In 1947, a few men with a passion for singing came together to establish an acappella club at Texas State.
Almost 53 years later, the singing group has been transformed into Phi Mu Alpha, Texas State’s oldest active fraternity.
Kyle Day, music studies senior and president of Phi Mu Alpha, said tradition and music are still essential to the organization’s operations.
“It always had a lot of rich tradition—a lot of heavy musical references throughout it,” Day said. “It really grew and grew and grew throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, but the 2000s is when it became the largest it’s ever been.”
Day said the fraternity has recently been trying to become more involved with other campus organizations and members of the community.
“We even have the Serenading Sinfonians that go around to the local sororities and serenade them,” Day said.
Shawn Lewis, alumni relations officer and music director, said the core goal of the fraternity is to find a way to benefit all members of the group, regardless of their music experience.
“(The fraternity) takes anyone from any walk of life—even if they aren’t a music major,” Lewis said. “We can use music as a catalyst to help people.”
Day said the best part of being in the fraternity is the opportunity to meet a core group of friends.
“No matter where you go, you’re never going to be alone,” Day said.
Vincent Pena, fraternity education officer and music studies senior, said unlike other Greek music organizations on campus, Phi Mu Alpha does not have music-based requirements for new applicants.
“All we ask is that you’re willing to work and have a passion for music,” Pena said.
Pena said the brothers’ connection is different than that of most fraternities. He said the group’s focus on music helps foster an honest connection and bond between brothers.
“It’s more than just a hobby,” Pena said. “It’s a passion each one of us shares.”
Andre Jackson, music education senior, said he takes pride in being able to watch each one of his brothers mature as men during his four years.
“I’ve seen them grow into some of my best friends and some of the hardest-working men I’ve ever met,” Jackson said. “Every single day is another day to improve on brotherhood and to keep growing together.”
Day said many of the people he looked up to when he first got involved at Texas State were part of a fraternity, which pushed him to do his own research.
“It was the first chair trumpet player, my section leaders, all of my friends that I really got integrated into San Marcos with,” Day said.
Although he hopes to pursue a music career, Day said being a member of Phi Mu Alpha means a lot more to him then fostering connections.
“I guess music is life, obviously,” Day said. “But it’s creative expression. It’s an outlet for happiness.”
Lewis said the biggest message he has learned as a member of the fraternity is to keep loving the music and the people who make it even after he graduates.
“Keep your heart open to love,” Lewis said. “If you can do that with each other, then you can do that with someone else who needs that magnitude of love.”
Follow Taylor Thompson on Twitter @tthomp437.