Praise for pipers - Lees to receive honorary degrees
They’ve spent more than 30 years adding pomp to Simon Fraser University’s Convocation ceremonies.
Now the brothers who’ve led the six-time world champion SFU Pipe Band to international acclaim will experience Convocation from another perspective – as honorees.
Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee, of Surrey, and Pipe Major Terry Lee, of Coquitlam, will don caps and gowns and join in the Convocation procession as honorary degree recipients at the June 13 afternoon ceremony. And just like the five other distinguished individuals being recognized this spring, they’ll be led into Convocation Mall by fellow band members.
The two are expected to perform on stage after their honorary degrees have been conferred.
“Receiving an honorary degree from Simon Fraser University is a terrific honour,” says Jack Lee. “Terry and I have been deeply involved in bagpipe education at SFU for over 30 years. We have helped to spread the excellent name and reputation of SFU throughout the bagpipe world. We love what we do and never anticipated receiving such a great honour for something we enjoy so much.”
The Lees are world-renowned musicians who grew up piping and highland dancing and went on to formally establish the SFU Pipe Band in 1981. Eventually they began travelling to Scotland to compete at the annual World Pipe Band Championships, and over the years have claimed a spot in the top three 20 times.
And it has been a family affair in more ways than one. Jack Lee, a former accountant turned full-time piping instructor, has three sons, John, Colin and Andrew, who all pipe in the elite Grade 1 band, along with cousin Alistair, Terry’s son. Terry’s daughter is a world-class highland dancer.
Along the way the brothers molded new, young talent by forming SFU’s junior band system, known as the Robert Malcolm Memorial band, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The juniors have also played on the world stage, last year bringing home yet another world championship trophy.
The Lee families also have their share of personal accolades, with Jack having won a string of the world’s top solo prizes and their sons making names for themselves on the world stages. Considered one of the world’s best pipers, Jack Lee has won all of the top international awards available, twice winning the Highland Society of London Gold medal (2001 and 1981) and twice, the coveted Clasp at Inverness (2010 and 1994).
Meanwhile their teaching expertise is sought globally, including annual field schools in New Zealand and throughout the eastern U.S.“Wherever we go,” adds Jack Lee, “people recognize SFU, and thanks to the good fortune we’ve had over the years, they’ve come to equate SFU with a successful pipe band. It’s a name we wear with pride.”
Adds Terry: “ I'd like to think that the legacy of the pipe band is the sustaining of musical excellence - both in the senior band but, in addition, among our youth band. “There have now been many hundreds of kids come through our system and to see them grow as people and musicians is fantastic. With Jack and I, cumulatively having four sons come through it all the way to the SFUPB we feel like our future is bright.”
Convocation ceremonies run from the afternoon of June 11 – June 14. For a list of honorary degree recipients: http://www.sfu.ca/convocation/honorary-degrees.html
Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.
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