A song straight from the heart: Phi Mu Alpha spreads valentine’s cheer

Phi Mu Alpha presents a singing valentine to Dr. Skordilis, a business professor at Miami’s Herbert Business school. This was one of many that the singing fraternity delivered to students and faculty across campus in the days around Valentines Day. Photo credit: Sam Peene

Love is in the air and in UM’s classrooms this valentine season. Continuing a 20 year tradition, the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia has been singing their way through campus this February, serenading love songs to unsuspecting students.

Nearly selling out all deliveries, the demand for this year’s singing Valentine’s is the highest it has ever been. Last year Phi Mu Alpha raised approximately $1,500 for their fraternity. This year they are anticipated to surpass that amount by over 40 percent.

In a span of just one month, they’ve learned the songs, auditioned and chose soloists, and memorized the repertoire to prepare for the deliveries that began on Friday, Feb. 10. This year they’re offering two more songs for customers to choose from in addition to their original four.

Each delivery comes with a personalized note and a rose for the receiver. Phi Mu Alpha even held a giveaway for a free singing valentine on their Instagram page last week.

Junior and Phi Mu Alpha vice president Gabriel Perez joined the fraternity his freshman year. He organized the fundraiser and says it’s one of the traditions he looks forward to most every year.

“My favorite part about delivering,” Perez said. “It’s when people are open to it. They all think it’s very unique so the event itself is so special. And already people know about it going in and seeing all the smiles on their faces is probably like the best thing that we can ask for.”

Senior music business and communication major Samantha Price has received a valentine serenade every year and has bought numerous valentines for friends as well. She knows most of the brothers personally and thinks it’s one hundred percent worth the purchase.

“I highly recommend everybody go do this,” Price said. “No matter what you’re studying, no matter if you like singing or you don’t like singing or if it’s for a friend or a professor or whatever.”

Price’s significant other had purchased the gram for her and it was performed at the end of their choral class on Friday. When asked if she had known one was bought for her, she said no.

“They like gave me a rose and started singing to me and my jaw dropped,” Price said. “I lit up. I was like so excited because every year somebody else surprises me with one and it makes my afternoon.”

Like Price, most people do not know that they were planning on receiving a gift. Perez said ninety-five percent of receivers didn’t know they were being delivered a valentine.

Perez explains that every class and audience reaction is different and that energy is better in certain buildings. Most students smile and cheer.

“The students also love it,” he said. “A lot of people have their phones out which I like because not a lot of people know who we are. We’re kind of just the people in the red shirts to them. So I like … getting more buzz, I guess, for what we’re doing.”

Many professors see it as a nice break from their lecture. Others aren’t too fond of the interruption.

“That was in the minority, I guess. Yeah. Most of the professors were like, ‘Oh, come in and make it quick’ and then we make it quick and we make their day,” Perez continued.

The affection is not limited to students, professors and housing and residential life staff have also been included in the festivities. Eaton Residential College Area Director Liz Thompson received a valentine last week sent from her office supervisor Maria Acosta.

Thompson was in her office with Acosta and a colleague when Phi Mu Alpha came around. Even the student staff working gathered to watch the brothers sing “Isn’t She Lovely.”

Perez thinks most customers buy it for their friends to slightly embarrass the valentine receiver. Thompson agreed, explaining she was “a little embarrassed but only because” she “was put on the spot.”

“Not only were they singing really well, but they looked like they were genuinely having fun. Like as a group, they’re having fun doing this together,” Thompson said.

Despite having their own class schedules, at least five brothers are required at each shift assignment. While it is another activity to add to their packed schedules, Perez knows that what they do makes lifelong memories.

“I know it’s a fundraiser. But I also do like the opportunity that it’s like, a chance to spread the love on Valentine’s Day even in college,” Perez said.