Three female students play instruments for a small audience

Everyone Enjoys a Serenade

Written by Caroline Welton

Being a Hillsdale student can be tiring, and sometimes at the end of a long day, all you want is to sit down and enjoy some good music. This is part of what Sigma Alpha Iota (or SAI), the international women’s music fraternity, provides to campus. Several times a year, they take their music on the road, presenting short sets of songs in many of the dorms on campus.

Senior Mayim Stith, the current songmaster of SAI, explains: “In the spring, we like to serenade the boys’ dorms because it’s fun, and because everyone deserves to be sung to! The girls’ dorms get serenaded two or three times a year, so we thought, why not the boys? And we’ve gotten really great reception from the boys’ dorms. Turns out everyone appreciates a serenade from time to time.”

Serenades were my first interaction with SAI. On a chilly January afternoon freshman year, I sat on the lumpy blue couches in the Olds Residence lobby with several other girls and enjoyed a diverse musical offering by the ladies of SAI. From banjo to flute, piano to a capella, their songs served up fun and enjoyment for everyone, performers included.

Not everyone in SAI is a music major: the performers I enjoyed were women interested in science, history, and language in addition to music. SAI is a more informal arena of music performance than recitals and competitions in music studios, while still maintaining a high quality, so the music majors can find a more relaxed place to enjoy music just for fun, and non-majors can find a community to share their musical talents.

Mayim says that serenades are a good way to demonstrate how SAI provides this place where students of all academic interests can find a place to share music.

“It’s important for new students on campus to know that they have lots of music opportunities outside of the typical choir and orchestra situations they saw in high school,” she says. “We want freshmen to know that there’s a place for them somewhere in the music department, and we especially want freshman women to know that SAI just might be the community for them.”

Caroline Welton, ’22, plans to study politics and Latin, and thinks one can always choose to have a good day. This is primarily done by laughing at oneself a lot, but is of course aided by pleasantries such as rainstorms, Beethoven, Russian literature, and long conversations with friends.

Published in November 2020