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Oakland Fire victim had Park City roots

Edmond Lapine started his first band here

Edmond Lapine became enamored with music at a young age. When he was only a few months old, he would fondly respond to the tunes his mother, Sami Long Kopelman, would sing and hum to him.

Kopelman said Lapine remained dedicated to music from when he grew up in Park City to when a warehouse fire in Oakland, California, claimed his life on Dec. 2.

One of 36 victims, the 34-year-old DJ was at the building called Ghost Ship, where artists lived and collaborated, to support fellow musicians performing at a party there when it caught fire.

Lapine, who lived in Oakland, would play his mixes at small shows. But before he chased a career in electronic music, he experimented with the punk and grunge genres when he lived in Park City with Kopelman, now a resident of Vancouver, Washington.

Born in Ogden on Oct. 1 ,1982, Lapine moved to Park City with his mother in 1986.

Kopelman said his need to make art started on his fourth Christmas when she gave him a Fisher-Price cassette player.

“It didn’t take long for Edmond to learn how to record his own voice on the cassette player,” Kopelman wrote in an email she sent to The Park Record.

Lapine moved on to using a video camera to film his toys, but music was always part of his movies.

“He would be found staging toys around the living room,” Kopelman wrote. “He recited stories or played songs as he filmed his staged characters. He seemed to have figured out how to do these things on his own.”

Kopelman told The Park Record that Lapine’s artistic and energetic attitude was also witnessed by teachers when he attended Park City Elementary School.

Lapine’s first-grade teacher enjoyed his company, while also finding it taxing at times, Kopelman said.

When it was time for Lapine to go to middle school, his parents wanted him to be in an environment that fostered his creative endeavors. Rather than staying in the Park City school system, Lapine went to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School and then to Judge Memorial High School. Both are in Salt Lake City.

He, however, stayed connected to the Park City community by attending St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church.

“He received his first holy communion and his confirmation there,” Kopelman said.

Lapine also formed a band in Park City when he was in middle school.

“For Edmond’s 13th birthday, we gave him an acoustic guitar,” Kopelman wrote. “The following birthday, we gave him a Fender Stratocaster which solidified Edmond’s rocker gene.”

The musician was also part of Park City’s Boy Scouts of America troop. Kopelman said he had fun traveling to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming with them.

His need to explore always brought out the adventurer in Lapine, especially when he moved to Bellevue, Washington, to go to college.

“Edmond went to Bellevue Community College because his best friend, Britt Laswell — formerly of Park City — was going to attend college there,” Kopelman wrote. “They loaded up a rental moving truck, driven by Britt’s mother, and left for Bellevue in August 2001.”

Lapine went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He also completed an independent study in Paris.

“He had more style than anyone,” Lapine’s friend Ben English wrote on an Facebook post. “He was a deep, intentional thinker with a wide range of cultivated interests and would jump at the opportunity to educate you, to make you better, to show you this amazing album ‘I can’t believe you haven’t heard this.’ But, I think his greatest quality was that he was kind.”

After college, Lapine still focused on music. Kopelman said he had an extensive record collection. She is glad she got to spend Thanksgiving weekend shopping for music with her only son.

“Edmond and I visited a Laurelhurst vinyl shop in Portland where he made some prized purchases,” she wrote.

For more information on Lapine and the scholarship fund that has been created in his honor, please see his obituary.


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