By Daniel Johanson
Mu Phi Epsilon — which put together a fundraiser for the current foundation of their chapter on Valentine’s Eve — is a music-focused fraternity at Roosevelt University.
The fraternity is comprised of students interested in music, and the performance featured singers and pianists of the informal and formal spheres. The theme centered around Valentine’s Day and was in the format of a cabaret — the performance style that is based in the jazz tradition.
Meant to be treated informally, cabaret allows performers to open up, show a variety of emotional colors and talk directly with the audience.
“It’s a great opportunity for classical musicians to let their hair down and relax,” said Teaira Burge, an initiate of the fraternity and a classical singer. “I was nervous because this isn’t a style that I normally get to sing in during my studies.”
The evening was not without its difficulties. Performers used to the formal nature of the classical music environment found it was difficult to know just how to prepare for something so casual.
“Preparing music at the last minute is always a challenge, though it’s one I enjoy,” said Bob Logan, a first-year graduate piano student that served as one of the collaborative for the evening. “The world of classical music is incredibly fast-paced, serious and competitive, and low-key events like this are always a welcome change of pace.”
This is the chapter’s first formal event and portrays the group’s talent.
“We are currently reinstating the chapter after over 20 years of deactivation,” said Pamela Torrey, vice president of MPE. “We are looking to expand our membership, collegiate presence,and community outreach. This fundraiser is hopefully the first of many community events we hope to have in the next year.”
Torrey and current president Erica Wilens had the idea to get this chapter running because the two were heavily involved with the chapters at their previous schools.
Performances of this nature benefit the entirety of CCPA and the local Chicago community by allowing the art form to receive more publicity, and to promote the study and enjoyment of the music.
“I think CCPA has a large community presence,” Torrey said. “I think that we can increase our presence even more by hosting more events off campus where we expose the public to what we are doing at school. I think more events like this will lead to getting more people to come to CCPA concerts and operas.”
Both Torrey and Wilens have strong interest in getting more students involved with their chapter.
“MPE is a coed professional music fraternity,” Torrey said. “That means that we accept anyone who has taken Music Theory I and is not a member of another music-specific fraternity or sorority.”
The group strives for the growth of the community and itself, but also serves as a fun social group for those who have a passion for music. Events like this also serve as opportunities to strengthen the relationship between audience and performer, and to provide venues for both parties to experience musical expression.
Anyone interested in MPE can email firstname.lastname@example.org.