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Alpha A 

We had a beautiful fall day for our Alpha A Province Day hosted by the Sigma Mu Chapter at Hillsdale College. Held in the music building, the Opening Ceremony was performed, followed by the MIT Pledging Ceremony for the Fall MIT class of the Sigma Mu Chapter. After the ceremony, we had the chance to listen to an interesting story of Patroness Dr. Renee Clark, Assistant Professor of Music at Hillsdale College. She talked about her own history of being Native American, and how she has loved learning and teaching about Music History from all around the world. After lunch, we broke into teams (combined alumnae members and collegiate members) and played SAI Jeopardy and had tables open for Plea-Phlam. Mid afternoon we had a nice musicale with a variety of performers of both alumnae and collegiate members. We closed our day with announcements, awards, a Memorial Ceremony, and then Closing Ceremony. The Sigma Mu sisters were wonderful hosts and really had the day put together well.

Beta A/B

Valparaiso University’s Beta Lambda Chapter hosted a very full Province Day on April 14. The Lake County Alumnae Chapter provided a lovely continental breakfast followed by the opening ritual and a wonderful speech, “Leadership, Measure by Measure.” The speaker, Margaret Franson is the Associate Dean of Christ College and a Patroness Member of Beta Lambda. She was an excellent speaker and, though she claimed not to be a musician, her speech tied into many meaningful musical phrases. Workshops conducted by Valparaiso faculty included “Auditioning in the Theater: Practical Skill and Techniques for Success” by Ginny Oram, Beta Lambda advisor, “Beyond the Garage: The Role of Guitar Music in the Global Community” by Jim Konsbruck, and “Working with Accompaniment: Keyboard, Rhythm Section, and Orchestra” by Dr. Dennis Friesen-Carper.At noon, there was a delicious pasta lunch followed by panel discussion where Peggy Glennie, Region V RO, Shannon Wagner, Beta A PO, and Barbara Mueller, Beta B PO, spoke and answered questions from attendees. Round Table discussions, Phlea-Phlam, and the Musicale ended a beautiful, musical day. Several members performed and the Beta Lambda Chorus wowed all of us with their beautiful singing of “Scarborough Fair” and “Till There was You” from Music Man. It was a well-attended day of sisterhood, singing, and sharing.

Epsilon A

Forty members of SAI gathered on April 14, in Madison, WI, for Epsilon A’s Province Day. The Madison Alumnae Chapter welcomed SAIs from three collegiate chapters – Rho (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Theta Iota (University of Wisconsin-Platteville), and Xi (Lawrence University) -- plus the Milwaukee Alumnae Chapter. Chapter reports followed the Opening Ceremony. What fun it was to hear about all the music, service, and sisterhood activities taking place! Our Province Officer, Sandy Erickson, read greetings from National President Liz Nordling and Region 3 Officer Paula Neihouse in addition to giving the Province Officer’s report. Symphy, Sandy’s cute SAI piggy bank, made a return visit to the Epsilon A gathering, gaining even more weight in change to be donated to SAI Philanthropies. A fun get-acquainted activity that incorporated Fraternity Education was followed by a “Hands-On Handbells” workshop conducted by Madison alumna Susan Udell, who is also the founder and emeritus conductor of the Madison Area Concert Handbells. By the end of the workshop, we were able to sing songs to a handbell accompaniment! The “Healing Power of Music” theme was captured in an interesting presentation by guest speaker Amanda Horn: “Muscles, Motion, and Music: A Small-Handed Pianist’s Perspective.” Amanda shared her doctoral research that measured and visually projected the movement required of muscles in the fingers to play the piano. We could actually see how modifying hand position, finger distance from the instrument, and altering practice techniques can help to avoid overuse injuries for all musicians. The Province Day musicale included solo performances of vocal, piano, violin, and handbell pieces, with all SAIs singing “The Whistle Song” as the final piece. Rho Chapter next presented the Founders’ Day Ceremony which was followed by the Closing Ceremony. Before the day was over, Theta Iota chapter had already invited us to join them in Platteville, WI, for next year’s Province Day.

