymous with purple, the royal hue that had been chosen as Mu Phi Epsilon’s color. But the violet seems an unlikely symbol for the kind of bold endeavor in which those 13 women under the pioneering leadership of Elizabeth Mathias Fuqua were engaged. Indeed, our American English includes the slang phrase, “shrinking violet” to describe a person who hangs back, withdraws from involvement with others, avoids shining in the public eye, is over-cautious and uncommitted. Hardly an image for a group that includes the electrifying Ruslan Biryukov and Mary Au, or the pioneering Dr. Frances Kinne, or even “Dr. Indiana Marcus Jones” and his intrepid seekers of the Onyx Circle.

We musicians also are familiar with an image of the violet presented in “Das Veilchen,” one of Mozart’s most famous songs, in which Goethe’s poem tells of “ein herzigs Veilchen” (a lovable little violet) that is simply delighted to be trampled to death by a passing shepherdess it happens to think is dreamy. It actually rejoices at its own destruction at the hands (or rather, in this case, the clod-hopping feet) of the indifferent object of its affections. Goethe may have called that lovable, but the next century invented a new word for that sort of thing: masochistic. Again, not exactly a desirable role model.

And violets get no respect. Most are rather small of bloom and short of stature, dwarfed by flashier garden divas, like the American Beauty rose I mentioned earlier. They have tiny stalks, so they’re not much use in formal flower arrangements, and guys, take it from someone who’s been there: your Valentine just isn’t going to be impressed with two dozen long-stemmed violets. Other flowers get all the attention. We don’t deck our churches with Easter violets. Nobody ever says, “A violet by any other name would smell as sweet” or “Gather ye violet-buds whilst ye may.” Bobbie Burns dinna say, “O, my love is like a purple, purple violet” and Tiny Tim did not “Tiptoe through the Violets.”

Yet despite all that, of all our fraternity symbols the violet is the one I find most inspiring and most appropriate. It exemplifies exactly what I think Mu Phi Epsilon and its members should be. To explain why, perhaps we need a short botany lesson. To begin with, the scientific name of the violet is Viola odorata—and what other flower shares its name with a musical instrument? (One which also, by the way, is frequently overlooked in favor of flashier neighbors but has a rich charm of its own.) Music is our first ideal, and it is suggested even in our mascot flower.

Next, violets have many traits that we in Mu Phi Epsilon value and wish to emulate. The botanical family Violaceae is one of the most wide-spread of flower families. There are over 1000 species. Examples are found on all the world’s continents except Antarctica. There are violet species in the Americas, in Europe, across Asia, in Africa, in Australia and Polynesia. They’re found in tropical rainforests, on Andean mountain slopes, in the Australian bush, in European meadows, and in Georgia woodlands. Mu Phi Epsilon hasn’t yet reached that level of international distribution, but what a goal to which to aspire in our second century!

And violets are diverse. Despite the stereotype associated with the name, not all violets are purple. Some really are blue, like in the old rhyme. Others are reddish, or pink, or yellow, or white, or green, or buff, or just about any color except true black. Members of the Viola family come in more different colors than any other flower family, including those roses. Not only that, but they come in all different shapes and sizes, too. Very many of the Violaceae are the small perennial herbs we think of when someone says, “violet,” but the worldwide family also includes larger plants, some shrubs and even a few trees.

Mu Phi Epsilon, too, has always been a leader in diversity. By decades, we were the first professional music fraternity to become co-educational, and our 30-year history of welcoming the talents and contributions of both female and male members on an equal footing has immeasurably enriched our fraternal bond; we certainly are the only music fraternity with gender parity among its Executive Board’s elected officers, which now consist of 3 women and 3 men.

Even earlier, Mu Phi Epsilon welcomed as collegiate members musicians like Ruth Watanabe and Shirley Verrett (who later became, respectively, the eminent musicologist who oversaw the world-famous Sibley Music Library at the Eastman School of Music and one of the world’s greatest opera singers) at a time in American history when Ruth’s family was being removed from their home on the West Coast and shipped off to internment camps by their own government because of their ethnic heritage and when Shirley’s family were forced to leave their home in the South to escape legal discrimination which saw only the color of their skin. Mu Phi Epsilon, however, looked at these women and saw only the content of their character and the depth of their talent. Even the act of Mu Phi Epsilon’s founding by women in 1903, 17 years before any of them ever would be entitled to vote in a presidential election like this year’s, was a direct challenge to doors that were closed to capable musicians because of who they were, not what they could do. For its entire existence, Mu Phi Epsilon has stood proudly for increasing the diversity, violet-like, within the family of musicians.

And just as the violet family includes herbaceous and woody flowers, shrubs, trees, and just about every kind of plant form, Mu Phi Epsilon includes just about every kind of musician. We are not just performers or just music teachers or just composers; we are all of that—and much more. We are music therapists, music businesspeople, musicologists and arts administrators and music engineers; we are classical musicians, jazz musicians, commercial-format musicians, and world musicians.

