Phi Beta Mu
Phi Beta Mu (International) was established as a result of the respect and appreciation our founder, Colonel Earl D. Irons, had for his professional associates, school band directors. Col. Irons was Bandmaster and Chairman of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Arlington, then known as North Texas Agricultural College. He envisioned an organization that would honor outstanding band directors whose dedication and devotion to their profession was paramount, but whose admirable traits and services were not necessarily known nationally. Col. Irons sought to honor deserving individuals on a state level similar to the manner in which the American Bandmasters Association had honored him in 1936.
The history of Phi Beta Mu is also significant to its present and its future. The founders’ ideals of honoring superior achievement are timeless, their values of moral uprightness are never out of style, and their purpose of promoting the international development of bands will reward the world far beyond our Fraternity’s membership. May we honor those who have gone before us by honoring personal and professional excellence in our time and upholding the standards that are the very foundation of Phi Beta Mu.
Kansas' chapter of Phi Beta Mu was chartered in 1957 and is designated as the Iota Chapter. The Iota chapter meets twice each year: During the Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop in February and the Kansas Bandmasters Association Convention in July.
Charter Members: James Kerr; Dean B. Owen; Lewis E. Hiigel; Wendell Hodges; H.G. Palmer; Marlin Billings; Howard Harms; Leslie R. Marks; Kenneth Thompson; Don Threlkeld
First Meeting: November 8, 1957 - Wichita, Kansas
First Officers: James Kerr, President; Dean B. Owen, Vice President; Lewis E. Hiigel, Secretary-Treasurer.
Board Members: Wendel Hodges; H.G. Palmer
First Initiates: Don Bailey; Wyatt Cooper; Lyle Dilley; Nelson King