Mary Ann's Notes

Mu Phi friends!

Convention 2023, in Dallas after years of waiting. Untold hours of work went into the planning. Dozens of arrangements needed attention, from the highest levels of administration to the individuals in chapters across the country. Gathering 150+ people was not the least of the matter. Details. Details. Details.

A woman in a purple shirt smiles for the camera.

All that said, did the Convention live up to expectations? My answer is a resounding “Yes!” From business sessions modeled around Robert’s Rules of Order to intense idea-sharing conversations, wonderful luncheons and dinners—the Convention was amazing.

The Fraternity retains its focus on music as performed, and we were not disappointed. Claudia Jameson and Mary Alice Rich’s opera Anám the Witch and Beatrice the Beautiful was performed to a full and most enthusiastic house, with accompaniment by Susan Poelchau. In the evening, we had the University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band quintet. Our new young friend from North Texas performed, clarinetist Emily O’Brien; she is an incoming junior and chapter president. The concluding choir concert featured not only several of our alumni chapter members but also Francis Cathlina, formerly Vu, whom we claim as our own as well. The selections presented were superb and beautifully done. Individually, singing with other Mu Phis will remain a highlight—these people are smart, talented, fervent and dedicated, and the wait staff and hotel guests who heard our songs were lucky indeed.

We were privileged to attend and participate in a collegiate initiation. The face of that young woman, before and after, was unforgettable.

Two versions of the memorial ritual:

President Kurt-Alexander Zeller led the group service by reading the names of those whose passing we commemorated. A somber flute solo reminded us of the solemnity of the occasion. Alumni VP Ann Geiler read several submitted obituaries.

Kurt-Alexander Zeller, arrayed in his beautiful, purple-trimmed white ceremonial robe, read with care and tenderness in his polished, trained voice the names of those who have passed on as collegiates from the provinces lit candles for each. Ann Geiler, also lovely in her symbolic robe, shared the lives and stories of our sisters and brothers whose memories and examples we need to remember. Rik Noyce, an Altus Flutes performing artist, shared a piece for flute alone he had commissioned in honor of his father, who had died of COVID during the pandemic. Tears were shed abroad.

Yes, Dallas Alumni, the 2023 Convention was worth the time and effort, the planning and more effort. We and the Fraternity owe a huge debt of gratitude to Nancy Laine. She coordinated the local side of the Convention and all that entailed, including loading up the choir risers on Sunday. We are also proud of Ashley Bouras, Collegiate VP, and her impressive work on the International Executive Board.

Remember to pay your dues, come to meetings, perform if you can, or present another sort of program. Most importantly, be proud and humbled, as I surely am, to be a member of this beautiful organization.

Mary Ann Taylor


Nancy Laine, Convention Coordinator

A Bridge Forward

I was SO proud of our Dallas chapter at Convention! What an amazing turnout our chapter had – 17 members and 2 patrons! What a myriad of tasks – stuffing bags, decorating tables, welcoming, working the marketplace, performing, helping at registration, making a hospital run, ironing banners and robes, and many other miscellaneous errands – all done to perfection with grace, energy, and excitement.

In addition, we had two attendees who became like honorary members for the week: Liz Weber, Tena Hehn’s roommate, who formerly served on the IEO board with Tena, and Sally Etcheto, Kathie Johnson’s roommate, who was in Mu Chi at SMU with Kathie and is now president of the LA chapter.


The Anám opera was a wonderful way to kick off Convention! Not only were the performers fabulous, but the energy and excitement in the room was outstanding!
Congratulations and many thanks to Mary Alice Rich, Claudia Jameson, Susan Poelchau and the singers for a great show!


Congratulations and many thanks to Mary Alice Rich, Claudia Jameson, Susan Poelchau and the singers for a great show!
And how exciting it was later in the Convention when the Dallas chapter won the award for Outstanding Alumni Service Project Award for supporting the Anám opera! Dallas also was awarded Outstanding Alumni Chapter in the South Central Province and best yearbook. Plus Recognition of service hours.
We also applauded our Dallas 50 year+ members (pictured below with banner made by Sandra McMillen many years ago) and celebrated with Susan Poelchau (pictured left with VP Ann Geiler and Mary Ann Taylor) for receiving the Orah Ashley Lamke award for outstanding service to the Fraternity. (We know that's true and long overdue!)


