The Many Faces of the Ideal Chapter

by Christine Beason, National VPCM, KKΨ |

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0099FF;”]K[/dropcap]appa Kappa Psi is currently made up of 209 active chapters, each on a campus with unique and diverse needs.  Every band program we serve has different needs, so every chapter should have a different focus.  There are many right ways to serve your bands, and many portraits of outstanding chapters.

The “Do Everything” Chapter

Some chapters serve concert bands, marching band, pep band, jazz band, and the music department in general.  Sometimes these are larger chapters with the personnel to handle such a large load, but often these are chapters at very small schools where they are the only student organization.  The impact these chapters have on their band is very important, and can help to energize the entire program.  These chapters need to stay in constant contact with the Director of Bands in order to stay on top of the massive workload.  Brothers in the smaller versions of these chapters can sometimes feel overwhelmed and should remember to focus on personal needs in addition to the chapter’s needs.

Brothers from the Do Everything chapters have in the past expressed frustrations about the ability to strive for the highest.  They argue that they are already doing everything, how can they possibly strive for more?  These chapters should not be afraid to re-evaluate existing programs to determine the effectiveness or efficiency.  Maybe some programs are outdated and can be eliminated.  Maybe other activities can be modified to include a greater number of beneficiaries.  Maybe replacing a fundraiser will bring in more money.  There is no such thing as a totally perfect system, and there is always room to strive.

Concert/ Jazz Band Chapters

There are chapters at schools that do not have marching bands, and there are chapters that are not needed to serve the marching band.  It may seem that these chapters have an easy job, but those chapters that strive to go above and beyond have limitless possibilities.  The outstanding chapters that only serve concert bands often bring in guest artists or conductors, sponsor multiple practice sessions for the chapter and for the band, fund banquets or other socials, commission new works, host reading sessions for music majors to conduct, and many other events.  These chapters are focused on making their concert bands better!

Marching Band Chapters

Brothers from these chapters sometimes express frustration that they feel pressure from national leadership to be more than just a marching band fraternity.   The national leadership recognizes there are schools and directors that want KKPsi to only serve the marching band.  Some schools with multiple student organizations have to fairly divide service opportunities.  These chapters are incredibly busy in the fall with many necessary and critical tasks.  The spring is less busy, but provides many opportunities for chapters to go above and beyond.  These chapters have endless uniform repair and cleaning, instrument repair and cleaning, and fundraising for new instruments or other marching needs.   These chapters can also assist with recruiting, organization of auditions, and greeting new students.  Some chapters spend time in the spring learning the proper method for lining a field in order to help keep the practice field lined!

“No School of Music” Chapters

There are chapters at schools that do not offer music degrees.  The chapters at these schools are often “do everything” chapters, but have the added challenge of inspiring those around them to increase musical techniques and skills in the absence of music faculty breathing down the necks of the music majors.   A brother does not have to be a music major to be an outstanding bandmember!

“Student Run Band” Chapters

Some universities leave the athletic bands in the hands of the students.   The chapters at these schools tend to focus only on the marching and pep bands, but are absolutely critical to the success of these ensembles!  These outstanding chapters do all the usual services for athletic bands, but may also have administrative duties, including inventory of all equipment, personnel information, attendance, and scheduling.

Commonalities

Most chapters fit some part or mixture of parts of the above descriptions.  No matter what category the chapter may fit, all outstanding chapters have a few common traits.

  • Always striving to do more.  Outstanding chapters never rest on past accomplishments and are always looking for new projects or events.
  • Service.  Outstanding chapters never shirk duties.
  • Brotherhood.  The brothers in outstanding chapters may not always get along, but always treat each other with respect.
  • Musicianship.  Many brothers from outstanding chapters sit in principal chairs or are section leaders, but even the brothers that may play third parts practice on a regular basis.
  • Leadership.  Brothers of outstanding chapters understand they are ALWAYS representing Kappa Kappa Psi, even if they are not wearing letters.  These brothers conduct themselves with dignity and respect, and adhere to the code of conduct.
  • Communication with the Director.  The Director of Bands is the best source to determine the major needs of the band program.
  • Communication/ participation outside the chapter.  Chapters that are in contact with brothers from other schools or districts have access to ideas and solutions from chapters in similar situations.
  • Full participation.  All brothers of an outstanding chapter carry their share of the workload.

There are many successful ways to serve your band program, and many types of chapters have made huge impacts on their band programs.  An outstanding chapter can have any face, but they all have certain qualities in common.  The bottom line is to make sure your chapter is serving the unique needs of your band program.  Always strive!

 

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