Zeta A

Zeta A Province Day was something more this year. Iota Alpha, the collegiate chapter at Oklahoma State University asked if they could host a statewide event. So, we had Zeta Day and both Zeta A and B were present.
The day was incredibly well organized and fun. Chapters from all over Oklahoma were in attendance. The music was spectacular. The workshops were informative and engaging. Lunch was great and the Iota Alpha Chapter went to a lot of trouble to make sure that everyone “mingled.” They set place cards around the room for different chapters. So, for example, at our table were two place cards for Sigma Gamma: three for Alpha Iota; one for a Province Officer; and one for Iota Alpha. This made for some very interesting conversations and opportunities to meet women we might not otherwise have met. In fact, I had my picture taken with the current President of Alpha Iota – my initiating chapter. A past President from 1966 and a current President from 2012 were at the table together.

The chapter members also put together a craft project that got everyone involved. There was singing and laughing and learning and all sorts of great ideas. There was an opportunity for chapters to sell their wares and generate money and a couple of raffles to raise money for Iota Alpha to help pay for the event. The tables were covered in paper and crayons were provided so those who have talent in the visual arts were also able to share that with all of us.

Lunch was served and dessert was a big cake honoring the Zeta Province day of togetherness. There were also cameras on the tables and list of possible pictures to take. It was my privilege to adjourn the day with our closing ceremony.
In the weeks after the event, the two Province Officers received beautiful photo albums to share with our chapters celebrating the event. The books are a compilation of the photos taken during the day. The photo albums are a real treasure for all of us. Iota Alpha did a spectacular job. Province Day was a huge success and each one left feeling more a part of the larger SAI sisterhood. In fact, since that time, chapters have reached out across the “border” to help each other with initiations and other events. This was the start of something wonderful.

Zeta B

This year, Zeta A and B provinces combined for State Day on March 3. Iota Alpha at Oklahoma State University (OSU) hosted. The speech topics were well coordinated and related to one another: Zeta A PO Sharon Doty spoke of the healing power of music and how that relates to being and living as SAIs (also a great lead-in for convention!). I spoke about alumnae chapters and why we want and need the new collegiate graduates to join them, a Iota Alpha chapter member presented on music therapy, and one of the Tulsa Alumnae Chapter members talked about the history of the province. Delta Iota member Emily Nelson sang on one of the musicales, and I performed (flute) on the other; an OSU voice faculty member and several Tulsa Alumnae Chapter members also performed. Everyone enjoyed a couple of rounds of a FrEd version of Bingo and singing favorite songs from the SAI book. The day was well-planned and very graciously hosted. Attendees were very enthusiastic about having more state days in the future. We hope to do this again sooner than the last time, which was in 1999 (according to my T-shirt). It was a treat to receive a photo album (one sent to me and one to Sharon) full of the candid shots taken with the cameras provided at each table.

Theta A and B

Eighty-one SAIs attended the Theta A and B Province Day.
Theta A and B Province Day hosted by Theta Chapter was held on January 28 at Washburn University (WU) in Topeka, KS. Eighty-one members attended. There were 52 members from each chapter of Theta A Province and 16 members from four chapters in Theta B Province. Also attending were Region 2 Regional Officer Aileen Todd, Theta B Province Officer Regina Murphy, and Theta A Province Officer Ginger Patterson. The theme of the day was “Painting the Roses Red” from Alice in Wonderland. Theta members dressed in Wonderland costumes.

Theta kicked off a state-wide service project can drive entitled “SAI Can.” The project was for chapters to distribute grocery bags to homes in their town, with a flyer asking residents to fill the bags with food for a local food pantry. The flyer asked residents to set the bag on their doorstep on a certain date for pick-up.

There were 4 breakout sessions: “Time Management” session led by WU student Lucas Whippo; WU instructor Dr. Sylvia Stoner-Hawkins presented a session on “Auditioning and Interviewing;” Topeka Alumnae Chapter member Judy Coder led a sharing session on “Keeping Sisterhood Alive;” and Theta Chapter had a fun cookie-decorating session with plate-size cookies allowing members to show their artistic talents.

