In honor of Founder's Day and the beginning of our 115th year of brotherhood, we present one of the earliest known histories of the Sinfonia Club from Brother Ralph Howard Pendleton, Alpha 1898, Secretary of Alpha Chapter and later Supreme Historian.
Sinfonia Club. Secretary’s Annual Report – Feb’y 26, 1900
Originally transcribed by Past National President and Past National Historian Dr. T. Jervis Underwood, Gamma Theta (North Texas) ’54, and edited by National President and Past National Historian John A. Mongiovi, Upsilon Psi (South Florida) ’94.
As yet, so far as I know there has been no Secretary’s Report rendered the Club since its organization. At the annual meeting a few weeks since certain facts were not clearly enough known to us to attempt a full report to date, but at the present meeting it is possible to relate some of the Club’s brief history, and offer a few new suggestions, perhaps, which may give those less frequently seen at our meetings a clearer idea of our excuse for existing and incidentally our object in so doing.
In September 1898, the “Old Boys” of New England Conservatory under the Chairmanship of Bro. Geo. Dunham, welcomed, as was their annual custom, the “New Boys” into their midst with an impromptu reception. There were in the neighborhood of 50 or 60 men present, (as ice cream was served that evening), and the idea of forming a permanent organization of men students was discussed. The plan met with such general approval that on October 25th 1898 such an organization was effected under the name of the “Sinfonia Club of the New England Conservatory of Music,” and a constitution was adopted.
There were 13 active charter members, and four officers viz. F.L. Stone, Pres., Fred L. Briggs, V. Pres., S.F. Stupp, Sec’y, and O.E. Mills, Treas. Meetings were held twice a month and at the end of the first year there were some 30 active members, and the prospects from the Conservatory Management of the use of a special room for Club purposes. This room became an actual fact in September 1899 and steps were at once taken toward its furnishings.
At the present writing about $250 has been expended to this end and an attractive Club Home at least, results. We are deeply indebted to our friends who patronized our entertainments – but much more so to some officers, and Faculty members, of the Conservatory who have aided us with their time and money. I await the club’s command to thank some of these persons.
There are 67 Sinfonians in existence for death has claimed none thus far. We have 47 still in Boston, also 5 Honorary members in this city, one member in Florence, Italy, and 14 removed to their various homes throughout the United States. The objects of our organization are Sociability, Fellowship, and the advancement of our art, which is still very young in America. We are not a one sided organization either because the Library side is well represented from the School of Oratory and Elocution within our walls.
I have never heard of a Male Students Musician Fraternity; ours is not a College Greek Letter Fraternity nor a Beneficiary Society although we have a Beneficiary Loan Department. I do not think there is any question as to the future direction our organization should take. No doubt it will outlive the room it now occupies and the building in which it was born. Should another year dawn and find it with 100 members I believe it is our duty to expand, and form “chapters” or “charges” if possible, in the various musical institutions throughout the United States, such as exist among College Fraternities and that our organization shall be in the years to come a Male Students Musician Fraternity par excellence.
Ralph Howard Pendleton, Sec’y