Music and Medicine Moment on WHFC

Dr. Frank Sparandero hosts a live classical music program every Friday morning at WHFC 91.1 FM from Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland. On October 12, he gave the Fraternity a shout out during a “Music and Medicine Moment” segment of the program in honor of our recent 120-year celebration on October 6, 2018.  At the end of the segment, Sparandero shares that he is a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha and is glad that we work to uphold Ossian’s vision of uplifting mankind through music. Brother Sparandero is an alumnus of the Kappa Pi Chapter at a Manhattan College and was initiated in 1969. For more on WHFC check out

Music and Medicine Moment on WHFC
F. Sparandero
October 12, 2018

120 years of promoting American music: still carrying on the Dream

On October 6, 1898, Ossian Everett Mills founded the first society for music students in the United States at the New England Conservatory for Music in Boston.  First called the Sinfonia Club, this fledgling group later became known as Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.

Today, Phi Mu Alpha is a national music fraternity with active chapters in 44 states and the District of Columbia.  With more than 123,000 active and alumni members… dedicated to the advancement of music in America and to uplifting the spirit of mankind through music.

Some alumni members who have received annual awards for the highest recognition among musicians have included some of the greats in American music – Van Cliburn, Aaron Copland, Pablo Casals, Clark Terry, Maynard Ferguson, Leonard Slatkin, and Ellis Marsalis.

The early days of the Sinfonia groups focused on fellowship among music students but also on continuing Ossian Mills’ long-standing tradition of bringing good cheer and hope to patients in Boston’s hospitals.  Mills had started an annual tradition several years before forming the Sinfonia Group of bringing flowers to hospital patients at Christmas and Easter.  The nurses and patients would eagerly await his arrival each year, especially when he would bring along students who would sing carols and other popular tunes.

The son of a music teacher, Mills himself did not train as a musician but he was aware of the great power of music to change people’s outlook for the future.

He actually served in an administrative capacity at the Conservatory, acting as the bursar and a trustee for many years.

In 2018, the Mills Mission, as his Foundation Legacy is now called, continues to preserve the early traditions of Christmas and Easter hospital visits.  But the program has expanded greatly throughout the country as college and university chapters bring music through song to many residents of hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and Veterans’ facilities.

As the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity celebrates the 120th anniversary of its founding this month in 1898, I am proud to count myself as an alumnus of this wonderful organization.  Through music, we hope that all Americans – those who are dealing with illness and pain as well as those who seek a vision of hope – will hear the soothing sounds of wonderful music.  Truly then, Ossian Mills’ vision to uplift all mankind through music will be achieved!

This has been another Music and Medicine Moment on WHFC.  For more information on Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity and its mission and programs, please visit their website at