Gary Lamprecht is San Luis Obispo County’s “Music Man.” He has brought choral music to countless number of students, choral participants and audiences for more than 35 years. His cultural legacy is unified voices in beautiful song, bringing the world and diversity of choral music to the central coast.
Gary can’t remember a time he wasn’t interested in music. He joined the choir in 5th grade and he was hooked. He graduated from Long Beach High School and he received his musical education at Long Beach City College with Wayne B. Gard, California State University at Long Beach with Wes Reed and Frank Pooler and at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo with John Russell.
Gary was a choral teacher from 1973 until his retirement in 2006. He taught 7th through 12th grade choral music at Laguna Middle School, Morro Bay High School and San Luis Obispo High School. Under his direction, the choirs collected numerous Superior and Command Performance Awards in both traditional choral and vocal jazz festivals. Mr. Lamprecht was a “favorite” teacher to many a student.
Gary has received local and state accolades for his teaching. He was honored as the first “Teacher of the Year” for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District in 1985, and again in 1999. He was selected County Teacher of the Year for the 1998-99 school year and honored as a California State Mentor Teacher.
In 1977, Gary and other choral enthusiasts founded the San Luis Obispo Vocal Arts Ensemble. In its 30-plus year history, the group has traveled the world to remarkable international acclaim, receiving many honors. Gary continues to direct and conduct the Ensemble today.
Seeing the void in choral competitions in the United States, Gary spearheaded the formation of the California International Choral Festival & Competition in 2007. It is the first and only choral competition in the United States. The event takes place every other year (odd years) and is hosted by the Vocal Arts Ensemble. Since its formation, the Vocal Arts Ensemble has hosted 14 choirs from eight countries for the competition. Preparation is under way for 2011.
Choral music is still very fresh for Gary. His favorite choral music is from Master composers – Bach and Mozart – as well as American composers Lauridsen and Whitacre. He feels the music taps into people’s humanity and can take on a spiritual meaning. Conducting the Vocal Arts Ensemble is a pure joy to him, working with members as passionate about the music and singing as himself.
Gary is married to Patricia, who sings in the San Luis Obispo Vocal Arts Ensemble, and plays viola in the San Luis Obispo Symphony. They have twin daughters, Carey and Amber, who play violin and oboe, and a son, Darby, who plays trumpet.