The keynote speech was “Body Awareness and Relaxation Seminar” with Debbie Isaacson. The Province Day Luncheon was catered by Chipotle and held at the University Methodist Church with a video of the Disney film Alice in Wonderland. The diverse Province Day Musicale included pieces by a vocalist, trumpet, French horn, saxophone, vocal with guitar and two piano solos. The annual “Penny Wars” Philanthropies fundraiser was won by Lawrence Alumnae Chapter for Theta A Province and Lindsborg Alumnae Chapter for Theta B Province. The total raised for SAI Philanthropies was $188.18.

Thanks to Theta Chapter for an outstanding job of planning and carrying out a lovely day. Our joint province day provided members an opportunity to meet SAI sisters across both provinces through education, music, and fun.

Iota D

Iota D was created as a new province, as of August 2011, and the chapters include Gamma Zeta (Old Dominion University), Theta Pi (Christopher Newport University), Lambda Rho (Norfolk State University), Mu Gamma (Hampton University), and the Hampton Roads Alumnae Chapter. Over 50 sisters, representing all five chapters, attended the first ever Iota D Province Day on March 31. Gamma Zeta, located in Norfolk, VA, hosted the event. Christine Bruns, NVP-Collegiate Chapters, served as presiding officer for the ritual. Guest speaker was Joyce Garcia, Region VII Regional Officer, who spoke on recruitment/retention and SAI after college years. Other highlights of the day included a musicale with 12 sisters participating; break-out sessions, where groups of 10 shared and brainstormed ideas for recruitment/social, musicales/programs, and fundraising/philanthropy; and, the Rededication Ceremony, which was an opportunity to officially dedicate the new province — Iota D — to Sigma Alpha Iota and for each member to rededicate herself individually.

Rho A

Rho A Province Day was held jointly with Rho B on March 3 on the campus of Troy University in Troy, AL. It was hosted by the Delta Zeta chapter. There were ice breakers, a fundraiser for Philanthropies, Inc. and a presentation from one of the original advisors and sisters of the Delta Zeta chapter, Jean Barr. The day also included a presentation on hazing by the sisters of the Theta Zeta chapter, an open musical by all of the sisters to the Troy University community that included the singing of the four part Chorale and “Music is Our Call,” and a question-and-answer session which consisted of several questions/scenarios being addressed by members from each chapter to give a peer-to-peer perspective. Overall, the 2012 Rho A and Rho B Province Day was a great success and the ladies are excited about Province Day 2013, slated to be hosted by the Theta Zeta chapter in Huntsville, AL.

Sigma C

Sigma C Province Day was hosted (for the first time ever) by the Alpha Gamma Chapter. Alpha Gamma provided a continental breakfast, introductions were made, and greetings from the National President and our RO were given, and then there was an icebreaking “Find Your Person” activity. Following the initiations of two new patronesses, we were assigned our beginning Breakout session, either Music Theory, Music History, or Excursions in World Music (each session was 15 minutes in length). After the breakout sessions, tours of the brand-new music building were given. Following the tours, everyone made their way to Brown Chapel (the Performance Hall) for the SAI Musicale The afternoon included a delicious lunch, crafts, Phlea-Phlam, Sing-A-Long (with lots of favorites!) and our pictures, final remarks and good-byes. Several girls from Zeta Upsilon (Edinboro University in Pennsylvania) made the trek - nearly 5 hours one way! I really enjoyed seeing a chapter that has never put on a Province Day do it well! It made me proud of them as their Province Officer!

Tau D

Tau D Province Day was hosted by Iota Tau chapter at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, on March 16 and 17. The theme of Province Day was “SAI(L) Away With Us.” Our special guest was Executive Director Ruth Sieber Johnson. Province Day was kicked off Friday night with the initiation of MITs for Iota Tau and Lambda Omega. We enjoyed a presentation about alumnae life from the Raleigh/Durham Alumnae Chapter and heard from performance anxiety coach and Honorary Member Helen Spielman, as well as Ruth. In cooperation with our National Service Project, we collected donations for the Atlanta Women’s Day Shelter. Every chapter in our province attended this event and the overall attendance exceeded 100 sisters!

Phi A/B Province Conference

SAI held its Phi A and Phi B Province Conference on November 4 and 5, 2011, hosted by the Boston Alumnae chapter and Epsilon Zeta Chapter (Boston Conservatory) under the unflagging leadership and organization of Geraldine Barretto-Sims and Arlene Jospe Veron at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Framingham, MA.

