Lapp is a Victoria institution for this very reason. The fiddler, trumpet player, singer, songwriter, arranger and composer is one of the most in-demand talents in the local music community, which means he’s often called upon to play charity events and fundraisers.
These are offers Lapp almost always accepts. The 47-year-old learned the value of community goodwill from his mother and father, longtime fixtures in Prince George, where Lapp was born and raised.
“It was really important to them to be really involved in their community,” he said.
“Every year, Mom and Dad would get 100 Christmas cards. The house I grew up in had a card game going a couple of nights a week. They are just those kinds of people, role models who were very engaged with their neighbours and their community.”
Lapp’s father, Clarence, still lives in Prince George. His mother, Charlotte, passed away Nov. 20 at the age of 82. Her death hit Lapp incredibly hard — not only were the two especially close, she would have made the trip to Victoria on Monday to see him receive the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award for community service.
Her presence would have made the moment all the more special, Lapp said. “My mom really did embody that community spirit right until the day she died.”
Like his mother — who played piano for Prince George elementary schools, seniors’ residences and fiddle contests — Lapp hasn’t stopped giving back.
He’s busier than ever these days, especially this week. Lapp and an array of guests and collaborators, including longtime cohorts Mae Moore, Adrian Dolan, Adam Dobres, Rick May and Kelby MacNayr, are staging two concerts on Saturday at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.
The events, part of his ninth annual Home For Christmas Concerts, benefit the Dandelion Society and those living on the street.
The concerts will also feature three of his many long-running projects: The B.C. Fiddle Orchestra, Folkestra and the Joy of Life Choir. Lapp manages the activities of each under Daniel Lapp’s House of Music Society, which at one time was a highly productive business with 20 music teachers contributing. The House of Music is smaller and more manageable these days, but no less valuable, Lapp said.
“Our goal is to get families playing music together. We are working with other arts groups to achieve this long-term goal. We’re trying to set up teaching studios in every neighbourhood, so that a kid can walk to their lesson.”
No doubt, his mother would be proud.
Herewith, a Lapp primer:
You were born and raised in Prince George. At which point did you know the city was not for you for the long term?
Probably when I was about 14. Maybe even earlier. I think I always assumed I would go somewhere and study music and play music, somewhere where there was a scene.
You arrived in Victoria right out of high school. What brought you here?
I came and did two years of trumpet with Lou Ranger at the University of Victoria, in the music program. Then I moved to Toronto and went to Humber College.
What is your favourite thing about Victoria?
The diversity of people.
What is your greatest accomplishment as a person?
I think providing a place for people to gather every week and play music Wednesday nights at Fairfield Church. I also see the kids in the B.C. Fiddle Orchestra on Thursday nights at St. Paul’s Church.
And as a professional?
My ability to have one foot in the old and one foot in the new at the same time. I think that’s appropriate for me, musically.
First album you purchased?
It was a Dixieland record, which I bought because it had the song Five Foot Two on it. That was a tune my grandpa played. It had a saxophone on the front and I was learning the saxophone then. It introduced me to jazz. The second one was Miles Davis with Tadd Dameron.
I have to go with Clifford Brown With Strings. It’s a little bit obscure, but that’s the one.
First concert you attended?
I went to local Prince George concerts when I was a kid, but the one I remember is Burning Spear at UVic when I was 19. I don’t think I went to rock concerts in Prince George when I was a teenager.
Favourite concert you attended?
The most memorable was Jarvis Benoit at the Prince George Playhouse. He was on a cross-Canada tour from Halifax. It was the first time I’d heard Celtic fiddle music. It changed my life. It cemented to me that I was going to go and be a musician.
If you had one motto, or rule to abide by, what would it be?
Here’s my favourite one from my mom: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Daniel Lapp’s ninth annual Home For Christmas Concerts are set for Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (680 Courtney St.) Tickets are available in advance at Ivy’s Books (2188 Oak Bay Ave.), Hemp & Company (1102 Government St.) and at the door.
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