With Founder's Day fast approaching us, now is a good time to consider the age of our fraternity. I believe it's fair to say that Sinfonia is old.
Describing something as 'old' is always relative. To say Sinfonia is old compared to, say, music itself is silly. However, as we look toward our 118th year, we can feel confident that this fraternity has outlived any of its living members. George Gershwin was born less than two weeks earlier than the Sinfonia Club, and we predate his Rhapsody in Blue by 26 years. Our fraternity goes back farther than the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood, and many of the beloved musical institutions our country offers.
It's safe to say that we have not slowed down in our old age:
- There are currently 247 active chapters of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia across the country, and 437 chapters have been chartered in 44 states.
- Those chapters house 7,336 active brothers. Combined with the 111,157 living alumni Sinfonians, there are more than 118,000 brothers of our Fraternity walking the streets of the world.
- We recently had our 55th National Convention in New Orleans, which was one of the largest gatherings of brothers in our history.
This modern era of growth can be directly tied to an embrace of the Fraternity's founding, and it's founder, Ossian E. Mills. This Fraternity is the product of a man, and has been at it's most successful as an organization when it strove to reflect and act on the values he cherished and sought to share. Through Flower Missions and a personal connection with the men who attended his school, Mills sought to use music to not only bring people closer together, but to heal and repair broken spirits and bodies.
We owe Father Mills an overwhelming debt of gratitude, but he would not have us weep on his behalf. There is very little we can do that will make him more important to us, or improve his reputation amongst the masses. Instead, we need to take up his mantle more now than ever before and move forward and upward.
This Founder's Day, I hope each of you can take a moment and reflect on the words of Father Mills:
I assure you that we men, all of us, need, more perhaps than we think, to withdraw from the active, noisy, materialistic rush of the world, not to mention the sensuous, intoxicating, social pleasures of life that minister only to the ﬂesh, and in peaceful quiet meditate upon and consider together some of the deep things of life, listen to the voice of the Eternal and be taught by the inﬁnite spirit of truth.
Happy Founder's Day, Brothers.