SAI Washington, D.C. Alumnae Chapter

Sigma Alpha Iota Mixer

Posted by saiofwdc on October 10, 2017

This past Friday, October 6th, our chapter sponsored a mixer at Bar Louie in Washington, DC. We had a great time getting to know each other, and hope to hold more events in the near future. If you are a member of SAI in the Washington DC metro area, we would love to see you at our next get together! Contact our Vice-President of Membership Angelica Brooks for more information.

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A New Year

Posted by saiofwdc on September 25, 2017

On Sunday we enjoyed our Annual Potluck where we invite the sisters of the DC Alumnae Chapter and sisters of Iota A province. We had a wonderful time filled with yummy food and good friends! Enjoy this group shot from the potluck. We can’t wait to share what the 2017-2018 year has in store!

SAI Potluck 2017

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James Ross Becomes National Arts Associate

Posted by saiofwdc on June 26, 2017

At our meeting on June 25th, we had the honor of initiating James Ross, who has been Director of Orchestral Activities at University of Maryland, on the faculty at the Juilliard School and Orchestra Director of the National Youth Orchestra USA at Carnegie Hall. He is soon to be Music Director of the Orquestra Simfonica del Valles in Spain.

Ross, a native of Boston, has served as Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as William Christie’s assistant to Les Arts Florissants, and as Music Director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted orchestras as diverse as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, The Utah Symphony, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, the Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic, the Orquestra Simfonica of Galicia, the Birmingham Philharmonic, and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in side-by-side concerts with the UMSO. His principal conducting teachers were Kurt Masur, Otto-Werner Mueller, Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein.

As a horn soloist, he has performed with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Leipzig Radio Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhaus. When he was awarded third prize in the Munich International Horn Competition in 1978, he became the first American and one of the youngest competitors ever to do so. His performances and recordings as principal horn of the Gewandhaus, including the Strauss Four Last Songs with SAI Jessye Norman, helped him gain international recognition as an artist.

As a teacher, Ross has served on the faculties of Yale University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Haverford and Bryn Mawr College and teaches conducting each summer at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz. He was Artistic Director of the National Orchestral Institute (NOI) at the University of Maryland rom 2002-2012 where his leadership served as an impetus for change in the orchestral landscape of the U.S.


James Ross with Carolyn Freel, Mary K Traver, Ann Matteson, and Deb Volker


James Ross with the Washington DC Alumnae Chapter

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The 2016-2017 year comes to an end.

Posted by saiofwdc on June 26, 2017

What an eventful end of the year! After a fun Province Day hosted by Mu Epsilon at George Mason University in the beginning of April, we held our Founders Day Tea at the end of April. We affiliated five new members: Bianca Jones, Grace Lane, Elizabeth O’Keefe, Letisha Anderson, and Kimberly Monroe. We also enjoyed a wonderful presentation by composer Mark G. Simon, who discussed his composition, “Carnival of the Subatomic Particles”. This composition is a 13-movement exploration of particle physics for chamber ensemble and narrator, set to a poem by Cornell physicist N. David Mermin. It was commissioned and premiered by Music’s Recreation in Ithaca, NY. You can learn more about Mark at his website: 

At our spring meeting in May, we invited our scholarship winners for the 2016-2017 school year. Our two winners, Erica Dehnam and Brittney Cassandra (both from Mu Epsilon Chapter at George Mason University) both applied in the area of Music Education. It was great meeting these two wonderful young women and we wish them the best as they continue their studies at GMU! Thanks to our fantastic scholarship judges, Mary K Traver, Dina Fleming, and Sharon Shafer.



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St. Matthew’s Musical Theatre Troupe Presents “State Fair”

Posted by saiofwdc on March 18, 2017

Come and see our wonderful SAI sisters in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s State Fair!

Our Regional Officer, Mary Jennings, and Becky Unkenholz, a DC Alumnae Patroness member are performing in the show. Karen Hastins, also a DC Alumnae Patroness member is the choreographer. Christin Vare, a DC Alumnae member, and Jane Thessin, Patroness, are in the pit.

State Fair

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Survey on SAI Events

Posted by saiofwdc on September 25, 2016

Dear sisters,

On behalf of our social chair, Angelica Brooks, I am sharing a survey creates to assess the interests of the DC Alumnae chapter in future social events. We are all excited in bringing in more interest to the chapter, and supporting the bond of sisterhood through fun events!

Please click the link below to take the survey!

SAI Events Survey


Stephanie Cadwell

Editor/Historian, DC Alumnae Chapter

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SAI Potluck 2016

Posted by saiofwdc on September 25, 2016

As we welcome in the new year of Sigma Alpha Iota events, I wanted to write a quick note about our wonderful potluck that happened tonight. We welcomed members of the SAI DC Alumnae Chapter, Mu Epsilon (George Mason University), and Gamma Epsilon (University of Maryland, College Park). There was plenty of delicious food, and was hosted graciously by Chrissellene and Dimitri Petropoulos.

We enjoyed a wonderful performance by sisters Sharon Guertin Schafer and  Dr. Liana Valente. Liana premiered five songs composed by Sharon, titled “Poems of Love and Life”. It was a fantastic performance, and we were all so grateful to them for sharing their amazing artistry!

