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Tri M History

  • 1936: Alexander Harley and his wife Frances founded the Maine Music Masters at Maine Township High School in Park Ridge, IL.

  • 1952: Maine Music Masters became incorporated and was renamed Modern Music Masters.

  • 1954: The first individual member recognition, known as the Top-Notcher Certificate of Achievement, was presented. This certificate was renamed Tri-M Leadership in 2002.

  • 1971: First Master Musician Certificate was presented.

  • 1983: Modern Music Masters became a program of MENC: The National Association for Music Education and was officially renamed the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

  • 1986: The first year Tri-M was recognized by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) as an approved program.

  • 1989: The first State Conference Achievement Recognition was presented to Tri-M members accepted to All-State Honor Ensembles. This certificate was renamed Honor Ensemble Achievement in 2003.

  • 2002: State Chapter of the Year recognition was given in addition to the National Chapter of the Year.

  • 2002: The Top-Notcher Recognition was renamed Tri-M Leadership.

  • 2003: The State Conference Achievement Recognition was renamed Honor Ensemble Achievement and was expanded to recognize Tri-M member participation in state, division, and national honor ensembles.

  • 2003: The first Tri-M Outstanding Service Recognition was presented.

  • 2004: The first Tri-M Alumni Achievement Recognition was presented.

CMS is starting a Tri M Honor Society at CMS for the 2022-24 school year!

Please See Miss Valley for more INFO


Candidates must be a member of those classes designated as eligible by the local
chapter. Candidates must have been in attendance at the school for the equivalent of one semester.


Tri-M member consideration should not be limited to any one segment of a music program (such as band, chorus, etc.). The following criteria may be included at the discretion of the Chapter Advisor:

  • Music Participation

    • Candidates must have been enrolled in a school-sponsored music ensemble and/or class for at least one semester of the current school year.

  • Academic Achievement

    • Candidates must have maintained for the previous semester at least a A average grade or equivalent in music, with at least a B average grade or equivalent in other academic subjects. Local chapters may make exceptions to these requirements at the discretion of the chapter advisor with school principal's approval.

  • Leadership

    • This criteria is at your discretion as Advisor. Generally speaking, any school or community activity that students are actively involved in will suffice. Leadership roles in both school and community may be considered as long as they can be verified.

  • Service

    • Similar to leadership, this criteria is at your discretion as Advisor. Service activities include any actions undertaken by the student that are done with or on behalf of others without any direct financial or material compensation to the individual performing the service.

  • Character

    • Judgment of character should be free of speculation and rumor. One description of character is a person who demonstrates respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Chapters are encouraged to take this model and modify it to meet their local needs.

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