A cheer erupts as The Gentlemen of the College launch into an arrangement of Panic! At The Disco’s “Death of a Bachelor”. To their left, members of The Masaharu Effect begin unpacking and assembling their equipment on a second stage. In the corner, a small crowd gathers to watch two friends with hands behind their backs desperately try to eat donuts off a string.
All these events and more were part of Delta Omicron Music Fraternity’s first music festival, which took place Saturday in Trinkle Hall. The event raised money to support Music for All, a nonprofit group dedicated to furthering music programs in secondary education. The event kicked off Delta Omicron’s renewed mission of philanthropy and community outreach, two tenets held central to the group since its organizational overhaul this past spring.
“Last semester DO sort of reinvented itself,” Delta Omicron Philanthropy Co-Chair Hope Wright ’18 said. “We had a lot of meetings about what we want to do in the future and what we think is really important.”
Out of this revitalization came the idea of a mass collaboration among the College of William and Mary’s various music groups, ultimately culminating in Saturday’s festival.
“We saw this as a great way to get our name out there a little bit more and meet several aspects of our philanthropic mission,” Kika Sahai ‘18, Delta Omicron’s other philanthropy co-chair, said.
Entry to the event was free, but attendees could purchase tickets to interact with the ten booths scattered around the hall. A different campus organization manned each booth, which ranged from a cappella group Common Ground’s face painting station and the Nu Kappa Epsilon Music Sorority’s hot chocolate bar, to Phi Mu Alpha’s donut challenge.
Supporting Music for All became very important for Delta Omicron as a part of its new philanthropic focus.
“Often in secondary education, music is the first thing to be cut,” Sahai said.
The music festival’s fundraising plays a key role in Delta Omicron’s recent revitalization, supplementing an increased emphasis on community service, such as volunteering at a local childcare center and teaching music at Matthew Whaley Elementary School.
“We also try to draw attention to musicians in our own community,” Sahai said.
Other groups participating included The Accidentals a cappella group, the Russian Music Ensemble and the Bel Canto Brass Quintet, among others. The goal was to bring attention to the wide array of music stylings and opportunities available at the College.
“Since it’s kind of at the beginning of the year, students who are just coming in, you know, freshmen and transfers, can learn more about the music community,” Wright said.
Saturday’s festival held weight for more than just the College community.
“For this we were actually awarded a grant through our national fraternity,” Chapter President Maya Loehr ‘17 said. “DO in general nationwide is very small, [and] we are actually the largest chapter…we want to be an influence for those other groups.”
Saturday’s event carried a lot of weight in setting a standard for national Delta Omicron, and its combined outreach effort with fellow music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha and sorority Nu Kappa Epsilon.
“I think it would be nice if this became an annual event,” Wright said. “It all depends on how this trial run goes.”
It didn’t take long for Trinkle Hall to fill up once the event began. Groups of students wandered from booth to booth, sat to watch the various acts or just congregated in the middle of the room to socialize. Families and children from the community came to enjoy the event as well, taking advantage of the bake sale and face painting in-between sets.
As the Masaharu Effect finished its sound check, lead singer Kristen Merritt ‘17 stepped up to the microphone. As the band began to play, the crowd gathered around to see the show.
“We’re gonna start slow, and then we’re gonna pick it up as we go along,” Merritt said.
Saturday started what Delta Omicron hopes will be a formative period for their organization. Like Masaharu, they plan to pick it up as they move forward this year. Current members like Sahai said they have high hopes for Delta Omicron’s philanthropic efforts.
“Hopefully all goes well, and this will continue on in the future and get more groups interested,” Sahai said.