SMU Professor Barbara Hill Moore received the prestigious Elizabeth Mathias Lifetime Achievement Award; one of the slides recounted her collaboration with Mary Alice Rich on her Wading in the Water opera.

The Dallas Morning News also featured a big spread on Mrs. Moore and her work bringing talented African students to study in the U.S.

A man and woman standing next to each other holding a framed certificate.

In addition, SMU Professor Julia K Scott won an Award of Merit for:
* Outstanding music educator
* Professor of Practice and Chair of Music Education at SMU
* Founder/Director, SMU Music Educators Workshops
- Orr Schulwerk and Kodaly Certification Courses along with the largest such sources in the world
* Presented over 200 conference sessions and workshops across the USA and in Australia, Germany, Italy, Scotland, Greece, China and Thailand
* Past President, American Orff-Schulwerk Association

How fun it was to make connections with the collegiates, particularly the ones in South Central. (I’m predicting we’ll not have trouble getting scholarship applications this year!) Being a Mu Chi myself, I’m particularly excited about the possibility of reviving the chapter at SMU. It was great to make connections during Convention with SMU faculty Barbara Hill Moore and Julie K Scott, And I heard there was a collegiate there who is now in graduate school at SMU who was very enthusiastic about the possibility!


Some of the moments I will always remember:
- Fun sight: Several of the students “borrowed” Sandra McMillen’s walker during a meal, only to return it a bit later decorated with flashing purple lights!
- On the first day of the marketplace, people loved Lisa’s handmade earrings and bought lots of them. But several noted that there were no purple ones. The next morning, Lisa came in with a fresh supply of newly made earrings – purple, of course! She had gotten up in the middle of the night and made a new batch. People were buying them like hot cakes, and some even asked for Lisa’s contact info to share with their chapters. Speaking of Marketplace, we ended up with $1,055 in sales. After expenses to be reimbursed, at least half of that is income for our chapter!
- Enjoying Convention photos taken by Patron Basil Bouras, Convention photographer; here is a link - to those photos which you are free to download.
- Singing on the balcony overlooking the hotel atrium.

A man wearing glasses and a black shirt.

Getting to spend time really getting to know members of our chapter.
- Basking in the beautiful program of choral music directed by Francis Vu Cathlina, a “special election initiate” into our Dallas alumni chapter just a few years ago.

A man in a suit is singing in front of a group of people.

- Seeing Ashley Bouras in action as Collegiate VP! Such energy, enthusiasm, and commitment hosting sessions for collegiates (and sometimes alumni too)! We want to be in your music class, Ashley!

ashley bouras

So many memorable moments! But I knew we had really done a great job bonding when several suggested we have a “Convention Afterglow” party which we did on Zoom the Monday after Convention. What fun reliving the moments we had together!

With Mu Phi love,
Nancy Laine

Nancy deserves the most kudos of all for organizing activities, getting discounted fees for our members, buying and making the great t-shirts that were a big hit and working behind the scenes to make everything flow! Muchas gracias Nancy! Mary


From Mary Alice Rich: What a BEAUTIFUL surprise!!!

Thank you #MuPhiCon2023 for your award in recognition of our Dallas Alumni Chapter and ANÁM THE WITCH & BEATRICE THE BEAUTIFUL/La Bruja Anám y la Bella Beatrice. I absolutely love the libretto written by CLAUDIA NAVARRO JAMESON, and it is a great joy to work with singers PJ Lopez, Jazmin Luevano, David Mejia and Claudia Jameson as Anám. 🎶 Blessings to Helen Haupt for her grant to take this operetta into under-served schools.

A woman in a black top smiling for the camera.


Meeting theme for this year: Better Bridges


Monday, September 16, 11 am
Home of Nancy Laine
Host: Nancy Laine
Potluck lunch – Pleae RSVP to Nancy
Please bring a dish to share.

Program: Amy Canchola with Nancy Laine, piano and Akusoa Adwini-Poku with Kathie Johnson, piano

Two women with purple turbans smiling in front of each other.
Two pictures of a man and a woman with an acoustic guitar.


Monday, October 9 – 7 pm
Home of Claudia Jameson
Host: Claudia Jameson
Program: Claudia Jameson, soprano with Noe Garcia, guitar


Monday, November 13 – 7 pm
Home of Mary Williams
Host: Mary Williams

Program: Fran Pearson, viola and Mary Ann Taylor, flute playing some Mozart horn duos

Two pictures of two women playing flutes.



