Games, Dances, and Formals
The final page of our 146th fraternal year will soon be upon us turn, and the first day of our 147th year will begin. The arc of our fraternal story continues to grow, and by all signs, undergraduate and graduate, forever linked, it is going to be an exceptional year. We all share in a fraternal history, a fraternal fellowship, that only grows richer in meaning as the years pass. We are all keenly aware of our history at the University of Maine, and we are, rightly so, proud of that history. Upon that fact there is no debate, and I am unequivocally sure that we are all thankful for whatever motivation, coincidence, circumstance, brought all of us to the front door of the Castle to start the pledging-initiatory journey to become Omega Mu brothers. In any case, thank God you went through the front door to become Omega Mu brothers, and in so doing becoming part of the historic lore of our fraternal brotherhood at Maine, steady and true since 1848, 1874, 1899, an unbroken fraternal chain. The brotherhood that we know and love today is the same as the love that the Q. T. V. brothers felt when they all sat together in front of the first Q. T. V. Chapter Hall. Our brotherhood is a living fraternal tradition, and it has been dear to the hearts of generations upon generations of men. And, as such, we are unique, and that is a wonderful testament to our collective resilience, perseverance and determination. With that being said, with our success in the past and present, we will continue to be a vibrant brotherhood 100 years from now. Alive and well, our rich fraternal heritage will continue. Be proud of that, that is all.
The fraternal evidence of our rich history is a point of pride for all of us. Happily, we walked through the front door of the Castle. Happily, we all lived together in the Castle. Happily, and with deep gratitude, we return to the Castle to see life-long friends in the beautiful architectural space of our home, the Castle. Our Omega Mu brotherhood and the Castle, our historically great, durable, and indispensable union for joy through life. A simple truth that started with a simple Q.T.V. catchphrase: “Enjoyment, sociability, and the best interests of the brothers through life.”
We are a tradition-grounded brotherhood, and we have been since our beginning. In various modified forms, traditions, rites, and events have shaped and defined the fraternal culture and fabric of our brotherhood since our Q.T.V. years. Good fraternal traditions have created our fraternal vitality and stability. Some of our traditions and events have been sincere and formal in nature, others had daily significance, and some have been nothing more than madcap escapades and easy-going pranks. They created a joyous fraternal spirit, in and out of the house, and unconditional fraternal love. Generations of brothers shared in all of them, and all of them were enriching. They showed the soul of our brotherhood, and they created a positive fraternal camaraderie, a bond of friendship, that does last for life. In truth, traditions positively influenced our fraternal life with unwavering spirit, and we remember each of them with a smile. Consequently, viewed through the long lens of history, that is an unqualified good thing, and it continues to be that way today. Our good fraternal life would simply not have been what it was without them, and there is no way of overstating that reality.
With that in mind, our traditions are the source of our living memory, and one thing is historically clear about each of them: living in the Castle was not a dull life because of them. Most importantly, we did not discuss whether our traditions were relevant, old-fashioned, or out-dated. On the contrary, we cherished all of them. And, perhaps, it is not too far-reaching to say that they did shape us for the better; I believe they did. They certainly did not hurt, and we lived with a strong collective sense of well-being. Taken all together then, we all experienced something unique and enjoyable because of the fraternal rhythmic structure of our daily, monthly, and seasonal traditions. They were all equally important, and they all had a shaping expressive effect in making our fraternal life really enjoyable. Living in the Castle was a seminal time in our lives that we do not regret, nor should we, and generation to generation our fraternal traditions have been, and they will continue to be, the underlying thread of our preeminent success at the University of Maine. We are a proud fraternal brotherhood, and we continue to deepen our historic roots with every new generation of Omega Mu Fiji undergraduates.
As we are several years away from celebrating two historic moments in our combined fraternal history, we celebrate all of our traditions that have, separately and together, sustained us, fraternally steady and true, since 1874. a distinctive fraternal legacy. In the truest and broadest historic sense, there is no other brotherhood like ours, and for many years to come our undergraduate and graduate brothers will continue to guide and shape our unique, life-long brotherhood by sustaining our enjoyable, life-sustaining, and persevering traditions. To re-state the simply truth of our Q. T. V. fraternal coda: “Enjoyment, sociability, and the best interests of the brothers through life.” This abiding declarative statement still defines us as we enter 2023. The simple ideal of our founders, and it is the heartfelt essence of our fraternally cherished words: "Brotherhood." With that in mind, it is always fitting to look back and appreciate our rich fraternal tradition of great dances and formals. Perge.
Q. T. V. Brothers in front of the first Q. T. V. Chapter Hall, 1876.
Q. T. V Reception
"...buck-boards began to bring the guests from Orono, Stillwater and Old Town."
