Wilbur A. Schram
1904 - 1995
Wilbur Schram was a versatile musician with interests in many areas. He was raised in Battle Creek, Michigan, an early center for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. An organist and pianist, he studied under Edwin Barnes, noted Battle Creek organist.
Following graduation from Battle Creek Academy, he attended Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, Michigan, for a year and Western State Normal, now Western Michigan University, for two years before returning to Battle Creek College (not related to the BCC affiliated with the SDA church), where he completed a B.A. in 1929. During his four years at BCC, he conducted the Battle Creek Tabernacle Orchestra and the orchestras at the college and Battle Creek Academy and played oboe in the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra.
Following graduation, Schram served as principal at Indiana Academy, where he also taught history and conducted the orchestra. After two years at IA, he accepted a position as head of the music program at Fox River Academy in Illinois. While there he became fascinated with organ construction, began to draw consoles and mechanisms, and eventually started building one.
When he left FRA in 1933, he took his organ with him, finally completing it five years later. A year after leaving FRA he became head of the music department at Broadview Academy, a position he held for the next fifteen years. During this time, he completed a B.A. degree in music education at Vandercook College in Chicago and a master's degree in music at Northwestern University.
In 1949 Schram was invited by Atlantic Union College to chair its music department and teach. During his four-year tenure there he conducted the band, orchestra, and male glee club. He toured extensively with his groups and expanded an annual multi-faceted music festival program sponsored by the college that had started in 1948 for Adventist academies in the region. AUC students appreciated his patience and unfailing sense of humor in rehearsals.
Schram accepted a position in the music program at Southwestern Junior College, now Southwestern Adventist University, in 1953. During the next fifteen years, he taught organ, woodwinds, and brass, directed the band, and served during part of that time as head of the Fine Arts Department. He retired in 1968.
Sources: AUC paper, The Lancastrian, 8 April 1949; 19 August 1949, 1; 8 December 1949; 26 January 1950; 7 May 1951; SWJC yearbooks, Mizpah, 1954-1968; The Chronicle of Southwestern Adventist College, 134.