The PODIUM (1947–Present)The Baton (1947)
Tau Beta Sigma, National Honorary Band Sorority (ΤΒΣ, colloquially referred to as TBSigma or TBS) is a co-educational service sorority.
The Sorority, headquartered at the historic Stillwater Station in Stillwater, Oklahoma, numbers over 3,500 active members in 145 active chapters, and over 40,000 alumni. Since 1946, Tau Beta Sigma has been recognized by Kappa Kappa Psi as "an equal affiliated organization with a parallel purpose, function and role in the college and university band setting", and the two organizations hold joint conventions. The two organizations contribute to a national publication called, The Podium. Tau Beta Sigma also administers an Alumni Association open to members and friends of both organizations.
Tau Beta Sigma was founded at Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) by Mrs. Wava Banes (Turner Henry). Due to corporation laws in the state of Texas at the time, however, the Texas Tech sisters surrendered their name, ritual, jewelry, constitution and Alpha Chapter designation in January 1946 to the local band sorority at Oklahoma State University. The Alpha chapter of Tau Beta Sigma was installed at OSU on March 26, 1946. This had the additional effect of locating both of the Alpha chapters of Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi at the same school. The founding members of the Alpha Chapter were: Rosemary Wright, Frances Martin, Ebba Jensen, Mary Belle Reece, Margaret Stanffer, Bernice Friend, and Maribeth Crist. Later, on May 4, 1946, the Beta chapter of Tau Beta Sigma was founded at Texas Tech.
The first practical idea for establishing a “band sorority” for college and university bandswomen came about during the spring semester of 1939. Wava Banes, along with two of her classmates (Emily SoRelle and Ruth La Nell Williams), took the idea to director D.O. Wiley of the Texas Technological College Band. The idea, patterned after Kappa Kappa Psi, began to come together the following semester and resulted in the campus organization Tau Beta Sigma. Much like the Fraternity, Tau Beta Sigma’s purpose at Tech was to serve as an honorary service and leadership recognition society, but was designed especially to provide the important additional social, educational, and other positive experiences needed by women in the band. The fledgling organization petitioned for recognition as an official campus organization from Dean of Women Mary Doak in spring 1940.
During these initial meetings of 1939–40, the women elected officers and began work on sorority crests and jewelry. The first officers of the organization were: president, Wava Banes; vice-president, Emily SoRelle; secretary, Lillian Horner; treasurer, Nita Furr; reporter, Barbara Griggs; and faculty sponsor, Mrs. D. O. Wiley. Miss SoRelle provided all of the sketch work on the emblem and shield that were adopted as the official emblems of the sorority. However, two of the founding members, Wava and Emily, graduated at the end of the spring 1940 term. As band enrollment changed due to participation in World War II, the girls of the Tech Bands continued to develop the fledgling organization. By October 1941, TBS had begun communications with the National Executive Secretary of Kappa Kappa Psi for assistance in becoming a national organization.
In June 1943, the Tech women petitioned the Grand Council of Kappa Kappa Psi to become an auxiliary part of the National Fraternity as an active chapter. Accepting the group under these circumstances, however, would have entailed a complete revision of the Kappa Kappa Psi constitution. With World War II in progress, it was unsure as to when the National Chapter would hold their next convention where the issue could be brought to debate. Rather than postponing action on the women’s request indefinitely, the women at Texas Tech approached A. Frank Martin, Grand Executive Secretary of Kappa Kappa Psi, in January 1946 to provide assistance in forming their own national organization, just as the National Fraternity had done in 1919. Until a national convention of Kappa Kappa Psi could be held and the matter clarified, Tau Beta Sigma could be considered the “sister organization” of the Fraternity. The Grand Council of Kappa Kappa Psi agreed that Tau Beta Sigma could share in all fraternal publications.
Through the assistance of A. Frank Martin, the ritual and National Constitution were completed. Likewise, the Balfour Company completed designs for the sorority badge and pledge pin. When applying for a national charter, D.O. Wiley and the girls at Texas Tech again turned to A. Frank Martin and offered to turn over their work and the name Tau Beta Sigma to the women’s band sorority at Oklahoma A&M, known as Kappa Psi, to submit the articles of incorporation in Oklahoma. Through this act, the chapter at Oklahoma A&M would become the Alpha Chapter. As part of this agreement, the chapter at Texas Tech, Beta, would be known as the founding location of the Sorority and the members stipulated that Wava Banes would be known as the Founder, the agreement also specified that the 1st National President would be from the Beta Chapter.
