Mu Phi Epsilon
Dallas Alumni Chapter

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Greetings, Mu Phi friends!  

Congratulations, Dallas chapter! I recently received the news that we were named Outstanding Alumni Chapter of the Year! Not just for the South Central Province, but for the entire fraternity as well! We also won the Katherine Doepke Creative Award for our “2020 Vision” programming, which comes with a cash award of $200! I must admit that I’m enjoying bragging about our chapter, so here’s a little more detail about these and other awards we received this year:

Outstanding Alumni Chapter of the Year - According to the records on the international website (which start in 1955), this is Dallas’ third time to win this award, having done so previously in 1984 and 1999. The Dallas chapter has been active 90 years (since 1930). There are currently 37 active alumni chapters.

Outstanding Alumni Chapter South Central Province – Dallas has won this award in 12 of the past 14 years, and at least 20 times in the past 65 years! (South Central province encompasses all the Texas chapters.)

Katherine Doepke Creative Programming Award – This award was established in 1996 to encourage creative programming in alumni chapters. This is Dallas’ first time to win the award outright, although we were co-winners last year. Our winning theme was 2020 Vision, which started with a bang last September. (Remember us all singing “I Can See Clearly Now” karaoke-style?) As it turned out, 2020 vision was not at all clear, but we still had fun being together, even when we could only see each other on Zoom. Thanks to our programming committee folks for your enthusiasm and creativity!!

SERV Hours – Dallas received recognition for 2,353 SERV hours reported by 19 of our members. Special recognition to Ashley Bouras and Jenny Smith, each of whom had over 300 hours. Congratulations and thanks to all of you who volunteer your time and musical talents in the community!

Although we’re disappointed that the international convention couldn’t be held this summer, we’ll have another opportunity to host next summer, as it has officially been rescheduled for July 21-24, 2021. A good number of our chapter members had been selected to perform and/or make presentations, which they’ll be able to do next year. And we’ll also have another opportunity to search for donors, ad sponsors, goodie bag treats, etc. ??

When we cancelled our March meeting last spring, I never would have guessed that would be still be dealing with COVID this fall. But here we are. We’ll continue to meet virtually via Zoom this fall (September – November). As usual, we won’t have a December meeting. At this point, we’re still playing it by ear when it comes to our 2021 meetings.

I’m excited about our first meeting coming up on Saturday, September 19, at 11:00. Although we won’t be able to enjoy lunch together, we will be able to do something that we’ve never done before. Back in 2001, almost 20 years ago, the Dallas chapter presented Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, which featured many of the chapter members, particularly pianists. It will be fun to see and hear friends as they looked two decades ago, as well as remembering those who are no longer with us. (Who would have thought at the time that they were recording a “CO-VIDeo” for us to watch in 2020??!)

Congratulations again on your work to make Dallas the Outstanding Alumni Chapter of the year, in spite of unprecedented circumstances! We’ve learned how to make the best of the hand we’re dealt, so let’s do it again this year!!

Nancy Laine


May Meeting

Host Ashley Bouras conducted our Chapter Review meeting.

We welcomed scholarship winner Talia Dugan from Phi Psi chapter at Baylor University.

Program: Claudia Jameson performed “Maskmaker, Maskmaker”, a pandemic parody from Fiddler on the Roof, after which members donned their masks for a screen shot.

Scholarship winner Talia Dugan performed Burgmüller's Duo for Clarinet and Piano, accompanied by her mother, Renee. She has been active in the Phi Psi chapter at Baylor as well as the Baylor Band and the Waco Symphony. She's now home in Portland, Oregon where she is teaching remotely and had a summer wedding. Her scholarship check was mailed to her.


June Meeting

We had impromptu meetings in June and July to touch bases in the midst of the pandemic.

50 year certificates were received for Zelda Hantz and Mary Ann Taylor. Sylvia Taylor received a 70 year certificate. Our chapter officially has 36 members with 12 new affiliates and several 2020 graduates of UNT planning to join.

Mary Ann Taylor wrote a beautiful “trope” on the Mu Phi Epsilon Creed, which she read antiphonally with Claudia Jameson.

Nancy Laine asked for ideas for our meeting theme next year. All fall meetings will be on Zoom. We'll see what happens after Christmas, but are preparing to be on Zoom for the year.

Program: Pianist Leslie Spotz, professor of piano at Tarleton State University, performed three pieces from her home in Stephenville:
- D. Scarlatti: Sonata in C major, K 159
- Mozart: Sonata in F Maj. K 332, Adagio
- Beethoven: “Waldstein” Sonata in C major Op. 53,
- first movement


July Meeting

Debbie Brooks gave us some tips on recording (see section below).Nancy summarized: We don't want anyone to be scared of volunteering to perform because of technical challenges. There are ways we could go “whole hog,” or “hog enough!” Please request help with any technical questions or challenges from our knowledgeable members.