And congratulations are in order to Dr. Liana Valente, who has just accepted an appointment from the National Federation of Music Clubs as the next Representative to the United Nations. The National Federation of Music Clubs is the only music organization member in the Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations.

Please enjoy this photo from the potluck festivities! We are looking forward to plenty of exciting events this coming year!


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The 2015-2016 year comes to an end.

Posted by saiofwdc on May 23, 2016

Greetings everyone!

This month the chapter had our final meeting of the year. We had the honor of inviting our scholarship award winner, Maya Keys from Gamma Epsilon (University of Maryland – College Park), to perform in our musicale. Washington DC Alumnae sisters Paula Moseman and Carolyn Freel also performed. The chapter also enjoyed presenting Sharon Schafer with the Rose of Honor.

What follows is a write up of Sharon’s amazing achievements so far, written by sister Mary K Traver:

“Sharon Shafer, singer, composer, administrator, music historian and author, has been an active member of Sigma Alpha Iota since her college days as a member of Beta Phi at the Catholic University of America followed by membership  in the Washington, DC Alumnae chapter. In recent years, Sharon has served on committees including the alumnae chapter’s Scholarship Awards committee, and for four years was Vice President for Programs. She planned excellent programs which were well-balanced, and often included American music. Her annual “Meet the Composer” musicales were outstanding.  At present, she serves as a Member at Large, offering wise counsel when needed.  Sharon holds the fraternity’s Sword of Honor.

At the national level, Sharon served with distinction as Project Director of Doctoral Grants for SAI Philanthropies, Inc.. While serving as  Vice Chairman of Philanthropies, Inc. I had the pleasure of reading her reports which were professionally prepared and a pleasure to read. The selected candidates were outstanding scholars.

Sharon holds the Bachelor of Arts degree from Catholic University, Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland. She was awarded  the Mullen Memorial Scholar Award at CUA, was a National Endowment of the Humanities grantee, and also a fellow of  the National Defense Education Act for three years.

In 1974-she joined the faculty of Trinity University.  She held the position of Professor and in 1992, was named  Chair of Arts and Humanities.  She was recipient of Trinity University’s “Outstanding Faculty Award”.

She is the author of “The Contribution of Grzyna Bacewicz to Polish Music 1909-1969″.

Her compositions include song cycles, works for solo piano, flute and piano. Performances of her works have been very well received. She has performed extensively, including Wolf Trap Performing Arts benefit concerts, the College Music Society, Friday Morning Music Club of Washington, and Sigma Alpha Iota., There have been appearances at the International Congress on Women in Music (Heidelberg, Germany and New York City). and performances throughout Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Memberships include National Women’s Studies Association Conference, and Phi Beta Kappa (Treasurer 1976-1990).”

The chapter has an incredibly successful year, and we can’t wait to see what is in store for us next year!

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Founders Day Tea

Posted by saiofwdc on April 10, 2016


We just had an incredibly eventful Founders Day Tea and spring meeting! The meeting was graciously hosted by Mary K Traver. We initiated 2 new patronesses, Angelica Brooks and Dawn Wilson. We also welcomed SEVEN new affiliates to our chapter! Besides welcoming new members, we also celebrated Founders Day by recognizing our seven founding sisters, and also had a wonderful Meet the Composer session, organized by VP of Programs, Allison Hughes. We got to talk with Gabriel Ruiz-Bernal, who is an accomplished composer and has written pieces for film, orchestra, solo instruments, and much more. You can learn more about him and listen to his compositions here.

Next Saturday members of our chapter will be attending Iota A Province Day at Morgan State University. I am looking forward to writing about our experiences after our return!

Affiliates and Patronesses 2016

The Washington DC Alumnae Chapter’s newest affiliates and newly initiated patronesses! 

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All-American Voice and Piano Recital at Jessup Women’s Correctional Institution

Posted by saiofwdc on March 13, 2016

Greetings everyone!

The chapter wanted to update the public on an amazing initiative we were honored to donate to. Two SAI sisters, Marquita Lister and Dr. Stephanie Bruning contacted the Washington DC Alumnae Chapter asking if we would we willing to contribute to the cost of a piano for their prison recital concert at Jessup Women’s Correctional Institution. The chapter obliged, and the concert was done on February 12, 2016. By all accounts it was a remarkable success! Below is a write-up on the prison concert and some pictures!

“On Friday, February 12, 2016 Morgan State University Music faculty members Marquita Lister (soprano) and Stephanie Bruning (piano) performed a recital at the Women’s Correctional Institution in Jessup, MD.  It is the only women’s correctional institution out of 32 facilities in Maryland.  They performed a joint recital of solo voice and solo piano works featuring American composers including works by both female and African-American composers.  In order to set up the event, Lister and Bruning secured several donors to pay for the rental of a grand piano including Menchey Music, Sigma Alpha Iota Alumni Chapter of Washington, DC, and James Haynes.  Around 100 inmates voluntarily attended the performance and were an enthusiastic crowd.  One inmate said that she “had never heard an opera singer before,” while another stated that the performance “reminded her of life before she was in prison.”  Community outreach is such an important component in music making.  This concert really reached an audience that does not have access to high quality classical music and hopefully brought them a sense of joy and entertainment.”




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