Marks '96 is official Commencement bagpiper

by Sarah Burch | 6/9/96 5:00am

You may not have run into Joshua Marks '96 during your College career thus far, but he will be impossible to miss at this morning's Commencement exercises.

Marks will be leading the Commencement procession, playing his bagpipes and has had plenty of practice.

Marks said he practices regularly in such remote campus locations as the graveyard, the Bema, and the Connecticut river.

He tries to stay away from areas where he might disturb others, such as classrooms and residence halls, he said.

Lately he has chanced practicing on the Green, where others could take notice, in order to prepare himself for today's procession.

"I've been out there busting my chops for the past couple days," Marks said.

He said he is looking forward to leading the procession but can't entirely rid himself of the butterflies in his stomach.

"I'm very excited but I'm pretty sure I'll have stage fright," Marks said Thursday.

He said it was not an easy task to replace the incumbent leader of the pack.

"It was something I had to look into very early on," Marks said. "It required some negotiation."

Bagpiper Andrew Logan of Springfield, Mass., has been leading the procession for the past 10 years, Marks said.

Marks has his own experience under his belt, however.

He said he developed an interest for the bagpipes when he was 10 or 11 years old, in the cub scouts. He quit the bagpipes but eventually took it up again his freshman summer.

"I didn't have a really cool internship," Marks said. "I've never had that much time to devote to an instrument."

Marks played the bagpipe in the College marching band his freshman fall.

Since he began playing the bagpipes, the instrument has helped him to relax.

"The days I play are better then the days I don't," Marks said in a College press release.

"If I don't play for a while, I tend to get stressed out," he said.

Marks said he practices 30 minutes a day.

The bagpiper was introduced to the College's ceremony in 1953, for the arrival of President Dwight Eisenhower as commencement speaker.

Marks will also be performing at the Class day festivities in the Bema on June 8.