And most meaningful of all to me, as our fraternity’s Alumni Advisor, we in Mu Phi Epsilon are truly diverse in age and experience. We are the fresh-faced, eager (and sometimes puzzled) students just starting our lifetime engagement with music, like those who so beautifully offered our table grace; we are the aspiring young artists, “paying our dues” as our careers are launched that Erie Mills talked about yesterday; we are busy professionals in the hectic midst of active careers, like many of our presenters throughout this convention, and we are wise, experienced hands like our keynote speaker, Dr. Frances Kinne, watching with interest and often aiding the rise of those next generations to whom we will pass on the torch. And all of us are resources for each other, resources of Music, of Friendship, and of Harmony, as long as we continue to be active, engaged participants in the network of collegiate and alumni chapters or Allied Members.

But back to the violet. The violet has more traits that should inspire Mu Phis. Despite what I said earlier about the negative stereotypes that may surround the violet, it turns out that, like any other stereotype, those aren’t true. Shrinking violets? Not even. The real violet is one tough customer, flourishing in conditions other plants find too difficult and cannily adapting itself to however situations unfold. Violets will grow in all kinds of soil and sun, thriving in environments that defeat many less persistent flowers. Deep shade? No problem. The Australian violet species V. hederacea will “bloom profusely where there is scarcely a ray of sunlight from one month to the next.” That tricky area around trees where their roots steal most of the nutrients and water from the soil and layers of fallen leaves tend to choke out most ground cover plants? For violets--No problem! But just you try that with an American Beauty rose—it wouldn’t last any longer than it takes to say “black spot and spider mites.”

When I was growing up in Oregon, violets were the first sign of spring. Before the daffodils, before the forsythia, before the crocus, in the dead of January, sometimes even before the snow had completely melted from all the shadier spots, violets were poking their heads up and starting to bloom—they were determined, tenacious, and tough. They were way out ahead of the curve—long before my grandmother’s garden was a riot of spring flowers, the violets had been soldiering on, doing the work of bringing color and perfume to the yard, for a good two months. And even once the flashier flowers started stealing attention and getting more of the oohs and aahs (and my late grandmother’s garden got a lot of those), the violets kept right on blooming: March, April, May, June…. Like Horton the Elephant, a violet’s faithful, one hundred per cent. And we in Mu Phi Epsilon likewise treasure faithful loyalty.

Another trait violets have that should inspire Mu Phis is that they spread—rapidly, and by whatever means possible. Several gardening books I’ve read even use the word “invasive” to describe them. Violets stop at nothing to increase their numbers. They spread by runners underground, they spread by dividing, they spread by self-sown seeds, and, if there aren’t sufficient insects to pollinate them, then they will send up specialized flowers that don’t ever open and pollinate themselves to make seeds that way. Violets are passionately devoted to perpetuating and disseminating themselves, and every Mu Phi member and chapter should be, too.

And, if you can say this about a plant, violets are smart—they’re adaptable; they know how to change. Violets often invasively spread into lawns—and once established, they’re almost impossible to get rid of (another trait that Mu Phis would do well to emulate). And if violets growing in a lawn have all their long-stemmed flowers mown off, the same plants will almost immediately send up a new crop of flowers on little short stems that will survive the next mowing. Responding to changing circumstances by changing itself, its bylaws, its operations, and its traditions has been one of Mu Phi Epsilon’s great strengths over its first century, and it is a trait we will need to keep if we are to have a Bicentennial Convention in 2103.

Finally, violets are the friendliest, most helpful and giving flowers around. Viola odorata is a highly useful plant. It’s completely edible. Its leaves can be used as salad greens and its flowers as edible garnishes. (I hope you noticed the violets on your salad this afternoon and have taken the opportunity to make violets, as Dr. Kinne might say, part of your DNA.) When cooked, the leaves can be used to thicken soups (giving the plant the nickname of “wild okra” in some parts of the USA). The flowers are often candied and used to decorate desserts and are considered quite a delicacy. People in earlier times used violets for a number of medicinal purposes.

And then there’s the perfume. Whole field of violets go into some of the rarest and most expensive perfumes in the world, and one little bloom of Viola odorata can fill a whole room with wonderful fragrance. Ounce for ounce, it’s far more powerful than that American Beauty rose, but the friendly violet will never stab you in the thumb with its thorns. That’s true Harmony, and if each member of Mu Phi Epsilon will look to the violet for inspiration, sweet perfume will scent our thorny paths (as the original words of “Our Triangle” read) and fill a whole world with Music, Friendship, and Harmony.

Contact Information
President / General Information - Mary Ann Taylor:
Website - Mary Williams:
Concert Series - Kimla Beasley:
VP/Membership - Lisa Beyer:
Programs - Amy Canchola:

Mu Phi Epsilon International: