Horace Lapp

Horace (Gladstone) Lapp. Pianist, organist, conductor, writer, b Uxbridge, near Toronto, 3 Mar 1904, d there 28 Jan 1986. Lapp was a church organist 1917-20 in Beaverton and 1920-2 in Port Hope, Ont, before studying with Alberto Guerrero (piano, 1922-4) and Healey Willan (organ, 1923) at the TCM.

Lapp, Horace

Horace (Gladstone) Lapp. Pianist, organist, conductor, writer, b Uxbridge, near Toronto, 3 Mar 1904, d there 28 Jan 1986. Lapp was a church organist 1917-20 in Beaverton and 1920-2 in Port Hope, Ont, before studying with Alberto Guerrero (piano, 1922-4) and Healey Willan (organ, 1923) at the TCM. He also played piano with Luigi Romanelli's orchestra in Toronto, and was an accompanist to the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir on tour in 1923.

Although Lapp gained some recognition as a composer at this time, composition remained an avocation. In addition to the songs and orchestral works listed in Catalogue of Canadian Composers, however, he completed a concerto for piano and voices in 1958. As a member 1924-35 of Jack Arthur's various Toronto theatre orchestras he composed and conducted music for stage shows at Shea's Hippodrome and the Imperial Theatre. He also accompanied silent films from the piano.

Lapp led a dance band 1934-6 at the Royal Muskoka Hotel, near Port Carling, Ont, and 1936-44 at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. The band was heard on CBC radio and in 1939 appeared in a 12-minute Screen News film, Music from the Stars. Lapp was the organist 1935-54 on Kate Aitken's public affairs programs (heard first on CFRB and then also on CBC radio) and in the early 1950s for sports events at Maple Leaf Gardens. He was the pianist, arranger and occasional conductor 1952-9 for the CBC's 'Opportunity Knocks', the conductor 1962-5 for the Eaton Operatic Society, and a producer 1964-7 of shows at the CNE Bandshell.

In his mid-60s, Lapp was recognized as one of the last surviving silent-film accompanists in Canada. He played for screenings of historic movies at the Ontario Film Institute (Toronto), beginning in 1968, and at the Stratford Film Festival (Stratford Festival) and in Ottawa in 1972. He also recorded sound-tracks for CBC TV's 1969 series of the 37 extant Laurel and Hardy movies. In 1978 for a Film Institute screening of the 1928 Canadian silent movie Carry On Sergeant, Lapp played Ernest Dainty's original accompanying score.

Lapp's writings included a music column 1962-73 for the Arts and Letters Club monthly letter. His unpublished autobiography has been deposited at the National Library of Canada.