Debbie offers to help performers find the best setup for their instrument. . Amy Canchola, Debbie and Lisa Beyer have experience with video and audio recording. Basil Bouras and Debbie can do video linking.

Program: Debbie Brooks shared with us her string quartet's front porch performance of one movement of Haydn's “The Hunt” quartet, recorded on an iPhone from 15' away. Quartet members were her colleagues from the Fort Worth Symphony.


Next Meetings

Claudia Jameson and committee of Susan Poelchau and Kimla Beasley are still working on a program schedule for this year.

If you can perform from home, your school or church, let her know. Church musicians could perhaps submit their virtual service recordings for a program for fall.

Members can perform at home and submit recordings or play live via Zoom.

Nancy Laine asked for ideas for our meeting theme this year, like “Zooming into the Future”, “Conoavideos” or “Changing Times”.

Our fall meetings will be over Zoom. We will see about spring meetings.

Saturday, September 19, 11 am

Location: Zoom meeting. We normally start our fall meetings with lunch – but this year you will need to provide your own. Sorry! Please join the group at 10:55 am. You should be able to go right in.

Time: September 19, 2020 at 11am
Join Zoom Meeting with a link sent to members. Guests - please request a link from the webmaster.

You will enjoy seeing this vintage program - a video from the “Carnival of the Animals” program in 2001, which has been transferred to USB memory stick.

Program: Carnival of the Animals, Saint Saens

Played by members of Mu Phi Epsilon and friends on April 2, 2001:
Pianists: Katie Freiberger, Tena Hehn, Pat Hill, Mary Beth Johnson, Sylvia Taylor, Martha Pettit, Judy Reynolds, Sadie Rowe, Karen Schoenrock, Gaylia Seeley, Frances Stuart, Pat Suitt, June Tighe
Cellist: Gretchen Nichols
Instrumentals: Paul Dutka
Reader of the Ogden Nash narration: Debbie Pfautsch
[Bonus: Words to the poems will be provided for the meeting.]

Future meetings

Please put these dates on your calendars. If you can perform for a meeting, please contact Claudia Jameson ASAP.

Monday, October 12 – 7 pm

Monday, November 9 – 7 pm

Monday, January 11, 2001 – 7 PM

Monday, February 8 – 7 pm – Joint meeting with SAI/MPE
We are hosts this hear and are hoping to get a church to open up for us so we can sit apart and possibly enjoy our organists also. Churches are reluctant to commit into the future.

Tuesday, March 16 – 7 pm

Saturday, April 3 – 11 am
Luncheon with collegiates
Location: Lovers Lane United Methodist Church TENTATIVE
9200 Inwood Rd – Parlor
Alternative: Location: Zoom meeting.
Host: Phyllis Wilson and Debbie Brooks
Co-hosts: If we meet at the church, everyone brings food

Monday, May 3 – 7 pm
Location: Home of Ashley Bouras TENTATIVE
Alternative: Zoom meeting
Host: Ashley Bouras and Debbie Brooks
No Program; planning meeting for Convention


Meetings and Programs

Your Program committee has been working to provide us with some programs this year. We are using Zoom for all fall meetings and possibly next year too. Spring is all “tentative.”

If you have not yet volunteered to perform at a meeting or have an idea for a theme, your committee wants to talk to you! Contact committee members Claudia Jameson, Susan Poelchau or Kimla Beasley. Church musicians could perhaps submit their virtual service recordings for a program. Members can perform at home or elsewhere and submit recordings. Help is available.


President Nancy Laine received our awards for this year - pat ourselves on the back once again for being an outstanding alumni chapter! Our biggest challenge is still having more participation from more members. What can you contribute?

Newsletter / Yearbook

Your Newsletter Editor Mary Williams appreciates knowing what you are doing or if you have changes to your information. Your news is our news.

Next Newsletter deadline is November 1.

A membership roster for this year was sent to members.

There are still a few people missing who intend to join (!) but have not paid their dues yet. As soon as this roster is complete, Mary Williams will get a yearbook together and send it to you by mail.


Please take some time in the next two weeks to count up your SERV volunteer hours for June 2020 – May 2021. You may be able to enter them at a website: Or you can just email them to me ( Here are the categories:br />
* Service: accompanying, church musician, musical group participation, performance, music management
* Education: any type of unremunerated teaching
* Resource: work with special populations

For each entry, list: Date(s) of service
* Category (Service, Education or Resource)
* Description of Service
* Hours served

Please turn your SERV hours in to Nancy Laine by May 15, divided into Service, Education and Resource.


