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10 February 2010

Fewer songs with a heart

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Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia has long been known for its ‘singing Valentines’ offered on Valentine’s Day at the University of Miami. This year, however, these valentines will be limited. Due to Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday, the president of Phi Mu Alpha, junior Luke Cramer, felt it was best for his musical fraternity to hold off on the normal extensive advertising of these valentines.

“The fact that Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year made it kind of awkward because Friday seemed too early to do it and relationships might get a bit testy if the gift comes the day after,” Cramer said.

Don’t worry though, the scheme has not been completely done away with, because of UM’s many enthusiastic fans of the singing Valentines and their reputation. The beloved paper-mâché heart that marches into classrooms and delivers a song of the customer’s choice to their valentine in harmony, with other Phi Mu Alpha brothers will still be made.

A few valentines are planned for delivery already, including one for President Donna Shalala, whose birthday is actually on Valentine’s Day.

“Music is one of the most amazing gifts a person can give, so we’re still offering the singing Valentines, just not as many,” Cramer said.

And music is exactly what Phi Mu Alpha plans to give audiences Monday, Feb. 15 at the Gusman Hall during their wind ensemble performance. They have long awaited the chance to play a Gusman Hall; it is a hard place to reserve, especially on a night so close to Valentine’s Day.

This concert has been planned entirely by the members of Phi Mu Alpha and aims to showcase a majority of the Frost Music School’s students, including the music organizations of Sigma Alpha Iota, a women’s fraternity, and Tau Beta Sigma, the band honor society. The participants have been organizing the event since the beginning of last semester. The concert will also feature the three-movement composition piece “Portraits of War,” written entirely by Victor Gonzalez, a senior studying percussion.

Assistant dean of the music school and advisor to Phi Mu Alpha, Ken Moses, views the concert as an opportunity for music students to express what they’ve learned outside of the classroom.

“The wind ensemble offers a wonderful way to give students a chance to put ownership on something that would be entirely theirs,” Moses said.

The majority of the music at the concert will be American- themed. Phi Mu Alpha has contributed many of their resources to the upcoming wind ensemble concert which, according to Cramer, accounts for the year-long hiatus of the singing Valentines.

“We’ve been practicing a lot for the concert and haven’t had as much time to dedicate to the singing Valentines because of it. It’s hard to find a day that everyone can get together and rehearse, so imagine having to find a day where enough people can perform singing Valentines,” Moses said.

If you’re one of the fans of the singing Valentines that can’t wait until next year, Cramer suggests e-mailing him to set something up for one of the limited spaces available this year at l.cramer@umiami.edu.

Colleen Dourney may be contacted at cdourney@themiamihurricane.com.

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