Similar women’s organizations at Colorado University and the University of Oklahoma submitted petitions to join with the Texas Tech and O.A.M.C. chapter prior to the official charter being received. On March 26, 1946, a charter was granted by the Department of State for the State of Oklahoma legally establishing “Tau Beta Sigma, National Honorary Band Sorority,” later amended to “Tau Beta Sigma.” On May 4 of 1946, the members of the Alpha Chapter traveled to Lubbock, Texas, to officially install the women of Texas Tech as the Beta Chapter of the National Sorority.
Since that time, Tau Beta Sigma has expanded to over 230 campuses across the United States.
In addition to the close relationship with Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma has historical and current relationships with several other organizations. One such relationship is with Sigma Alpha Iota, an international fraternity for women with a strong interest in music.
In 1999, joint statements were issued by the leadership of Tau Beta Sigma and Sigma Alpha Iota, along with Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, affirming "that there are equally important roles for Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Sigma Alpha Iota, Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma to fulfill on any campus where our chapters mutually exist, now or in the future. Each organization possesses a distinct mission and, as a result, fulfills a unique and vital role in the musical environment of a college campus" and that "A member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia or Sigma Alpha Iota can hold simultaneous membership in Kappa Kappa Psi or Tau Beta Sigma, subject to his/her own interests and the eligibility requirements of the other organizations. The same holds true for a member of Kappa Kappa Psi or Tau Beta Sigma with regard to membership in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia or Sigma Alpha Iota."
The Women in Music in Speaker Series has developed into the hallmark of the Sorority’s National Programs. An integral component of District and National Conventions, this program engages our members by providing the opportunity to meet women who work in various aspects of the music profession, including professional performers, music therapists, and educators. This program attempts to connect members with our mission statement by giving women in music a face.
Crescendo, a common musical term for a gradual increase in loudness, comes from the Italian and Latin words meaning “to grow or increase.” The “Crescendo” program addresses the Tau Beta Sigma purpose “To promote the existence and welfare of the collegiate bands and to create a respect and appreciation for band activities and achievements among the listening public everywhere.” The program’s purpose is to focus on the increase/growth of college band members by encouraging younger musicians to continue playing and performing as they make the transition to college.
Tau Beta Sigma promotes the empowerment of women in the band profession. In an effort to uphold this facet of the Sorority’s mission, the national leadership has developed the Bandswomen Networking Program. This program develops a place where women music educators can find a more specific niche in which to network and find other individuals in the band profession. The Tau Beta Sigma leadership will occasionally offer prompts for discussion, but most discussion is generated by the members of the group.
The National Intercollegiate Band (NIB) is a concert band, sponsored by honorary band fraternity and sorority Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, that performs every two years at the national convention of the two organizations. Organized in 1947, the NIB is the oldest national intercollegiate band in the United States and is open to all collegiate band members regardless of membership in Kappa Kappa Psi or Tau Beta Sigma.
Since 1953, Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma have commissioned a new work for wind band to be premiered at almost every National Intercollegiate Band concert. This program was begun to add to the wind repertoire under the direction of Grand President Hugh McMillen, and is the longest-running commissioning project in the United States. A number of these commissioned compositions have garnered national acclaim, including Robert Russell Bennett's Symphonic Songs for Band and Karel Husa's Concerto for Trumpet and Wind Orchestra. In the years following the start of the national commissioning program, local chapters have begun to commission new band works themselves, such as Frank Ticheli's An American Elegy, in memory of the Columbine High School massacre.
Originally located on the campus of Oklahoma State University, the National Headquarters of Tau Beta Sigma is housed in Stillwater Station, the retired Stillwater Santa Fe Depot in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The headquarters staff carries out the day-to-day operations of the Sorority.
The headquarters staff includes:
|National Executive Director||Steve Nelson|
|National Headquarters Office Manager and National Accountant||Diana Spiva|
|National Membership Services Coordinator||Debbie Morris|
|National Publications Manager/Multimedia Designer||Robert Bratcher|
|National Chapter and Colony Education Coordinator||TJ Tooley|
|National Alumni Historical and Development Coordinator||Aaron Moore|
The national officers of Tau Beta Sigma for the 2017-2019 biennium are:
|National President||Jonathan Markowski||Delta Delta|
|National Vice President for Colonization and Membership||Adrienne Rall||Theta Mu|
|National Vice President for Special Projects||Erika Pope||Theta Theta|
|National Vice President for Communication & Recognition||Siobhan Wilkes||Beta Zeta|
|National Vice President for Professional Relations||Kyle Glaser||National|
There are currently nine members of the Tau Beta Sigma Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees represents the Corporation in all matters and ensures the Corporation remains financially sound by understanding and directing the finances of the Trust.