Monday, January 8, 7 pm
Home of Susan Poelchau
Host: Susan Poelchau

Program: Cherie Bell, voice Julie Schmitt, piano

Two photos of two women, one with glasses and the other with no glasses.


Tuesday, February 13, 7 pm
Lakewood United Methodist Church – sanctuary
Host: Mary Alice Rich (Mu Phis host this year)
2443 Abrams Rd Dallas TX 75214
Mu Phis: Dallas Consort of Viols
Duo Atesorado: Amy Canchola, soprano and
Noe Garcia, guitar

Six people playing cellos in a living room.
A man and woman playing guitar in a room.


Monday, (first Monday) March 4, 7 pm
Home of Pat Suitt
Host: Pat Suitt
Program: Pat Suitt and Margaret Mulvey-Claiborne – piano duo

Two women playing cello in front of a piano.


Saturday, April 13, 11 am
Location: Lakewood United Methodist Church – fellowship hall
Hosts: Mary Alice Rich and Mary Williams
2443 Abrams Rd Dallas TX 75214
Program: Collegiate recital, awarding Scholarship
Pot luck luncheon: Please bring enough food for guests. RSVP what you are bringing to Mary – [email protected]

A group of people sitting around a table eating food.
An older woman wearing glasses and a blue top.


Monday, May 13, 7 pm
Home of Kathie Johnson
Host: Kathie Johnson
Program: Presentation on Hildegard of Bingen – Kathie Johnson

Last Meeting

May: Music Brightens Every Hour

We met for potluck dinner at the home of Mary Williams. We discussed plans for Convention and installed officers for the new school year. All officers from this past year agreed to serve another year in their present capacity.

Two purple pansies on a white background.

Chapter News

New Officers

These officers who have agreed to serve a second year will be installed at the May meeting:

  • President: Mary Ann Taylorr
  • Vice-president: Lisa Beyer
  • Secretary: Susan Poelchau
  • Treasurer: Nancy Laine
  • Chorister, Programs: Amy Canchola
  • Chaplain: Kathryn Johnson
  • Historian: Mary Williams

New Website

Mary Williams completed working with developers from our web host, GoDaddy, to get us a new, updated, stable website. It has been developed in WordPress and resides on the GoDaddy website so that anyone else can keep it up at a later date. The first two years will be maintained by GoDaddy. In addition, Mary is slowly learning WordPress and is now able to make minor edits. She is studying the program in between working on other projects and will have a little time to become proficient in using it.

As we are structured around the school year, the information on the new website was already out of date when it was launched in August. We do not have all of our fall information ready to make it current yet – Newsletter, Meeting schedule, and Concert Series schedule. They will be updated soon.

Anyone who knows Word Press or would like to learn it will be needed to take over maintaining the website no later than two years from now. Word Press is not a difficult program to learn or use, and the site will be all set up to keep it updated. This a perfect volunteer opportunity for a younger member. If interested, please talk to Mary Williams about what is involved. [email protected]

A website with the words'mu pi edison dallas alumni chapter'.

You will see a simpler layout, fresher look, and I hope, easy to access information. We will also be able to preserve our past history. As you have suggestions of what you would like to improve on or include, please give them to Mary.

The website is set up with these three main headings:

HOME – includes contact information and a handy form to send an email to the President, Concert Series Chair, Membership Chair or Webmaster (actual email addresses will be replaced with new ones representing the job function)

DALLAS CHAPTER – Meetings, Newsletter, Conventions, Interviews, Past Newsletters, Scholarships

CONCERT SERIES – Schedule, Performers, Programs, History of the Series

Chapter Projects

Claudia Jameson reports that the children’s opera, Anám The Witch and Beatrice the Beautiful, will be performed at Dan D. Rogers Elementary school in Dallas on October 10, 2023. This is in fulfillment of The Helen Haupt grant which was awarded for the purpose of introducing school children to opera.

Phyllis Wilson plans to bring more information to the chapter in October concerning the grant possibilities for the Pilot Point Fine Arts Project that she is involved in. Seems little Pilot Point school is a music desert, and she and other like-minded people have some ideas in mind to rectify that.

We welcome to Dallas one of SMU's Mu Phi graduate students - Akosua Adwini-Pokua - an accomplished mezzo-soprano graduate student of Dr. Barbara Hill Moore. We hope to meet her soon.

Letter from Patron and Convention photographer Basil Bouras:

Hello Dallas Mu Phi Family!

