The Letter Box
Full-text of responses to Spring 2007 "Looking Back" photo
Ed's note: Several of you had no problem identifying the group of hardheaded Greeks in the spring 2007 "Looking Back" section. It seems we should have looked through our old copies of Seal yearbooks a little closer. Listed below is the full text of the edited letters that appeared in the print magazine.
Members of Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity
in an early 1970s Seal photo.
I recognized immediately the picture in your looking back section of the magazine I received today. It is the 1973 yearbook photo, found on p. 151 top, of the music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha (Sinfonia). The Seal also lists the names of each member pictured.
In looking at some of the other fraternity pictures in that 1973 Seal, it appears as if yearbook staff asked for outside/action shots, as several other fraternities are pictured in a similar manner.
Nancy Layton Moody ’75
The picture appears to be a picture of the members of Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity. The pictures were taken for the college yearbook. Each year the fraternities and sororities would try to come up with unique poses for the pictures. If you take a look at some of the yearbooks from the late 1960s and early 1970s, you will find some very interesting pictures of the members of Theta Nu Sigma.
William (Jason) Wright ’71
The group is some of the members of the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. It was a professional music fraternity that still exists, in some form, at the national level. In the late 1970s it lost a court battle, which forced Phi Mu Alpha to admit women.
On the TSC campus, Phi Mu Alpha did a couple of notable annual activities. We always went dorm to dorm singing Christmas Carols in late December, which was a very nice winter touch. Also, the fraternity put on a decent version of a Broadway musical each spring. Locally, it was the later activity's success which led to its own demise as the group began to attract more and more theater majors and “the show” dominated everything, music majors found Phi Mu Alpha less attractive.
Concerning the picture....I believe that the picture was taken after one of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia recitals held in the small recital hall in Bray, the old music building. It was also pledge season and this is why some are wearing helmets and white work jackets. The bass in the front was a metal instrument (it never had strings on it) which each pledge class had to sand down and repaint in a new red, black, and gold pattern.
Some of the characters in the picture....I can't make out everyone. I am in the upper left, holding my cello. To my right are Skip Ziff, with Eric Metz and Gary Frackenpol holding the banner. Others are Gene Costa, Jerry Petzel, Dave Spiegel, Marc Dail, Hank Eveland, Barry Coleman, Tom Price, Fred Oganowski, Rich ????, and Doug Smith.
I believe that the picture was taken between Bray and Kendall Hall in 1973 or 1974.
Ken Schoonover, EdD, ’75, ’77
The wonderful group of "hard-headed" and hard-hatted Greeks are my dear friends and colleagues from Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia—the collegiate fraternity for men of the musical persuasion. Ever vigilant in their goal to advance the appreciation of music on campus, this gifted crew of instrumentalists and performers used any means necessary to forge that path, including casting me as leading lady Fanny Brice in their annual musical comedy, Funny Girl. In more ways than I can begin to site here, this single performance opportunity became the catalyst for a professional career that has lasted over 30 years, and continues to bring not only the contentedness of gainful employment, but also a most remarkable stockpile of memories from an intensely creative life experience.
So, to Skip Ziph, Dan Kutz, Rich Kugler, Don White, Gary Fackenthal, and all of my wild and wonderful conspirators from Phi Mu Alpha—thank you! As we respectfully and lovingly sang years ago, "All Hail Sinfonia!" I remain in your debt forever, as you remain in my heart!
Deborah Lake Massa ’75
Dept. of Speech Communication and Theatre
I noticed in your spring 2007 edition there was a photograph you desired information on. I worked on the Seal staff and remember the image. It is of the Phi Mu Alpha fraternity who were mostly, if not all, music majors. When the Greeks posed for the yearbook, many used location and props to add an entertaining element to the photograph. Digging through my old yearbooks, I found this in the '73 Seal.
John Jordan ’77
I'm writing to give you some info on the photo found on page one of the spring issue of TCNJ Magazine. The photo is of members of Phi Mu Alpha, the music fraternity. Judging from people in the photo, it was taken in the early 1970s. It appears to have been taken for the yearbook, since at that time there was a tradition of taking photos outdoors. The brothers of Phi Mu Alpha wore US military helmet liners during pledge season, perhaps that is why several are in helmets.
Phi Mu Alpha is a national music fraternity. Our chapter was considered a “professional” fraternity and not part of the “social” fraternity structure that was in place at that time. Phi Mu Alpha became inactive on our campus in the mid-to-late 1980s, although the national organization remains quite strong and active on many college and university campuses.
Hope this helps. Yours,
Bob Parrish ’72, ’86
Professor Emeritus of Music
2006 Alumni Citation Recipient
Where was the Class of 2007?
I was disappointed by the spring issue of TCNJ Magazine. I can’t believe that after four grueling years of academic study at TCNJ, the Class of 2007 got a quarter-page of press for their achievements. What about all that we’ve accomplished? What about where we’re going with our lives? As far as I’m concerned, the spring publication should have at least a few pages dedicated to commending the most recent graduating class...and all we got was a blurb of picture captions.
Proud Member of the Class of 2007
Ed’s note: The combination of a reduced page count (due to a reduced budget) and a tight production schedule (Commencement 2007 occurred just days before the spring issue went to print) were the deciding factors in the amount of space we allotted to Commencement photos. The staff thought that it had struck upon a good solution in putting a handful of photos in the print version, and directing readers to an online slideshow/video of Commencement featuring expanded coverage of the day. In hindsight, perhaps we missed the mark a bit. We apologize to any Class of 2007 graduates who might have construed the limited print coverage of Commencement as a slight to your achievements as a student, and hope that you continue to tell us of your accomplishments as alumni.
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