by Dominic Alati Jr. – Zeta Omicron
I love Kappa Kappa Psi. I have loved this order since my induction in 1985 at The University of Akron. The opportunity to serve the college and university bands to the highest level has been a constant source of inspiration in every corner of my life. But it was a singular experience at my first National Convention in 1987 at The University of Michigan that sealed my faith in our continuous mission.
I was on my way back to my room to rest after a very long hot day..meetings..NIB rehearsal..committee sessions..I was really tired. I passed through the TV room, where I ran into one of our greatest brothers ever, our 3rd National President, writer of our Constitution and National Parliamentarian for life, Dr. J.Lee Burke.
Dr. Burke had spoken to our district earlier that evening, so I was pleased to see him again. He asked me if I was enjoying the convention and I affirmed that I had. I was about to say goodnight when Dr. Burke asked..”Young Man, do you have a few minutes to spend with an old fella?” I said “Well sure. Absolutely Dr. Burke”. Now I thought this would be an hour or so, because it was about midnight. When Dr. Burke and I stopped talking, it was about 4 in the morning, and in those four hours, Dr. Burke told me the history of Kappa Kappa Psi from his perspective.
It was wonderful how he took me through how Kappa Kappa Psi was developed in its beginnings, and how the order survived the Great Depression and World War II. He told me about Bohumil Makovsky, Founder Scroggs and A. Frank Martin and how the National Intercollegiate Band came to be. He also shared with me the struggles the fraternity went through during the 60’s and the period of civil unrest. Every time he said something, I had so many questions that Dr. Burke just lovingly and patiently answered for me. I did not want that night to end.
When I was finally getting ready to go to bed, Dr. Burke said something to me that has driven me in my service ever since. He said “Young man, I want you to remember one thing. Your service does not end when you cross the stage at your graduation. You are still bound by our third degree, and your duty to serve the bands is one that lasts a lifetime”. That statement opened up my perspective of Kappa Kappa Psi from not just being a land-locked program at my school, but a great order of musicians with the same common mission, and I have learned that, wherever I go, every brother of Kappa Kappa Psi is MY brother. We live..we die..that’s what we do. But the mission of Kappa Kappa Psi lives forever. That means..I live FOREVER!!! AEA to all my brothers!!