Forty-eight individuals were recently recognized at the annual Mayor’s Recognition Awards Presentation Ceremony.
“These awards embody the great community spirit that Red Deerians have,” said Mayor Morris Flewwelling. “The efforts and accomplishments of the recipients have enhanced the image of our community or have made a significant contribution to the City.”
The Mayor’s Recognition Awards were established in 1990 to recognize and celebrate achievements, and volunteer service by individuals, teams or groups. Recipients were recognized in a number of categories including Athletics, Citizenship, Fine and Performing Arts and the Mayor’s Special Award.
The Red Deer Arts Council presented the Princess Margaret Scholarship and two Canada Centennial Scholarships at the event. Dr. Robert (Bob) Cooper and Claude Lapalme, were honoured as this year’s recipients of the Mayor’s Special Award, the highest possible recognition from the City of Red Deer.
Dr. Cooper has been described as not only an extraordinary physician, but a passionate community leader who served the local community as well as the medical profession. He graduated from medical school in 1957 and started his practice in Assinboia, Sask. In 1964 he and his wife Anne came to Red Deer.
Dr. Cooper joined the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) in 1964 and was involved in various AMA committees almost every year after that. Dr. Cooper served as delegate to the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) Representative Forum and President of the AMA Section of General Practice. In 1980 – 1981 he was President of the Alberta Medical Association. In these roles, Dr. Cooper was instrumental in strengthening the voice of the AMA in representing the province’s physicians on a local and national scale.
Dr. Cooper served as coroner for over 40 years in our community. He also served on the board of directors for the Red Deer Hospice Society for six years and is still an ongoing supporter of the important work that the Red Deer Hospice does.
He has served on the Red Deer Public School Board as chairman and also served on the Red Deer College Board of Governors as chairman. RDC and the community recognize Dr. Cooper as an important part of Red Deer College history. He provided effective leadership to the board of governors during a time of transition and was supportive of post secondary education in Central Alberta. He was involved in starting Crime Stoppers in Red Deer, as well.
Meanwhile, Lapalme has distinguished himself in the orchestral music field as a superb conductor, an exceptional arranger, outstanding music director, composer and orchestrator, both nationally and internationally. Over the past 23 years he has been the music director of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. His artistic direction has led the orchestra to a fully professional level. Red Deer prides itself to be the only city of our size in Canada to have a fully professional orchestra.
Lapalme has developed a variety of education and outreach programs that responded to the needs of the schools and the community. Annually these programs serve between 6,000 – 10,000 people in Central Alberta.
One of the most notable programs is Choir Kids – a program created in 1998 by Lapalme. This program is unique in Canada and provides elementary school choirs the opportunity to work with a professional orchestra.
He has also created and introduced into the community a multitude of programs such as Symphonic Show N’ Tell – a free program providing elementary students with a unique, interactive musical experience. Each year reaching up to 3,600 students; the Educational Rehearsal Program – a free program for school children, home schoolers and music students of all ages which allows them to attend the dress rehearsal of a Main Series concert and observe the orchestra at work. The Woodwind Quintet Program – is a free program for junior and senior high school students where the RDSO woodwind quintet and Lapalme perform in schools throughout the City and Central Alberta to motivate the students to continue with their band studies.
He has built numerous partnerships and relationships in the community between the professional and amateur musicians. Each year Lapalme works with a variety of amateur arts organizations in Central Alberta, providing them with professional opportunities and guidance that they would not otherwise have access to.
He and his connections on the national and international level as an orchestrator, have helped bring many opportunities to the Central Alberta region. He is a sought after orchestrator, working with clients such as Ian Tyson, Marvin Hamish, Aaron Pritchett and many others. Many of these artists have now performed in Red Deer as direct result of Lapalme’s collaborations with them.
Lapalme’s work beyond Central Alberta has helped to put Red Deer on the cultural map.