"Messrs. Wasgatt and Cushing of Bangor, furnished music for the evening. After the entertainment consisting of instrumental music, singing, and declamations, refreshments were served and the remainder of the evening was spent in
sociability and dancing."
First Phi Gamma Delta House,
"Omega Mu Chapter of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity entertained their friends with whist and dancing at
their chapter house Saturday evening.
"The house was decorated for the occasion and the guest were received in the drawing room, while refreshments
were served in the dining room."
"The house was prettily decorated in evergreens and Xmas bells intermingled with frosted stars. Pullen's orchestra furnished music during the evening. At intermission harlequin
and cakes were served."
"Amid the crackling of logs and peanut shells, stories were told and enthusiasm for the distant Frog Pond Scrap was aroused. About 12 P.M. the Smoker wound up with a sing, three
cheers for 1915 and a return three cheers for
Phi Gamma Delta re-echoed
from the porch."
"There were cigarettes and cigars for all, not to mention peanuts, ice cream and fancy crackers, and ginger ale.
They made themselves merry with cards and songs
and talked over the old days."
"The evening was spent with smokes, cards, and refreshments.
"There were smokes and ice cream and the first
step taken in forming class spirit.
"One of the best house-parties ever held in the house will begin Friday night and terminate Sunday Night."
"A "Backward Party" Saturday night in which the couples came in old clothes and had to climb through a window to get into the house. The girls had to ask the boys to dance,
for refreshments, and for cigarettes."
"Each house was suitably decorated for the occasion, many of them having informal dance orders, favors,
and confetti dances."
"A delicious dinner was served by the fraternity chef. The tables were attractively decorated with flowers. The dancing of the evening stated at 8:30 when music from a selected orchestra was furnished. The dance orders of dark blue and
white were in the shape of a lozenge."
This informal dance, I believe, was the first
dance in the Castle.
"Snappy music was furnished by Shea's four piece orchestra."
"The 'Crimson Rambler' orchestra, one of the best heard on campus in a long time, came from Boston."
"The house was decorated with colored lights. During intermission refreshments were served. Music was
furnished by Smith Ames orchestra."
"Later in the evening, the formal dance, with music by Buddy Borst and his orchestra from Providence, was held.
Strawberry shortcake was served at intermission."
"The meeting was an informal get-together to promote
good fellowship and class feeling."
"On Friday, the Phi Gamma Delta were hosts at a delightful dinner party prior to their annual Spring Formal. Their
guest were entertained by the singing
of fraternity songs."
"A homecoming informal dance was held at Phi Gamma Delta. Music was provided by Lou Kyer."
"The Phi Gams crashed through with a hilariously different party last Friday evening. The lady guests were forced
to enter this upside down party by the coal chute.
From the cellar floor a guide rope was
placed in the right hand and they were
pushed through the cellar
"Phi Gamma Delta welcomed back many alumni at its fall house party held Saturday afternoon and evening. After the game, tea dancing was enjoyed until six o'clock, when an informal supper was served. Lloyd Rafnell and his Georgians, featuring
Jane Rafnell, vocalist, furnished music"
George Rafnell and his Georgians
Watie Akin's orchestra
"Phi Gamma Delta held it spring formal house party May 19. Lloyd Rafnell and his Georgians played."
"Interfraternity smoker to be held from four until eight at the
Phi Gamma Delta House."
"After light refreshments several of the professors spoke on subjects on general and practical interest around college,
and the talk lasted well into the evening."
"Phi Gamma Delta will dance to the music Lloyd Raffnell and his orchestra at their Friday night formal."
"Phi Gam played host to 70 couples at a semi-formal dance Friday evening. Music was by Bob Wood and his orchestra."
"The house was appropriately decorated and a section of the Maine Bears furnished dance music."
"A buffet supper followed by a dance with music provided by Sammy Saliba and his orchestra."
"Party favors: red and white striped nights shirts and caps with "Fiji" on the pockets.
"Dick Kelso and his band provided the music for a jam-session and dance at Phi Gamma Delta."
"Phi Gam played host to Pi Beta Phi sorority, with "A Trip to the Moon" as the theme of the dance. Silver stars and moon maidens decorated the house and Jack McDonough and his
orchestra provided the music."
"The Phi Gam house was decorated on a French Cafe
theme for the formal Friday night."
1958 house party with a Christmas theme.
“What if the space be long and wide,
That parts us from our brother’s side
A soul-joined chain unites our band,
And memory links us hand in hand.”
(Phi Gamma Delta fraternity song)
Chip Chapman, ’82