Mrs. Janet West Miller, past National President and long-time activist on behalf of the Sorority is a Life Member of the Board of Trustees.
The current Board of Trustees members for Tau Beta Sigma are:
|Vice Chair||Lisa Croston||Alpha||2015-19|
|Trustee||Dr. Dawn Farmer||Omega||2015-19|
|Trustee||Carolyn McCambridge||Alpha Xi||2017-21|
|Trustee||Kimbi Sigle||Eta Omega||2015-19|
|Immediate Past National President||Dr. Kathryn Kelly||Eta Delta||2017-19|
|National President||Jonathan Markowski||Delta Delta||2017-19|
|Life Trustee||Janet West Miller||Iota||Life Member|
The Tau Beta Sigma Alumni Association was established to better benefit the goals and objectives of Tau Beta Sigma. The Tau Beta Sigma Alumni Association has worked to create worthwhile programming for alumni and friends of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Sorority.
The current Executive Council members for the Tau Beta Sigma Alumni Association are:
|Chair||Katie Rixon||Theta Theta||2015-19|
|Vice Chair and LAA Chair||Amanda Dickson||Gamma Nu||2015-19|
|Membership Chair||David Alexander||Gamma Omega||2017-21|
|Programs Chair||Chris Foster||Tau||2017-21|
|Communications Chair||René Mark||Beta Xi||2015-19|
|Finance Chair||Tyra Yiare||Eta Delta||2017-21|
|Doris Ragsdale Kochanek||Beta||1946-47|
|Suzanne Wetmore Larsen||Gamma||1947-49|
|Dorothy Allen Nichols||Delta||1949-51|
|Frances Martin Lumly||Alpha||1951-53|
|Norma Eiring Parrish||Beta||1953-55|
|Janet West Miller||Iota||1955-57|
|Paula Cox Reed||Upsilon||1957-59|
|Barbara Wilson Trautwein||Chi||1959-61|
|Sybil Ingle Snyder||Alpha Mu||1961-63|
|Josephine Walker Wayman||Alpha Alpha||1963-65|
|Mary Lu Brooks||Upsilon||1965-67|
|Patsy Drury Hejl||Beta Gamma||1967-69|
|Ladine Bennett Housholder||Omega||1969-71|
|Sharon E. Lebsack||Alpha Alpha||1971-73|
|Connie G. Reishus||Gamma Zeta||1979-81|
|Julie Ryan Kuhns||Beta||1981-83|
|Bonnie L. Schuler||Beta Sigma||1983-85|
|Ann Cunningham Sheets||Epsilon Beta||1985-87|
|Carla A. Robinson||Alpha Gamma||1987-89|
|Kathy Rodeffer||Beta Eta||1989-91|
|Rita Becallo Garner Caviness||Eta Beta||1991-93|
|Jean Newman||Zeta Xi||1993-95|
|Gretchen Buchen||Epsilon Kappa||1995-97|
|Deborah Harris Kaplan||Beta Xi||1997-99|
|Karon Miller Hammond||Iota||1999-2001|
|Sylvia T. Halbardier||Eta Epsilon||2001-03|
|Debbie Baker||Beta Xi||2003-05|
|Kimbi Sigle||Eta Omega||2007-09|
|Dollie McDonald O’Neill||Psi||2009-11|
|Dr. Nicole Sanchez||Delta Eta||2013-15|
|Dr. Kathryn Kelly||Eta Delta||2015-17|
|Jonathan Markowski||Delta Delta||2017-19|
The sorority is divided into three basic levels - National, District, and Chapter. The sorority's business is handled hierarchically, so that an issue is handled in chapter meetings, district conventions, and then nationally. There are seven districts divided by geography: Northeast, Southeast, North Central, Midwest, Southwest, Western, and International (a hypothetical district comprising all chapters outside the United States). Each district is led by one or more District Counselors, as well as a council of elected student officers by the members of the Districts.
District Counselors are regional advisors for the Sorority. They actively work with each district's student leadership and communicate with chapter sponsors. District Counselors are appointed by the National President for two-year terms, and are currently limited to serving three terms.
The districts are as follows:
||Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming|
||Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin|
||Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia|
||Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee|
||Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas|
||Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington|
Notable members of Tau Beta Sigma include:
|Debra Dene Barnes||Miss America 1968|
|William "Count" Basie||Musician|
|Carl "Doc" Severinsen||Musician|
|Deesha Dyer||White House Social Secretary|
|Dianna Williams||Dance Instructor and Star of Lifetime's Bring It!|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tau Beta Sigma.|