OLYMPIA, WASH. (August 9, 2017) — When Edmond Lapine ’08 was four years old, he received a Fischer-Price cassette player for Christmas. Already a lover of music and books, it didn’t take long for Lapine to learn how to record his own voice on the cassette player. Soon after, he learned how to use the family video camera.
“I would find him staging toys around the living room,” recalls his mom, Sami Kopelman. “He recited stories or played songs as he filmed his staged characters. The music-loving portions of Edmond’s heart and brain were awakened.”
Tragically, Lapine was among the 36 people who died in a fire at the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland on Dec. 2, 2016, where friends were gathered for a night of music and fun.
In his honor, Sami Kopelman and many of his friends and colleagues have created the Edmond William Lapine II Scholarship at The Evergreen State College Foundation, created to provide financial impetus for anyone deserving of a college education but lacking financial assistance.
“College was not easy for Edmond,” shares Kopelman. “He did not know exactly what he wanted to do with his education. What he did know was that his college experience had to involve writing and music in an environment that fostered creativity and freedom of self-expression. Evergreen fulfilled his requirement for creativity and the freedom to achieve his version of success.”
Now, fellow musicians and alumni are coming together to help fund that scholarship. Calvin Johnson ’85, is a musician, cultural icon, and founder of Olympia’s K Records, where Lapine had interned.
“I really liked him,” says Johnson. “He had a gentle nature, a love of music, and was a snappy dresser. His death was a shock to many here in Olympia. When his mother started the endowment fund for the Edmond William Lapine II Scholarship at The Evergreen State College I wanted to help raise the funds as a tribute to this delightful person who left us much too soon.”
A tour is scheduled to include benefit performances August 12 and 13 in Oakland, August 18 in Portland, August 19 in Olympia, and November 4 on Evergreen’s campus during Return to Evergreen. Current Evergreen staff member Melanie Valera of Tender Forever and Kelly Norman ’09 of The Maxines will be performing at the Portland and Olympia events.
Both Kopleman and Johnson say support for Edmond has been tremendous since his passing, especially among his peers of musicians and artists, and is evident in the organization of these benefit shows.
“This is the way Edmond’s friends feel they can contribute to the endowment fund. Their financial resources are limited but their creative energies are boundless,” says Johnson.
Evergreen would like to also recognize the loss of another graduate in the Oakland fire, Joseph Matlock ’99, known to many as Joey Casio. Both musicians were honored at an event in February at the Capitol Theater in Olympia.
“Extending these events throughout the year provide a way for Edmond’s friends to hold on to and celebrate him for just a little while longer,” says Johnson.
Edmond William Lapine II Scholarship benefit events
August 12, Oakland (CA), 6-8 p.m. @ E.M. Wolfman (reading of Edmond Lapine’s poetry book Vertical Dreaming)
Readers include Madeleine Nutting, Kate Robinson, and Calvin Johnson
August 13, Oakland (CA), 4-8 p.m. @ DIRT
Performers include Little Angry and the Sweets, Flying Circles, Golden Drugs, Selector Dub Narcotic, DJ OND4.
August 18, Portland (OR), 8-11 p.m. @ Black Water
Performers include Tender Forever, The Maxines, Selector Dub Narcotic, Lungs
August 19, Olympia (WA), 8-11 p.m. @ Obsidian
Performers include Tender Forever, The Maxines, Selector Dub Narcotic