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Serving the OSU Bands and Striving for the Highest Since 1919

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Steve Nelson's History Snippets

 

Snippet #23 - "History of Kappa Kappa Psi" by Gilbert Isenberg, taken from the first issue of The Baton.

Steve Nelson:  "The following is one of the first printed accounts of the founding of the fraternity.  It is taken from the first issue of The Baton (1922) and gives a good account of the early days.  I hope you enjoy it!"
 

HISTORY OF KAPPA KAPPA PSI, NATIONAL BAND FRATERNITY   

by Gilbert Isenberg (1st Charter Pledge)

    It has often been said that great things are the products of great surroundings.  Such being the case, Oklahoma State College is one of the greatest places in the universe, for it is from that Institution that Kappa Kappa Psi, first showed forth in it's most brilliant ray, until now it has taken it's place among the greatest organizations in the fraternal circles of the United States.  The saying is that, "In unity there is strength, in separation disaster".  It has been this attitude that has made Kappa Kappa Psi, one of the strongest of National Honorary Fraternities.

    In October 1919, a member of the Oklahoma State College Band conceived the idea that something should be done to bring together the bandsmen in our Universities.  At that time there were a few Nationals for professional musicians, but none exclusive for College Bandsmen.  It was with this in mind that this member received his inspiration and confided in Mr. A. Frank Martin, his plans for organizing a National Band Fraternity.  Mr. Martin, then President of the Band was very enthusiastic over the proposition.  Thus encouraged and knowing that "Boh", as Prof. Makovsky is known on the Campus was always strong for anything that fosters the development of better music.  William A. Scroggs, founder of the Fraternity went to "Boh" with his proposition. Mr. Makovsky at once saw the great possibilities of such a fraternity and offered his undivided support to the cause.  With such a character as Professor Bohumil Makovsky backing the idea, this new organization was born into the fraternal world November 27, 1919.

    Mr. Scroggs immediately arranged for a secret conference with Prof. Makovsky and A. Frank Martin.  At this conference, ten of the best men of the large Oklahoma State College Band, who were not only leaders in the band but in their respective schools, in their fraternities, and in scholastic activities as well, were selected as charter members. The ten men selected to work out the intricate problems of the new organization were: A. Frank Martin, William A. Scroggs, Raymond D. Shannon, Carl A. Stevens, Clyde Haston, Clayton Soule, William Coppedge, Asher Hendrickson, Dick Hurst, and Hawthorne Nelson.

    A meeting was immediately called and the first offices of the Fraternity were elected.  William Scroggs was unanimously elected to be the first President of the new organization; A. Frank Martin, Vice-President; Clayton Soule, Secretary-Treasurer; and William Coppedge, Sergeant of Arms.  Committees were elected as follows: Constitution and By-Laws, William Scroggs, Raymond Shannon and Hawthorne Nelson; Ritual, A. Frank Martin, Clayton Soule and Col. F. D. Wickham; Fraternity Pin Design and Coat of Arms, William Coppedge, Clyde Haston and Dick Hurst; Degree Oaths, William Coppedge, A. Frank Martin and Asher Hendrickson.

    When this young organization started working on their plans for organizing a National Fraternity, they were confronted with many difficulties, but such leaders as were affiliated as charter members knew not the meaning of defeat, but went forward with all the more determination.  Knowing that petitions would soon be received asking for charters, the first National officers were elected from the ten charter members to take care of the National work.  The men that received this honor of being the first National officers were: Grand President, A. Frank Martin; First Vice-President, Raymond Shannon; Second Vice-President, Clyde Haston; Secretary, Clayton Soule; Treasurer, Carl A. Stevens and Editor and Assistant Secretary, William A. Scroggs.

    Work on the first degree was soon completed and five more leading members of the band were selected as pledges to the fraternity.  They were: Gilbert Isenberg, Herbert Dixon, Dean Dale, Carl Smelzer and Clarence Shaw.  These men were selected to test out the ritual work on, as each degree was completed.  The first degree was administered and it met with such success and admiration, that it has remained unchanged to the present day.

    Seeing the success of the first attempt, the members were inspired to put forth even greater efforts, for the betterment of this great organization.  Ten letters were sent out to as many Universities over the country, telling of the new organization.  Five replies were received, all of which expressed their approval of such an organization and the great possibilities of its future.  In the spring of 1920 a petition was received from the University of Washington, which was accepted.  The College year closed and very little was done until the opening of College in the fall.

    Late in the fall a petition was received and duly accepted from the Montana State College, at Bozeman.  As all Ritual work had been completed was well as the constitution and by-laws, Raymond Shannon and William Scroggs were sent to the two petitioning Institutions and Kappa Kappa Psi reached out her hand of fraternal spirit and cooperation to Washington and Montana.  The bands of both institutions are the pride of their states and rank high with any in the United States.

    In the spring of 1921, a petition was received from our own State University.  A charter was granted and eight members of the mother chapter went to Norman and installed a chapter of an organization that is doing more to create the right spirit between the two leading State Institutions of Oklahoma, than is possible through any other procedure.

    The fall of 1921 found the fraternity on a firm foundation and every member in an optimistic attitude.  Institutions from the North, South, East and West were writing in for information and the necessary contents required in petitions.  The officers were busy perfecting the internal mechanism of the Fraternity.  Every member was eagerly looking to the First National Convention of the Fraternity and every detail to make the First Convention a memorial one, to those privileged to attend, was looked after.

    This convention was held at the home of the Mother Chapter, Oklahoma State College at Stillwater, January 2, 1922, and from the spirit shown by the delegates and officers, the great future of Kappa Kappa Psi was realized and insured.  Scott P. Squyres was elected to the highest honor of the Fraternity - Grand President.  Other National officers elected were: W. A. Nelson of Washington State University [Gamma], First Vice-President; John Wylie, Jr. of Montana State [Beta], Second National Vice-President; and Dick Hurst [Alpha] National Secretary; Asher Hendrickson [Alpha], National Treasurer and William Scroggs [Alpha], National Editor and Assistant Secretary, were from Oklahoma State College.

    Soon after the close of the National Convention, John Philip Sousa accepted the invitation to become National Honorary member of K. K. P.  He expressed his appreciation of the honor given him during the evening: "Brothers, I have received medals and honors from every civilized country, but I feel this honor above all, due to the fact that this was given me by a group of University bandsmen who are furthering the great work that I have dedicated my whole life to."

    At present petitions and letters for information keep pouring into the National Secretary, all praising the great purpose for which we are working.  We do not want to be too enthusiastic over the possibilities of Kappa Kappa Psi, but it is the firm belief of every member of each chapter that know the inner workings of the Fraternity, that Kappa Kappa Psi will rank highest in the standing of Honorary Fraternities in the near future.