By Renee K. Bordner (Beta Omega, The University of Toledo)
Alpha Chi Omega was founded in 1885. As musicians, our Founders included three pianists, a cellist/violinist/bassist, a composer and two singers. As collegians, they sought “friendship, artistic society and advancement of the principles of true womanhood.”
In the spirit of our Alpha Chi Omega Founders, music has been a part of my life since I was 6. My journey with Alpha Chi Omega began in the fall of 1991 when I joined the Beta Omega chapter. As an active member, I held numerous offices, including vice president membership education, Panhellenic secretary and page for the 1994 National Convention. While at The University of Toledo, I earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education. After graduation, I worked as an art and music therapist in various health care settings. In 2007, I started Note-worthy Experiences Music Studio and have grown it steadily since. Today, Note-worthy Experiences has more than 60 music instructors, and we teach lessons to nearly 600 students ages 3-87 on 25 musical instruments.
Along the way, my husband and I helped our children create a music-related 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Together we have placed more than 5,000 musical instruments with children in need as far away as Sierra Leone. I like to think the Alpha Chi Omega Founders would appreciate the philanthropic work of this organization. The intent remains to encourage others to explore music.
Initially, I was drawn to Alpha Chi Omega by the young women I met during recruitment. However, the lyre symbol and the presence of the arts within Alpha Chi Omega drew me in as well. My time in Alpha Chi Omega leadership roles provided me with training and experience for leading my studio’s teaching team. I am still connected to many of my Beta Omega sisters today. The bonds I share with my closest sisters have helped me through the most challenging times of being a small business owner, especially during the 2008 recession and the recent pandemic. These incredible women have also been with me to celebrate the significant and not-so-big milestones in my family life.
Even though my sisters and I are separated by many miles, we are fortunate to keep in touch through texts, group FaceTime calls, social media and occasional in-person reunions. I have also enjoyed meeting new sisters from other chapters as I have moved about the country. The Founders could not have foreseen maintaining sisterly bonds through today’s smartphones and computers. Yet these bonds have been invaluable to me, and my Alpha Chi Omega sisters are undoubtedly my music school’s biggest fans.
Fun fact: Our Note-worthy Experiences logo was created by an Alpha Chi Omega sister and consists of my favorite colors, olive green and scarlet red!