Welcome to new member Ginger Weese -
She joined Beta Iota at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

She says: "The chapter hadn't been active for many years when we were in school and I 'think' we started it again in 1984. I sang in the choir (altos rock!) and played flute. I started playing oboe in college and now play it more than flute. I'm not good at either anymore but I have fun in our church orchestra. I have a BA in Music with an emphasis in Music Merchandising.

"We live in Richardson and have three children. The younger 2 are in college, but all of them live in home so no empty nest for us. I work at UT Dallas as a secretary. I'm active in our church music ministry: orchestra, handbells and choir on the few Sundays orchestra isn't playing. I taught 2nd grade and preschool church choir for 10-15 years. I also sing in the Contemporary Chorale in Richardson."

We also welcomed new member Kathryn (Kathie) Johnson in spring – see May newsletter for a little about her – but then cancelled our meetings! But she is sticking with us.

Mary Ann Taylor’s husband Jerry died in July. He had been in assisted care for the past nine years and recently in hospice care. Mary Ann reported: “This morning I received the call that we had been dreading, expecting, and in an emotional way hoping for. Jerry passed away after receiving hospice care for several months. It is a blessing for him. We are grateful for the excellent care he received for almost nine years at Pate Rehabilitation. He also had special care at home from some of you. It is difficult to say goodbye, of course, but for him to be himself again...what a blessing.” Our condolences to Mary Ann and her family.

Debbie Brooks showed us clips from the Fort Worth Symphony video she compiled of musicians as a thank you to the Fort Worth Symphony Association. She combines all these individual musicians playing one piece. See the FW Symphony play Brasil on YouTube:
She was interviewd on Fox 4 Good Day program.

Sandra McMillen is recovering from shingles.

Fran Pearson has a new grandson, Cooper.

Claudia Jameson shared her exciting news that her daughter Rachael is going to have a baby in February so she will be a first-time grandma!

Sandra McMillen's 7 year old granddaughter Haley underwent open heart surgery July 15th at Children's Hospital. Haley was recuperating at home when she experienced a TIA and returned to Children's. She was released and is now resting at home.

Nancy Laine is now organist at Christ United Methodist Church in Plano.

Pianist Leslie Spotz, professor of piano at Tarleton State University, was part of the 7th International EIPIANOPIRA piano festival in Picacicaba, Brazil where she has taught and performed for the past several years – this year remotely. Her virtual recital on Monday July 27th used a better mic and she played beautifully as did her colleague Dr. Joao Paulo Casarotti. See it on YouTube at:

Lisa Beyer reports that our scholarship winner Talia Dugan sent us a sweet thank you email just before her wedding on July 25th.

Francis Vu celebrated his wedding and honeymoon in August. He changed his last name and is now Francis Cathlina. He is also using a new email address:, deactivating his old account.

Daniel McKay got married this summer also and is now Daniel Flores-McKay.

Congratulations to both Francis and Dan!

Susan Poelchau reports health problems, but husband Harald Poelchau is recovering very well from surgery and can walk and drive, so it really COULD be way worse!

Fran Pearson would love to play the viola with an ensemble if anyone would like to get together to do this. Who else would like to play in some ensembles? Contact our program committee - Claudia Jameson, Kimla Beasley or Susan Poelchau.


Suggestions for Recording 

Debbie Brooks shared her considerable technical expertise with us at our impromptu July meeting, gave encouragement and offered help to members with recording programs for meetings.

Microphones: The quality of recording can be improved with the right mic. Different instruments require different mics. If interested, Google “the best microphone for recording (your instrument). The Crutchfield catalog is a good resource. A high-end mic needs a preamp. Sabren powers your mic through a USB port, which Debbie uses for teaching online. A basic Yeti Blue mic, which she used for our meeting, is good for Zoom.

If possible, separate video from audio recording device. For best quality, record ahead on a separate device, using a mic, with audio only. Try performing for someone on Zoom ahead of time to test the quality of live performance. (Anyone can get Zoom time for 40 minutes just by scheduling it.) Debbie has offered to help performers find the best setup for their instrument.

You can send Debbie Brooks a piano accompaniment, then her friend Tucker will provide a click-track for you to perform with.

It's helpful to have a friend to help you with post production!

Amy Canchola and Lisa Beyer also have experience with this sort of recording. Basil Bouras can do video linking.

If you are new to all this, Debbie suggests watching: How to Record Piano -

Susan Poelchau: A musician friend reports that for home recording for Zoom, the Blue Yeti is a nice piece of equipment. With Zoom, there's so much data compression that a condenser microphone like that one really helps. The Finfe mic is OK and quite a bit cheaper.

