Over the weekend, a senseless tragedy struck once again, this time in Charlottesville, VA. It is yet another tragedy fueled by hatred, extremism, and an inability to see beyond our differences as human beings, and this is a narrative that is far too familiar in our society. As we have before, today Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity and Sinfonians everywhere weep for the victims and with their families and loved ones, and we stand firm in our resolve to win the world to Harmony.
As I reflect on these horrific events and the place of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity in the broad scope of society, I am reminded of the lesson to Brothers that Sinfonia and the ideal of Harmony is to be our weapon against Evil in this world. To the extent that the Fraternity is a microcosm of society, we will have differences among our members–differences in opinions, philosophy, political affiliation, religious beliefs, and the like. But, in this we can be united: we denounce hatred, bigotry, and racism in all its forms and the KKK, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and all other hate groups that promulgate these destructive viewpoints and beliefs.
Just over a year ago, I wrote the following message in response to the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL and while it saddens me greatly to have occasion to repeat them, the words remain true today: “The Fraternity was founded upon the ideals of Music and Brotherhood and Sinfonians are charged to use the Power of Music for the uplift of mankind. Now is a time for action, be it simple or complex, great or small. As Leonard Bernstein wrote, ‘This will be our reply to violence: To make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.’ Let us honor the victims of this violent act and comfort those who they leave behind with our Music and with our lives, ever striving to Sing as One.”