music of pi beta phi

A special part of gatherings, ceremonies and Ritual, music is a cherished part of Pi Phi history and tradition that brings sisters together—no matter their age or chapter of affiliation.

Music-1.jpgOur songs are a unique part of our heritage — they have been sung and shared by Pi Phis for many years. Singing these songs brings fond memories of other gatherings where Pi Phis have enjoyed each other’s friendship. Some songs remind us of collegiate days while others remind us of conventions, but they are always a link to a shared experience that belongs only to Pi Beta Phi members.


Interest in Fraternity songs dates back to 1876. Records from the Lambda chapter of I.C. Sorosis at Simpson College (now Iowa Beta) attest to this claim. The “Hallowe’en Song,” “I.C. Marching Song” and the “I.C. Banquet Song” are a few of the songs appearing in their early chapter records.

A constitutional provision was made at the 1882 Burlington Convention that the meetings “close with the singing of an I.C. song.”

The first song to be sung in the various chapters as an I.C. song was the “Founding Song,” written by Kansas Alpha Ethel Beecher Allen Hamilton in 1883. It appeared in the first issue of The Arrow® in May 1885.

In 1888 Iowa Alpha Lulu (Louise) Sawyers Linn wrote the song that has belonged distinctly to Pi Phi through the years: “Ring, Ching, Ching.” Sung to the tune of “When I Was a Student at Cadiz,” it was written in response to a request from The Arrow Editor asking for song submissions to publish. The adoption of “Ring, Ching, Ching” at the 1892 Lawrence, Kansas, Convention did much to encourage singing. It was not until 1915 that Mrs. Linn, living in Portland, Oregon, learned from Grand Vice President Nina Harris Allen, Illinois Beta that the words she had written some 27 years earlier had become famous as a Pi Phi song. Then the yellowed piece of tablet paper on which the poem was written was taken from an old college album and was presented by Mrs. Linn to the Oregon Alpha chapter. It now resides in the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity Archives at Pi Beta Phi Headquarters.

In 1921, several Pi Phi songs were recorded on a double disc record and sold by the New York Alumnae Club as a fundraiser for the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School. Michigan Beta Neva Hungerford Cutler originated the idea. Illinois Zeta Kathryne Browne, a professional opera singer, sang the “Pi Beta Phi Anthem,” “Ring, Ching, Ching” and “The Loving Cup Song.” The record sold for $1.75.


At the chapter level, the Director Fraternity Heritage (DFH) or Vice President Member Experience (VPME) — if the chapter does not have a DFH — is responsible for ensuring that Pi Phi’s music remains relevant. Because music is a living heritage of the Fraternity, it is important to cherish and contribute to that heritage. The duties and responsibilities of the DFH/VPME or delegated Music Chair are:

  • To organize a comprehensive music program for the chapter
  • To guide the chapter toward a unified knowledge of Fraternity music
  • To incorporate Fraternity music into chapter activities beyond recruitment
  • To conduct regular song practice sessions
  • To organize all chapter music activities


At the international officer level, the Music Chair is an appointed position with a job overview stating she should, “Demonstrate Pi Beta Phi’s ongoing commitment to preserving its musical heritage in a fun, friendly, and enthusiastic manner.” Other responsibilities include collaborating with Headquarters staff on music programming for chapters and clubs, creating excitement about Pi Beta Phi music at the chapter, club and volunteer levels, recommend a Convention volunteer pianist and lead the Convention Chorus, “The Grace Notes.”

old-pic-of-chorus.jpgMusic Chairs and other advocates for Pi Phi music through the years include

  • Mary Bartol Theiss, Pennsylvania Beta — Song Book Editor, 1899 and 1904
  • Alleyne Archibald, Nebraska Beta — Song Book Editor, 1914
  • Laurel Payer Cissna, Indiana Gamma — Song Book Editor, 1923
  • Margaret Kellenbach (Kniptash), Indiana Gamma — Song Book Editor, 1931
  • Dorothy Vale Durand (Kissinger), Wisconsin Beta — Song Book Editor, 1946
  • Anne Logan Heflin, Missouri Alpha — Song Book Editor, 1967
  • Suzanne Chapman Lawson, Oklahoma Beta — Music Chair, 1995 – 1999
  • Jeannine Van Wagenen Funk, Nevada Alpha — Music Chair, 1999 – 2005
  • Marla Neelly Wulf, Kansas Beta — Music Chair, 2005 – 2009
  • Marian Hauke Thom, Oregon Gamma — Music Chair, 2009 – 2011
  • Jane Bony Heiserman, California Delta — Music Chair, 2011 – 2017
  • Renee Richardson Bennett, South Dakota Alpha — Music Chair, 2017 – present

Pi-Phi-Sweetheart.jpgSONG BOOK

“The Music of Pi Beta Phi” song book includes lyrics and sheet music for 37 Pi Phi songs. The most recent edition — the eighth edition — was printed in 1991 and is available on the Pi Beta Phi Resource Library. Previous editions were printed in 1899, 1904, 1914, 1923, 1931, 1946, and 1967. The songs included in this collection are as follows:

A Pi Phi Tribute
Angel in Disguise
Boom, Boom, I Wanna Be a Pi Beta Phi
Cookie Shine Song
Follow the Arrow
Goodbye to You from Pi Phi
I Love the Pin
singers-2-(1).jpgIfLoving Cup Song
My Pi Phi Girl
Ocean to Ocean
One, Two, Three Words
Pi Beta Phi Anthem
Pi Beta Phi Grace
Pi Phi Kisses
Pi Phi Lights
Pi Beta Phi Memorial Hymn
Pi Phi Sweetheart
Pi Phi Symphony
Pi, Pi Beta Phi
Picture a Girl
Pinning Song
singers-(1).jpgRing Ching ChingSpeed Thee My Arrow
Sweetheart Song
Take a Little Golden Arrow
The Greek Archipelago
The Legacy Song
The Pi Phi Chant
Turn Around
Winds Are Blowin’
You Can Tell a Pi Beta Phi
You’ll Look North, You’ll Look South
Whatsoever Things


a-capella-angels-graphic.jpegIn honor of the Fraternity turning 150 years old in 2017, several efforts were made to rejuvenate our members’ engagement with Pi Phi’s musical heritage. This included updating the music module of the Leading with Values® New Member Program and creating a new CD called “Acapella Angels: The Music
of Pi Beta Phi.” This collection features talented collegians, volunteers and staff singing 20 beloved songs, from recruitment favorites like “Boom Boom,” to dinner songs like “Pi Phi Grace,” to heritage songs like
“My Pi Phi Girl.” The CD can be purchased from Headquarters, and each song is available for download
on the Pi Beta Phi Resource Library, Spotify and Apple iTunes.

Sources: The Music of Pi Beta Phi

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