Sunday, December 17, 2017

Camosun music instructor Daniel Lapp comes home for the holidays

November 29, 2017 by Fred Cameron, contributing writer

When Daniel Lapp isn’t teaching music classes at Camosun through the Victoria Conservatory of Music, the world-class fiddler is organizing his annual Home for Christmas concerts. Lapp—who is also, among other things, a singer and multi-instrumentalist—is legendary in the fiddle scene, having played with Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles, Lou Reed, Spirit of the West, and Elvis Costello, among others, and has travelled across Canada, the USA, and Europe to play his music.

And now he’s bringing it all back home for the holidays.

“Regardless of your faith, it’s a special time of year,” Lapp says. “As busy as we get, we need to stay connected to our family. It seems so obvious, and yet it’s something that we don’t do enough of. The idea of getting the family together and going downtown together, getting the last few presents and going for dinner [and] going to a concert that is very much about celebrating our community with joyful, good-intentioned, uplifting music has become a soulful, magical experience that a lot of people don’t want to miss.”

Local fiddle player Daniel Lapp loves the holidays and loves Victoria (photo by A Perreault).

To keep things fresh this year, Lapp has added a distinctly Canadian twist to complement some of the standard favourites.

“What will be unique about this year,” Lapp says, “is it will be about 80 percent Canadian content—Christmas carols, written by Canadians. Most people might have heard some of them. You will hear some of the old standards, but we look forward to singing a lot of Canadian songs, too—Sarah McLachlan, The Band, and Stan Rogers, for example.”

Lapp, along with folk/blues legend Roy Forbes, will lead a group of roughly 200 musicians on stage at the concert, including some of his Camosun students.

“We have our house band, the Swing’n Shepherds,” says Lapp. “This year we will have Danuel Tate on organ; Jamie Troy, who is a drummer and a bagpiper; Peter Dowse on bass. We’ll have the Strings of Lights, made up of Camosun students. We’ll have some representation of the Shiny H’Ornaments, which is our horn section. We will have the Joy of Life Choir, which is made up of 90 singers. Folkestra, our adult folk ensemble, is 50 people this year. There are 50 kids from the BC Fiddle Orchestra.”

Lapp has been in Victoria since 1989 and has become an institution in Victoria’s folk scene. He’s seen the world, but, for him, Victoria is home.

“One thing leads to another in this business,” says Lapp. “There have been temptations to leave for various reasons and pursue the dream, but I realized on a tour with Rickie Lee Jones—we were at Heathrow Airport, and everyone else was flying to the cities I thought I wanted to live in—Paris, LA, New York—and I had an epiphany. I was really looking forward to flying home to Victoria. I’m a BC boy, and I don’t think I’ll ever leave.”

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