In my last post, I talked about my marching band family. The entire band is like a weird little family that just always has something to talk about, and usually gets along. For my experience in the bands, my close-knit family was a little smaller and a bit different than the band family as a whole.
This family just fell into my lap, and I never knew how big of a deal they would end up being to me. I came to band camp my freshman year and saw people wearing all these weird greek letters. Thinking to all the movies I’ve seen about college, I assumed it was just another fraternity and sorority that all these people happened to belong to outside of band. Turns out, they happened to belong to the organizations because of band, and I was about to find out why.
The brothers and sisters, or my peers in the Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma lettered shirts, were a loud bunch, but fun to be around. They were always setting up chairs, making sure we knew where we were going on campus, and made sure we all had a friend to eat lunch with. Even being an eighteen year old, now living on my own, in college, I was still afraid of eating lunch alone. It seems silly, but knowing they were always inviting people to their table gives you that familial feeling, and one that really brings the band together.
All band camp long, we were doing activities like campus-wide scavenger hunts, game nights, campus tours and just hanging out. After rehearsing all day, I was always looking forward to whatever they had planned for that evening. Going home to sit in my room alone was almost as bad as eating lunch alone every day; and both the brothers and sisters made sure that I never had to do that.
All I really knew about them at first was that they existed and made me feel welcomed. Turns out, there are hundreds of chapters of both organizations all over the country. Kappa Kappa Psi had a much richer history than I had anticipated. Their purpose is the same at each school – to serve the bands and the school of music at their respective universities. Each chapter is unique and special, and to me, the Beta Psi chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi will always have a special meaning to my time at Kent State.
Our school was not the first one to come up with the idea of a band fraternity to serve the school of music. That actually happened at Oklahoma A&M, now known as Oklahoma State University, in their bands department. It was made up of ten founding fathers, and their sponsor, Dr. Bohumil Makovsky, in 1919. Dr. Makovsky was nicknamed “Boh”, was a 33rd degree mason, smoked a saxophone shaped pipe, and wore an uncrushed velvet bow-tie. These ten students, along with Boh, set out and successfully created the Alpha chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi.
Beta Psi’s History
This is where the national fraternity’s story starts. My chapter, the Beta Psi chapter, has a much later start in college band programs. February 25, 1951 was our installment date. Since that day, we have grown to 25+ strong and become a daily helping hand in the School of Music. We have gone from accepting only males, to opening up to accepting females as well, and by 1993 we had our first female president, Rose Murray. In 1967, 1977 and 1987, we hosted the North Central District North Block convention. We won the Governor’s Cup in 1999. The Governor’s Cup is essentially the award for the best chapter in the North Central District, so Beta Psi considered it a huge honor to receive, as all other chapters in the district would. In 2013, we won the Kenneth M. Corbett Most Improved Chapter Award at the National Convention. We have recently taken many steps to improve ourselves, and give our candidates a brighter chapter to step into every year.
Continuing my Journey
After learning all the history of the fraternity while going through the process of becoming an active member, I realized there was a lot more about the fraternity that couldn’t be taught on a piece of paper. We learned to work together as a team while serving the bands. We learned to live our life led by music as our most influential type of art. It is always with us, and will continue to be a part of our lives. Becoming close by serving the bands and supporting something we all love gives us a stronger bond, in my opinion.We also learned that our brothers may not be related to us by blood, but they will always be our family for as long as we live. I love my brothers, and the support system they give me is unlike anything I’ve ever had, and will ever have. That is the reason I cherish it now, and will continue to cherish it throughout my time here at Kent. I’ll remember the day I didn’t have to eat lunch alone, and know that for the rest of my time here, I’ll always be welcome at someone’s table.