Throughout the Fraternity's history, members have been writing, performing and recording music. The marketing and distribution of their music has always been on the shoulders of the individual to get their own name into the public eye. The hurdles of radio playlists, corporate record labels costs of touring have made it more and more difficult for different genres of music to get any sort of air time. Thanks to the digital age, Sinfonians now have a common place to share their music - Sinfonian Radio.
Sinfonian Radio was launched in May 2007 by Tommy House, Iota Nu (Troy) '93. The station has a live stream over the internet and is completely automated by software. The site is based on a free program called PHPNuke, an "off the shelf" program which was tweaked for the site.
House majored in broadcasting with a minor in music. After a longtime job at local movie theater chain, he began working for his family's furniture company. When the company realized they were paying too much to have a website, House decided that he could create a site at a lower price. Although he had no formal training in web design, he began building up clients and started his own business.
"It's a nice way to gain some pocket change,” he said. “It doesn't pay all the bills, but it helps."
Looking for a way to connect musically with the Fraternity, he used his web experience to create Sinfonian Radio. Although the site is free for anyone to listen, House created the site to encourage participation by registered listeners. By rating individual songs and writing articles, a registered listener can gain points that can be used to request any song listed on the playlist.
Members can also gain points by personal donations to help cover the royalty and maintenance fees that come with the site. Even though House will try to get permission of the artist to play his music, he is not required to do so. The site pays a monthly royalty fee based on amount of people who listen and the length of time that they spend listening.
"Right now, the royalty rate is about $35 a month. After this article is published, it could explode," House laughed.
All music on Sinfonian Radio must be written and/or performed by a Sinfonian. With over 750 songs and 40 artists currently listed, Sinfonian Radio is always looking to expand its playlist. The station will play any genre of music as long as it isn't vulgar. As a result, artists such as Chicago (the horn players are all Sinfonians) and Maynard Ferguson Xi Chi (Tennessee Tech) '76 can be heard side by side with Luciano Pavarotti, Beta Tau (Miami) '78, Burl Ives, Alpha Chi (Tulsa) '53 and Andy Griffith, Alpha Rho (North Carolina) '45, as well as other up-and-coming artists who are still making a name for themselves.
According to House, Sinfonian Radio is a way for the brotherhood to hear the music that is being created by its own members. With an unlimited resource in regards to the amount of music that can be stored and played on the site, there is no way to know how large the site could become. House concluded, "The sky is the limit. There's got to be a lot of brothers who have music and I'd love to hear it. I'm sure others would love to hear it too."
(Source: Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia "Sinfonian Resonance": http://www.tpg.cc/phimualpha/1207.htm)"
PHI MU ALPHA SINFONIA
FRATERNITY OF AMERICA
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia is the world’s oldest and largest secret national fraternal society in music. Sinfonia was born on October 6, 1898, at the New England Conservatory in Boston, when a group of thirteen young men under the guidance of Ossian Everett Mills "to consider the social life of the young men students of that institution [and] to devise ways and means by which it might be improved." Sinfonia became a national fraternity on October 6, 1900, with the admission of a group of men at the Broad Street Conservatory in Philadelphia. For over a century, Sinfonians in nearly every field of study and professional endeavor have transformed music in America. The opportunity of becoming a Sinfonian is offered to as many men as possible who, through a love for music, can assist in the fulfillment of the Fraternity’s Object and ideals either by adopting music as a profession, or by working to advance the cause of music in America.
(Source: Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia - About Us http://www.sinfonia.org/aboutus.asp)