The History of the Boston Alumnae Chapter
Boston Alumnae Chapter (BAC) was established on November 5, 1948 when 14 alumnae became Charter Members. They were officially installed as a chapter on November 20, 1948. BAC immediately established relations with Lambda Chapter at the New England Conservatory of Music and in 1955 the Alumnae Chapter participated in the installation of Gamma Alpha Chapter at Boston University. Epsilon Zeta, was installed in 1968 at Boston Conservatory.
In 1969, BAC inaugurated its own radio series broadcast from the radio station WERS-FM. A year later the chapter presented its first TV program, Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti. It was shown over WGBH- TV Channel 2 and subsequently purchased by National Education Television for showing throughout the country. Its efforts with the college chapters in radio programs were recognized with national awards for 13 years.
BAC has received several other awards including the National Yearbook award, the Phi Province Alumnae Chapter Achievement Award (numerous times), and the American Music Concert Program Award (1975-1976). They have also received the National Alumnae Chapter Achievement Award and the Alumnae Service Award multiple times.
1984-1985 was a landmark year for the Chapter. The Phi Province Conference held at Regis College featured Donna Roll in a Benefit Concert for SAI Philanthropies, Inc. That year a joint concert was presented by members of our chapter and the Mu Phi Epsilon Boston Alumni Chapter. In the summer the chapter entertained the National Executive Board at a reception and dinner at Regis College, at which time the chapter was presented the 1984- 1985 National Alumnae Chapter Achievement Award from Patricia Stenberg, National President.
The 40th Anniversary of BAC was celebrated with "Womensong of Massachusetts," a concert showcasing some of our fine Massachusetts women composers and performers. The chapter applied for and was granted monies from the Natick Arts Lottery Council in order to bring music informally to nursing homes and received the MetroWest SMILES Award for Operations Music - a program that brought music into area hospitals.
At the National Convention held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in August of 1990, BAC received the Alumnae Service Project Award for chapters having over 50 members. This award was granted for our nine-week summer concert series at the historic Old North Church. At this convention the chapter was honored to have a national officer elected from its membership for the first time in its history when Geraldine Barretto-Sims was elected as the National Vice President, Alumnae Chapters. In October of 1990 the Boston Alumnae Chapter again hosted Province Day at Regis College and this exciting event was enriched with the presence of Dr. Mary I. Arlin, Geraldine Barretto-Sims, Elfrieda Hiebert, Robert DiDomenica, William Joseph Schwann, Ron Della Chiesa, and Randolph Emerson. They continued the year with nursing home concerts in fulfillment of the grant requirements.
In 1993 the chapter was honored by Arlene Jospe Veron’s appointment to the National Executive Board as Chairman of SAI Philanthropies, INC., a position she served until 2006.
BAC hosted Phi Province Day in November of 1996. Then, in 1997-98 BAC celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a concert series that began in November of 1997 with a vocal recital, presented by Ruth Sieber, National Executive Secretary. They also continued to present concerts to area nursing homes. In 1998-99 the celebration of its 50th year of Incorporation continued with an organ recital presented by chapter members in September of 1998. It is also important to note with due pride, that its Province Officer, Semenya McCord was awarded the Diamond Sword of Honor and that the chapter received The Regional Alumnae Achievement Award at the National Convention in Denver, Colorado.
BAC focused on strengthening its relationship with the college chapters in 1999-2000. They hosted a college-alumnae picnic in the fall, awarded a scholarship to an Epsilon Zeta member, attended and participated in initiation ceremonies at Epsilon Zeta and Eta Mu, and hosted the Senior Farewell for Epsilon Zeta at the end of April. All of its hard work paid off when BAC won the 1999 Alumnae Chapter Achievement Award for Phi B Province.
The 2000 National Convention in Dallas was a time of mixed emotions for the Chapter. Geraldine Barretto-Sims reached her term limit as National Vice President, Alumnae Chapters. They were saddened to see her productive and successful term come to an end, but also very happy to have her back as one of its own active members. The members of BAC were excited when former chapter president Martha Ebel was elected Phi B Province Officer and when current chapter president Michelle Yaiser was honored with the Doctoral Dissertation Grant.
In the 2000-01 year, BAC affiliated five new active members. They also added a number of new associate members to its numbers. Perhaps the "newest" membership activity BAC did was initiating its first patroness member, as alumnae chapters received approval from NEB to initiate patroness members. In March they presented an American Musicale at St. Mary's Hall at Boston College.
BAC continued working closely with Eta Mu and Epsilon Zeta. In an effort to encourage the Epsilon Zeta chapter, many of members of BAC donated time, skills, and money to present each Epsilon Zeta member with chapter guards and homemade SAI sweatshirts.
The next few years were difficult as several of BAC’s cherished sisters moved away or passed away. 2005-2006 was a very busy year; while their numbers were diminished, the chapter managed to become more efficient, effective and productive within the chapter. The members had a lot of fun working on a Phea Phlam project for convention and they even made enough to give a substantial gift to Philanthropies as well as cover a significant portion of operating expenses .
BAC was presented with an Alumnae Seed Money Grant for the National Bold Notes Project in 2010-2011. The grant money was used to purchase the Finale computer program which allowed the chapter to transcribe music for the visually impaired.
Things began to move forward again for BAC in the 2011- 2012 year as Michelle Schultz was elected President. She, with the executive board, focused on recruiting sisters who were recent graduates in the Boston Area. Additionally, that year they hosted a successful Phi A & B Province Conference at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Framingham, MA. In addition to SAI Ritual, workshops, and an SAI Musicale, the conference also included a performance by Longwood Opera.
In 2012-2013 the chapter continued to grow and affiliated another four new members. They also took a special road trip to visit a member of the chapter in Wallingford, CT - Dorothy Greenough. Eta Mu joined them for the visit and even had some performers in the Musicale that was presented for the community there. BAC was honored that Arlene Jospe Veron was awarded the “Outstanding Professional Program of the Year 2012-2013” from the Professional Fraternity Organization for her work with the Bold Notes Project.
2018's National Convention was held in Scottsdale, Arizona. 8 sisters of the Boston Alumnae Chapter were in attendance, and the National Executive Board awarded our fraternity's highest honor, the Dorothy Whinery Special Leadership Award, to our own Arlene Jospe Veron. It was a fantastic celebration of music, service, and sisterhood.
The Boston Alumnae Chapter continues to have the great pleasure of initiating exceptional musicians from the Boston area as Distinguished members. They strive to produce an event calendar of quality lectures, concerts, and musicales to enrich our musical community.