Nancy Laine: We don't want anyone to be scared of volunteering to perform because of technical challenges. Ask for help from one of these knowledgeable people.


Using Zoom

If you have not used Zoom or are having trouble with it, please ask for assistance.

Note: We are not requiring a password for our Zoom meetings, since a link is sent only to members and the likelihood of our meetings being crashed is remote. (If hackers have our link, they would also have the password.) Once you have downloaded Zoom (takes just a minute), Zoom is super easy - click a link and you are there.


You can participate with a video of yourself, if your computer has a built-in or add-on camera, and/or audio. You need to select one or both to have others see/hear you.
* Please sit in a lighted place and ajust your screen and/or chair height so we can see you.
* Please use headphones or earbuds to minimize noise and for best audio.
* Keep your audio muted (by clicking on the audio icon in lower left of your screen) when you are not talking.
* You can toggle between Gallery View (see everyone) and Speaker View (see only the speaker) by clicking on the square shaped icon in the upper right corner of your screen. If you don't see it, hover your cursor in the area until it shows up.
* At the end of the meeting, click Leave Meeting in the lower right corner.


Four spring concerts were cancelled due to closure of the Library / virus, much to the disappointment of performers and audiences. Two of those performers are now scheduled for this year, plus a great group of new and previous performers.

We have a full roster of performers for this year using pre-recorded videos in lieu of a live performance at the Library. The re-opening of the Library is still being decided, and if/when it opens again, we can return to live concerts. Many thanks to our Tech Gurus who are making this 84th season happen: Kimla Beasley, Debbie Brooks, Nancy Laine, Susan Poelchau and Andrew Anderson at the Dallas Library.

Kimla Beasley has dates set up for concerts to be viewed on our website beginning on September 27th with 8 concerts in fall and 11 in spring. You can schedule a Watch Party and attend from home. Go to our website: Click on Concert Series. There are links there to Performers’ bios and to their Programs, as received. There is one new link on the Concert Series page: Concert Performance. It will be activated each Sunday that there is a concert with the current performer and stay up for 24 hours.

Help us spread the word abour Mu Phi and our Concert Series! With our regular concert goers not joining us at the Library, it is even more important than ever that you let your family, friends, colleagues and students know about our free concerts being online - and encourage them to attend. Sign up on Facebook for our Facebook page (MuPhiEpsilonDallas) and share our concert series postings.

Wanted: a volunteer to research the email addresses of heads of music departments at the local colleges. As we are not mailing physical concert schedules for these department heads to post - we would like them to include our schedule with their teaching materials for their students. Contact Mary Williams if you can do this; she has a list of colleges. She will send the schedules by email if she can get a list to send to.

See this season's schedule on the Concert Series page.


We had this update from our Alumni Advisor, Marcus Wyche:

We have created two new appointed positions – one is:
- District Director-At-Large: Ashley Bouras to cover districts that do not have a permanent director

- Also appointed in new District Director for our district SC2: Sam Melnick and he’s wonderful. We are in great hands!

Congratulations to Ashley and Sam on their new positions.

- Social Media Coordinator: Ellen Sackett continues her great work as Editor of The Triangle, but is no longer the Fraternity's Social Media Coordinator. The IEB is in the process of filling the Social Media Coordinator position permanently; the interim coordinator is Haley Stevenson, a recent graduate of Butler University and an initiate of the Kappa Chapter.

- The 2020 convention has been officially rescheduled for July 21-24, 2021 at the same location - Embassy Suites in Grapevine.


Convention Dates: July 21–24, 2021

UPDATE: We finally have the agreement complete between Mu Phi Epsilon and the Embassy Suites in Grapevine to officially tell you that our 2020 convention has been rescheduled to 2021. New dates:

JULY 21-24, 2021
Grapevine, Texas
Embassy Suites
All fees and room rates will remain the same.

Sam Melnick was chosen by the Board be our official chapter delegate. Our new GEM members, Mary Ann Taylor and Zelda Hantz, will be recognized.

Several Dallas Alumni members have been invited to present/perform:
• Composers Katie Freiberger's “A Mountain Meditation” and Julie Schmitt's piece “A Hole in the Water” will be performed.
• Lisa Beyer and Ashley Bouras will present “Mindful Movement.”
• Our new member Leslie Spotz will play some Beethoven and also give a lecture on him. We are so delighted she was chosen. Leslie has been performing on our concert series for many years and is an accomplished professor and touring pianist.
• Francis Vu, chosen to direct the Convention Chorus, had already started working with his choir for their presentation.

These members hope to be available next year for Convention.            


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: