SHU Band Fraternity Hosts College Bands from Across the Northeast

News Story: February 1, 2009

Marcus Wyche, left, President of the Northeast District Alumni Association (NEDAA) of Kappa Kappa Psi, spoke to all in attendance at the band convention.  Photo by Zack Lane

On Valentine’s Weekend, Sacred Heart University’s National Honorary Band Fraternity hosted 250 university band members from across the Northeast.  Students representing chapters from Boston University, Syracuse, Marist, SUNY Buffalo, University of New Hampshire, University of Rhode Island, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts, and University of Connecticut, among others, joined Sacred Heart University students for the overnight assembly.

Members of Kappa Kappa Psi’s Lambda Nu chapter welcomed their counterparts from schools across the region. They participated in sessions ranging from fundraising, to leadership, to preserving band history.  Members also spent time sharing ideas about how to improve their respective bands, and exploring ways for each chapter to help its program grow and improve. Guests who arrived on Friday night camped out inside the Pitt Center, a fairly familiar practice for college students active in drum corps units.

According to Keith Johnston, SHU’s director of bands, the participants came away impressed with the maturity of the University’s fraternity, which has about 20 active members. In all, some 80 Sacred Heart students are active in several University bands. Johnston explained that the fraternity actively supports the activities of the band by providing logistical support such as setting up canopies, covering bleachers, and providing water for participants.  They are also regularly engaged in community outreach through small ensemble performances at area hospitals, and by teaching young band students at Bridgeport’s Music and Arts Center for the Humanities, and Bridgeport’s PAL Buccaneers Junior Drum and Bugle Corps.

With over 150 chapters located throughout the world, Kappa Kappa Psi was founded in 1919 and has more than 50,000 band members who have had the privilege of being a member, including such notables as John Philip Sousa.  The Sacred Heart chapter was founded in 2005 and has been an active participant in district, regional and national fraternity events.  The 2009 precinct meeting is the first large-scale event that the SHU chapter has hosted.