LaChapelle tribute planned April 7

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerApril 5, 2013 

A concert to honor the memory of beloved Tri-City musician John LaChapelle is from 2 to 8 p.m. April 7 at the Shilo Inn in Richland.

LaChapelle, who died in his sleep March 5 at the age of 91, made a powerful impression on an abundant number of young musicians during his 50-plus years of teaching guitar in the Tri-Cities. One of his students, Larry Coryell, went on to fame as a jazz fusion guitarist.

Some of the well-known Tri-City musicians who will be performing at the concert include Steve Haberman, Mary Lou Gnoza, Gary Danielson, Debi and Frank Eng, Ron Monk and Lori Tyler.

Also making the trek from Las Vegas for the memorial event is drummer John Plows, who grew up in the Tri-Cities and played with LaChapelle many times during the '60s and '70s.

"John was a gentleman and a great musician," Haberman said. "I had the honor to play with him on several occasions. He also had a great sense of humor and would say a lot of off-the-wall things that would hit you about 10 minutes later and you wouldn't be able to stop chuckling about."

Haberman recalled the first time he went with LaChapelle to a performance after moving to the Tri-Cities from California.

"The gig was way out in wine country, and it was snowing real bad that night," Haberman said. "Coming from California, I was not used to driving in the snow, so John came and picked me up and got us there and back safely. He even waited until I got in the house before he drove away. That was John LaChapelle."

Frank Eng, one of the event's organizers and a long-time friend of LaChapelle, said there will be a lot of jamming at the event between fellow musicians, friends and his former students.

"This will be a tribute to a great musician, teacher and gentleman," Eng said. "I had the great honor of playing drums with John for more than four decades, often five nights a week. He's a legend, and he is missed."

There is no admission fee to the event, but donations are welcome and will be used to offset the cost of renting the ballroom at the Shilo, Eng said. All ages can attend.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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