Once a Sinfonian, Always a Sinfonian

We're a group of alumni Sinfonians - brothers of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity in the Alabama counties of Calhoun, Etowah, Cherokee, Cleburne, Randolph, Clay & Talladega.- coming together for music, fellowship and fraternity. Live nearby? Join us!

January's meeting

Details are coming together for the second official meeting of the NE Alabama Alumni Association. Here's what we know so far:

What: Eatin' & Meetin'
When: Jan. 2, dinner at 6 p.m., meeting to follow (then plain ol' socializing)
Where: Meal at Ruby Tuesday, 712 S Quintard Ave., Anniston, AL 36201, Meeting at Phi Mu Alpha House, 708 W. Francis St., Jacksonville, AL 36265
Who: Northeast Alabama-area alumni of Phi Mu Alpha, EN alumni, and other Sinfonians who decide to show up.

Huh? Got questions or concerns? Click below to leave a comment on this post, or e-mail Ben at bcunningham.star #a#t# gmail.com (be sure to replace the weirdness there with the "@" symbol ... trying to keep the spammers at bay).

Great turnout

The gathering finally broke up a little while ago, and it was an unqualified success. We had a few guys who'd said they'd be here, but who had stuff come up. We look forward to seeing you at our next gathering. The turnout included: nine alumni, and the current EN chapter president. Among the things we decided:

1. We intend to petition the national fraternity for recognition as an alumni association.
2. We will be known as the Northeast Alabama Alumni Association.
3. We intend to meet at least once per month.
4. Initial association officers were elected: Treasurer, Gary Lewis.; President, Ben Cunningham; Secretary, Larry Brewseter, with Larry also acting as a liaison to the EN chapter.
5. The association intends to sponsor a chili cookoff as a fundraiser for a worthy local musical charity, sometime in late February. Donnie Monroe will lead this effort.
6. The association intends to explore hosting an EN reunion activity and a Founder's Day event in the near future.
7. The association will meet again Friday, Jan. 2, with dinner out at an area restaurant, followed by a meeting and gathering at the EN house in Jacksonville.

That's about it for now. Enthusiasm is high, and we're looking forward to an even larger turnout Jan. 2.

About tomorrow

The interest meeting is tomorrow. I thought I'd throw up the basic details by way of reminder.

What: Jacksonville-area alumni association interest meeting

Why: For a town its size, Jacksonville has a large number of alumni Sinfonians who identify strongly with the fraternity. The fraternity's strategic plan calls far an increase in the number and quality of alumni associations and for more opportunities for alumni to be actively involved. We think this can work here.

When: Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008, 6:30 p.m. (following the SEC title game).

Where: 812 12th Ave. NE, Jacksonville.
Directions from Hwy. 21 at the alumni house:
1. Turn at the alumni house onto Roebuck Waters Street (toward the 1st Baptist Church).
2. Go straight through the 4-way stop and past the church.
3. Turn left at the next stop sign onto 2nd Avenue.
4. Take an immediate right onto 7th Street.
5. Drive 10 blocks and then turn left onto 12th Avenue.
6. Drive two blocks. House is on the right, at the corner of 12th Avenue and 9th Street. That's it pictured below:

What to bring: Anything you' like to drink or share, a notebook & pen if you want to jot things down. We'll have some light food (chips & rotel dip, etc.) but bring anything else you'd like to eat or share.

See you there.

Turnout looking good

The main means of communication with likely attendees for Saturday's event has so far been this event page at Facebook. In all, 10 brothers (including myself) have said they're coming, with another four saying "maybe." Adding in three others I've talked with brings the total to 13 confirmed, 17 if all the maybes show.

We've so far not taken one of the steps the fraternity's Alumni Association Resource Guide suggests for forming a group: sending out an invitation to all mailable alumni in the area. We'll probably take that step eventually for a later event, but Jacksonville may be a special case in the fraternity. As evidenced by the large and swift response to the plans for a meeting, there's a large, pretty close-knit core of alumni brothers in this town. That's part of why we think an association would work so well here.

