Mark MacPhee, ’18, has a connection with bagpipes that transcends their omnipresence on the Lyon College campus; he’s from Campbeltown, Scotland. It was the slow airs of his country’s traditional music that filled MacPhee’s mind when he learned that an important mentor, Dr. Mark Schram, had passed away.
“I heard during class. I don’t know why, but I immediately wanted to do something about it. I went straight over to the Scottish Heritage building, and this tune came out. I don’t know where it came from,” says MacPhee.
The song, called The Admiral, shares its title with the nickname that TKE brothers gave Dr. Schram during his pledge period for the fraternity. MacPhee explains, “Normally, when you join the fraternity, you become a candidate and learn about everything. We don’t require faculty advisors to go through candidacy and learn all of the history and specifics of it. But with Schram…he said, ‘There’s no way I was joining without doing exactly what all of the other brothers did. I want to share all of the same experiences. I want to go through what you guys went through. I want to be full, 100% a member. He did it all; he learned all the history whilst teaching all his classes at Lyon. Through that he showed great leadership. Since then, he was the leader of the ship; he was the Admiral.”
A slow air, the composition follows in a tradition of Highland music honoring great leaders. It’s a lament that MacPhee hopes will immortalize Dr. Schram in the same way other Scottish airs have immortalized personal heroes, and it has already helped bring the brothers of TKE together since MacPhee recently played the song for them. The fraternity has also held formal and informal ceremonies in Dr. Schram’s honor, sharing their memories of and reflections on the man. Alumni reached out to current brothers, and many members wore black ribbons for two weeks to show their mourning. MacPhee says, “Dr. Schram was legendary for TKE. He’d been a brother for 19 years. He influenced a lot of guys.”
To hear the song, visit vimeo.com/235932292.
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