A Singing Valentine’s Day Tradition

February 14, 2012 at 11:59 pm 2 comments

Jen Espinosa arrived at 102 Thomas on Tuesday afternoon expecting to take a Bio 411 exam.

She sat in her seat, a couple rows from the back, and took out a No. 2 pencil. Her professor, James A. Strauss, began handing out scantrons.

Then five male students wearing suits walked into the lecture hall. And the exam was delayed.

The well-dressed quintet has a name: They are The Dreamers, the official a capella group of Phi Mu Alpha, Penn State’s singing fraternity. And for the 23rd straight year, The Dreamers spread love on Feb. 14 by delivering singing Valentines throughout the day.

The routine is simple: The youngest member of The Dreamers—this time it was Brian Bender, a freshman who is also in the Blue Band—must walk in the classroom and ask the professor for permission to interrupt class. Once Bender got the OK, the rest of the group joined him and called the Valentine to the “stage.”

Most recipients, like Espinosa, have no idea it’s coming. Embarrassed by the attention, Espinosa refused to walk to the front of the room to be serenaded by The Dreamers — until Dr. Strauss made a serious threat. “You’ll fail this exam if you don’t get up,” he said, as laughter filled the room.

So Espinosa sat in a chair by the front podium and—with her hands over her mouth for most of the performance—listened as The Dreamers sang The Five Satins’ classic, Still of the Night.

The fraternity has delivered singing Valentines for the past 23 years—ever since Phi Mu Alpha’s inception. They take reservations by email. Some requests come in as early as October.

On Tuesday, the fraternity was scheduled to perform 14 times. It would have been more, but the group had to fit performances in with their own class schedules.

-Emily Kaplan, intern

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ossian  |  February 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Just a minor correction: Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia was founded on October 6th, 1898, and the Alpha Zeta chapter was founded on February 3rd, 1923. The Dreamers are in fact 23 years old as you indicated.

  • […] There’s a tradition each Valentine’s Day at PSU where Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia’s Dreamers¬†will (for a small fee) come to your dorm room or classroom and sing a fabulous A Capella rendition of a classic love song. I was fortunate that year (can’t believe it was 14 years ago!!) to be serenaded with The Five Satins’ “Still of the Night.” […]

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