Saturday firming up

I've had four positive responses so far in less than a day since I sent out about 20 messages asking brothers if they'd like to gather on Saturday. That's a pretty good rate, and I expect to hear from a few more before long. I also have phone calls to make to a few fellas who aren't so into the Internet thing.

I've remembered that the SEC title game is this Saturday, and a lot of guys probably will be watching that. It'll wrap up probably around 6:30, so I guess we can plan to start gathering then, and get down to business at 7 p.m. Also, if anyone wants to get here early to watch some or all of the game, come on over.

Feel free to leave some comments below if you have questions or want to add something.

Interest meeting Saturday?

We're tentatively planning to meet at the Cunningham house in Jacksonville on Dec. 6 to socialize and to formalize our plans to petition Lyrecrest as an alumni association.

Are you an alumni Sinfonian in good standing in the Jacksonville, Alabama area? Can you make it? We'll see you there.

Other Alumni Associations

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Alumni Associations have been spreading rapidly across the country in the last few years. So what are they? What do they do? The fraternity leaves that largely up to each group. From the fraternity's Alumni Association Guide [pdf]:

Within the broad parameters of alumni associations, there is no one template. The character and evolution of alumni associations will vary according to the ages and inclinations of its members, as well as the age of the association itself. All alumni associations are expected to have a minimum number of members, meet regularly, pay an annual administrative fee, and have both a love of Fraternity and of music. Alumni associations are important in creating support for local chapters, fulfilling the fraternal needs of alumni reconnecting alumni to the national Fraternity, and providing financial support to the Fraternity as well. Yet each association will decide the form of the organization as well as the interests of the group. Some associations will be more musical, while others will be more social in nature.

Associations now exist in more than a dozen places around the country. If you're not in our neck of the woods, why not join one of the groups below? Or, if there's not an association in your neighborhood, consider starting one. Click here for a Google Map of all associations and groups interested in forming them.

Join us

Are you a Sinfonian living in or near the Alabama counties of Calhoun, Etowah, Cherokee, Cleburne, Randolph, Clay or Talladega? Then you should join the Northeast Alabama Alumni Association.

Membership is open to alumni in good standing of any collegiate chapter. You can tailor your level of involvement to suit your preference and your available time. Just want to hang out every now then? That's fine. Want to contribute your time, talents or treasure to our projects? That's great. Want to get involved as a leader helping to further the fraternity's ideals? Excellent!

We normally meet the first weekend of each month, sometimes at an area restaurant or at a member's home. Check our Web site at nealsinfonia.org for details on where and when we're meeting each month. E-mail ben.cunningham -a-t- nealsinfonia.org for more information.

About us

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity was founded in 1898 at the New England Conservatory of Music when a group of thirteen young men under the guidance of Ossian Everett Mills (at left) met “to consider the social life of the young men students of that institution” and “to devise ways and means by which it might be improved.”

Since then Sinfonia has grown into a nationwide fraternity with hundreds of chapters at colleges around the country and thousands of Sinfonians committed to the fraternity's object, "for the development of the best and truest fraternal spirit; the mutual welfare and brotherhood of musical students; the advancement of music in America and a loyalty to the Alma Mater."

A portion of the fraternity's motto is "Once a Sinfonian, Always a Sinfonia." In recent years, a renewed commitment to that charge has led to the formation of Alumni Associations as a way for brothers to continue their commitment to the fraternity's ideals after their college years.

The Northeast Alabama Alumni Association, or "NEAL Sinfonia" for short, was chartered March 9, 2009 by 19 brothers who are graduates of various collegiate chapters. We meet regularly to enjoy each others' company, and we're working to find ways to support music in our community.

If you're a Sinfonian living in or near our corner of Alabama, we'd love to have you join us. Our meetings are normally the first weekend of each month. Check our Web site at nealsinfonia.org to get details of each meeting as they're announced.