Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Oklahoma Baptist University chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi.
“Kappa Kappa Psi is a national honorary fraternity that supports band and music programs in the schools in which they function,” said director of bands and faculty sponsor of Kappa Kappa Psi, Dr. Teresa Purcell. “And OBU’s Kappa fraternity is a co-ed honorary fraternity that does things within our music department and within the community to support other music programs as well.”
When most people hear the word “fraternity”, they probably think of parties and social life. However, Kappa Kappa Psi is a little different from the typical fraternity.
“K Psi technically is a fraternity but we don’t act like your typical fraternity,” said senior pastoral ministry major and Kappa Kappa Psi president, Jarret Corbin. “Because honestly, we are a service fraternity, that is our entire purpose, is to serve the band, everything we do is dedicated to that.”
Serving the bands on campus was the reason the OBU Kappa Kappa Psi was founded 50 years ago. “Pretty much why they wanted a K Psi chapter was for stage handing – that was our primary purpose back then, and we still do that a lot, but now because of marching band, and the fact that jazz band has started picking up, we’ve started having to take on a lot more,” said Corbin.
The fraternity members work to help with various music events around campus and in the community, providing support for the performers and for the OBU music department.
“the K-Psi fraternity members help with band events like they help support Night of Jazz for instance and prepare refreshments and food for all of them,” said Trim. “They help on game days with the Bison brigade in passing out snacks and doing all sorts of other manual labor kinds of things that help make the rest of the student body in the band be able to focus on their performance. They do a lot of behind the scenes things with moving equipment, setting up the field, back in august they came and helped paint the band field. In the music department, they help with passing out programs, and moving equipment for recitals that happen here on campus and in Yarborough and Potter. They help support our faculty in various ways by just helping where they’re need and they’re just all over the place doing lots of spectacular things.”
Regular meetings are held to plan upcoming projects. “They meet for a couple of hours every Monday night and they just brainstorm ways that they can be present and support the mission of the brigade, of the symphonic winds and of the music depart,” said Trim.
The music department is a busy department and there is no shortage of ways that Kappa Kappa Psi can provide support. “There’s a lot of things going on for them to help support, which is great, and I think the challenge on the other side of that is just having enough bodies who are there to do it and not over-extending them,” said Trim.
Corbin also said that the number of the events and the small size of the chapter poses the chapter’s biggest challenge. “We are a small chapter, so we have very limited resources so we can’t do as much as we would like,” said Corbin. “We just try and do the best with what we have.”
However, while the fraternity may sometimes be short on resources, they are not short on enthusiasm.
“It’s a really excited, charismatic, passionate group of young people who really want to see the music program at obu thrive and specifically want to see the band thrive, and not just the Bison Brigade but the entire band program, so symphonic winds and all of our instrumental students,” said Trim.
Corbin said that the best part, for him, has been the relationships he has formed through the fraternity.
“Honestly when I first joined it I just wanted to serve the band, that was my entire purpose,” said Corbin. “But now, I’ve actually found a family, like those are my closest friends on campus. It really is a brotherhood – even though most of our members are girls. But we are a close-knit family.”
The fraternity has always been a co-ed group.
“The first couple of years we only had guys on there but there could have been girls,” said Corbin. “K Psi has been co-ed since the late 40s.”
And the requirements for joining Kappa Kappa Psi are relatively simple.
“The requirements for being involved in Kappa Psi are just first and foremost a passion for music especially instrumental music and band music here on our campus,” said Trim. “The other side of that is we do a series of events that help people to know the history of K Psi in the country. And one really special thing about K-Psi is that it started and is supported here in Oklahoma, but it’s a national fraternity, so we have a lot of history to uphold and those events help to teach about that. The other side is participation in music, so to be part of K Psi you can get involved and then later down the road we ask that you just help support the music programs at OBU by being involved in music at OBU. So those are the three main components.”
Although Kappa Kappa Psi on campus is turning 50 this year, the national organization is much older. The OBU chapter is actively following in the footsteps of their chapter’s legacy of service. “It is the 50th anniversary of our chapter, not necessarily of K Psi itself – it’s actually about a hundred years old now,” said Corbin.