I hope you all have recovered from last week! Please enjoy the gallery page I’ve posted on my website of the Convention. On the page you will find just some of the pictures I took at the Convention. There is a link at the bottom of the webpage that will take you to a Google Drive folder where all the edited images are divided by day of the convention as well as by event. These images are yours to download, print, and share to yours heart’s content.

(Please share this link with other Mu Phi’s and if you feel so inclined, please share our social media posts advertising the gallery link).

Thank you all so very much for your kind words or support and gratitude for my work during and after the Convention. I very much enjoyed my time with you all last week and I hope these images are something you and all of the Mu Phi’s will cherish for years to come.

Most sincerely and in Harmony,


Newsletter / Facebook page

Your Newsletter Editor Mary Williams appreciates knowing what you are doing or if you have changes to your information, especially for the upcoming new Yearbook. Your news is our news. Our next deadline for our (bi-monthly) November Newsletter is November 4.

See our Facebook page and post Convention news and photos there yourself to keep us in the news. We are at: Many thanks to Basil Bouras for the great pics of Convention.

Member News

Claudia Jameson spent some time visiting her niece and grand-nieces in Wooster, OH this summer to attend their birthday celebrations and then flew to Alameda, CA to see her little granddaughter, Zuzu.

phyllis wilson
claudia Jameson

Phyllis Wilson departed late in August on a Viking cruise with her sister, sister-in-law and niece. They traveled from Zurich to Paris and will return Sept. 8. She will have eye surgery on Sept 14, so will miss our next meeting. Extra exciting news, she and her husband are expecting their new granddaughter around the first of October and her oldest grandson is getting married Nov. 3. Phyllis was one of the many Dallas MPEs who enjoyed Convention - "exciting and hopefully gives everyone a boost for a great Mu Phi year."

Mary Ann Taylor traveled to Scotland. More details later.

Mary Ann Taylor

Susan and Harald Poelchau visited daughters in Colorado and family in Germany.

Mary Williams attended a family gathering in Wisconsin to return her sister Patti's ashes to their home state. Patti died last summer of cancer. About 30 of her extended Manning family showed up in Sheboygan for a weekend, and then 22 of them continued to the Wisconsin Northwoods for some lake and woods time. The many cousins and children of cousins were able to renew family ties or meet cousins they had only heard about. Best news: Temp was 75*.

Sharon Kraus-obit

Jenny Smith begins her 10th year of full-time teaching at Tarrant County Community College, north campus - teaching (mostly nursing students) microbiology. She sports a new alligator lunchbox.


Sam Melnick is Programs Administrator for Verdigris, so he does much of the behind-the-scenes coordination. Verdigris has a grant for a concert-length work and have commissioned a North Texas composer to write a piece about Dallas history. The New Music USA Organization Fund supports and performs commissioned new works, collaborates with interdisciplinary artists, and inspires new audiences.

mary williams

From Sandra McMillen: Sharon Kraus, alumni special election member, passed away this past April. Sharon was the alumni chapter treasurer for several years. She was also a member of the Dallas Summer Musical Board of Directors and was very active in the Musicals Guild. She was also a longtime active members of Delta Kappa Gamma society for Women Educators.


After a three-year hiatus, SMU voice professor Barbara Hill Moore returned this summer to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Bay University to teach and inspire a new generation of vocalists. Students received individual coaching, the option to take relevant classes in culture and human rights and participate in a musical production. Dr. Hill Moore took fourteen students and seven faculty for a five-week residency. In collaboration with almost thirty NMU students, the two groups learned and collaborated with each other, culminating in a rousing performance of Oklahoma!


Amy Canchola and Noe Garcia performed at UNT in September. Amy is teaching workshops in auditioning and on musical theater this fall.

She sang the national anthem at the Frisco Rough Riders baseball game last Friday. Her biggest fan made sure everyone knew his mom could really sing!

Concert Series

Our fall concerts will begin soon! We are still without a viable venue, so it looks we will be back on Zoom for this season beginning Sunday Oct 1. As you see, there are still openings in our schedule. If you can perform or know someone who can fill an open slot, contact Kimla Beasley - [email protected]

For fall, visit our concerts on our YouTube page:

Kimla Beasley at [email protected] continues to do a splendid job uploading these performer videos and introducing each Sunday concert.


See you in Fairview at Nancy’s for our opening luncheon on Saturday Sept 16. Bring your good food!