By Sisi Chen
Kappa Kappa Psi matters. This message resonated clearly the moment I stepped into the workshop, “Values Matter” led by Jack Lee, our current national president. We know KKPsi matters, but why does it matter? Jack split us into small groups while we brainstormed about the values of KKPsi. Each group shared their values of KKPsi, but our values shared a similar platform: looking beyond our diversity. We are unified through music to continue our ambition which drives us to dedicate our time toward promoting bands. This was the first workshop I attended at National Convention, so naturally I felt nervous about sharing my ideas with a group of total strangers, but that fear soon melted away because I realized that it did not matter where these people came from or who they were. We all came here for the same reason, and that was what mattered.
One of the recurring themes at National Convention revolved around music. Christine Beason, the immediate past president, led the workshop “Musicianship as Service.” We were reminded that above all else, we are musicians. Creating service projects around music distinguishes our fraternity apart from other service organizations. The highest service we can provide to Kappa Kappa Psi is by participating in a band program. There are chapter-wide efforts that could cultivate better musicianship such as having chapter practice time. This is fellowship. Too often, we neglect to practice because we have other obligations like work and academia, so what does that say about how much we value music? Music is what brought us together. It’s what we love, and we should show it.
One of my favorite aspects of attending National Convention is experiencing the music. We had the pleasure of having the performances from the NIB, Boston Brass, and the Lexington Brass Band featuring Patrick Sheridan. They remind us to continue our passion with music. Hearing them play reminded me of the joys I felt listening to music when I didn’t have exams or labs to worry about. Every breath, every movement, every emotion, the Boston Brass performers did in synchronicity. I believe their chemistry with each other plays a major role in the sound they produce. The dynamic of this group is as unique as the timbre of their instruments and that’s what makes their music so enjoyable. Music is what I turn to when I am happy, sad, or stressed. The musicality in the Fraternity Hymn that we sang at the end of the banquet gave me goosebumps. I couldn’t shake the feeling off even long after the Hymn ended. In a room full of brothers and sisters, my appreciation for the Hymn and the Affirmation deepened. Our voices filled the ballroom with pride and passion. If that wasn’t the moment of unconditional love for every brother and sister in Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, then I don’t know what would constitute such a feeling.
Aside from the workshops, the rest of the National Convention involves elections. This was unlike anything I have ever seen. The election process involves two main components: separate sessions and district caucuses. In separate sessions, delegates from every chapter gather to voice any issues or questions as presented by the national council. This was the time where the jurisdiction committee proposed any and all amendments and/or additions to the constitution. There was one proposal that took HOURS of discussion because it would change the current nomination process. Keep in mind that each district has already spent hours discussing the proposal in their respective caucuses. In the next biennium, there will not be a nominations committee of students, instead, there will be a pre-convention nominations committee which consists of one member from the Board of Trustees, up to four district officers, up to three district governors, up to two alumni from the Alumni Association, and up to three members of the fraternity. This committee would conduct interviews with candidates. A slate of national council candidates would be released 30 days prior to the start of the convention. We got to the point of someone saying, “I move to amend the amended amendment,” after so many different people voiced issues with the proposal. Jurisdiction changes are tedious and painful, but they are necessary. To some people, they will never understand why a group of bandos would gather and talk about the constitution. We do this because we are passionate. We care about making changes that would impact our organization. Kappa Kappa Psi is growing every day. What worked yesterday might not work today.