Friday evening opened the conference for the early arrivals with a benefit concert entitled, “Love, Lust, and Lehar.” It featured favorites from opera, operetta, and Broadway and was hosted by SAI National Arts Associate J. Scott Brumit, General Director of the Longwood Opera. We heard stunning arias such as “Vissi d’Arte” from Puccini’s Tosca as well as duets like “One hand, One Heart” from Bernstein’s West Side Story.

Saturday’s activities began with an Invocation, the Pledge of Allegiance, and an inspiring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” After a brief welcome from the hosting chapter presidents and Region VIII RO Jessica Chichester, Phi B’s Patroness Initiation was held. Richard Ortner, President of the Boston Conservatory of Music, was also initiated as a Friend of the Arts. His response to this honor was both moving and humbling as he recounted some of his most treasured musical memories.

Workshop Session I,” Creating Opera Anywhere,” was an rousing talk by the previous night’s MC, Mr. Brumit, and he explained the impact of opera on his life and his hopes for opera of the future. His passion for opera was obvious as was his humor about the subject. After that, a wonderfully eclectic inter-chapter musicale was held.

The afternoon was an action-packed series of events including a fraternity sing-a-long, the recitation of the many awards presented to chapters and individuals in the province, and a special awards presentation for John Moriarty, National Arts Associate and widely-respected opera conductor. Workshop Session II followed the presentation, and members were guided through the ins and outs of “Creating a Community Orchestra” led by National Arts Associate Yoichi Udagawa, Conductor of the Cape Ann Symphony. The Q&A after the talk was particularly interesting and focused on the difficulties orchestras and other performing groups are facing in light of the current economic situation. There was also a musicological offering for Workshop Session III: “Louis Moreau Gottschalk: An American Original” by National Arts Associate Thomas Enman of the Longy School. The lecture was punctuated by performance examples given by students from the school.

The closing events of the day included Collegiate and Alumnae Forums used to discuss challenges and successes of the past year, Phlea-Phlam Phundraiser, door prizes, and a solemn Closing Ritual. It was an inspiring, fun-filled conference, and sisters left with a renewed spirit
of dedication.

Chi A

On Saturday, March 31, Chi A held their Province Day at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA. The sisters from Delta Alpha planned a wonderful day of sisterhood and music with the theme “The Minnie Davis Awards.” Each chapter was asked to perform two selections from Musical Theater and received awards for their participation at the luncheon. Small group activities throughout the day included icebreakers, FrED, and a music therapy activity, which was part of the Music Therapy presentation. Chi A PO Mary Bushong and Region VIII RO Jessica Chichester encouraged all to attend Convention.

Chi B

This year Chi B Province Day was held on April 28 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, hosted by Kappa Beta Chapter. The day began with breakfast, provided by Kappa Beta, as sisters arrived. This allowed for many to mingle, meet, and reconnect before the day began. Sisters were present from all current chapters in the province. Following an opening ceremony, sisters were invited to break into groups and make poster representations and drawings of their favorite SAI aspects. Sisters were then invited to share these with each other. Following the activity, sisters performed different pieces in a musicale. Other highlights of the day included a visit to the gravesite of founder Leila Farlin Laughlin, and presentations by Karen Smith of the Pittsburgh Alumnae chapter and Dr. Laura Ferguson, Kappa Beta advisor. Karen spoke on the importance of SAI Philanthropies while Dr. Ferguson talked on innovation in music performance. The day ended with more music before sisters parted ways. The sisters of Kappa Beta stepped up to make the day memorable and enjoyable for all in attendance.

Omega A

Beta Chi (McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA) hosted a magnifique Omega A Parisian Picnic Province Day March 23-25. Sisters in attendance were treated to a délicieux French dinner on Friday night prepared by one of the Beta Chi members. Guest speakers included Iota Omicron initiate and Lake Charles Alumnae Chapter member Dr. Carol Lines, a McNeese faculty member, and Jennifer Zerangue, National Vice President, Finance. Fun sisterhood activities included icebreaker games, a campus tour, and a Saturday afternoon picnic in the quad.