KPU to award Langley music school founders honorary degrees

Fri, Apr 17, 2015

Metro Vancouver, B.C. – The Langley Community Music School wouldn’t exist today if not for the passion, dedication and utter love of music of its five founders.

Linda Bickerton-Ross, Peter Ewart, Dr. Keith Lamont, Marilyn Lamont and Leonard Woods founded the school – one of the leading institutions of its kind – more than 45 years ago. This spring, in the fitting venue of Kwantlen Polytechnic University and before an audience of graduating students in the Faculty of Arts and family and friends each founder will be awarded an honorary degree.

It’s the first time KPU has bestowed individual honorary degrees on a collective of recipients, and the first time the university has awarded degrees posthumously. Both Ewart and Woods have passed away.

“Langley Community Music School has advanced music education and indeed opportunities for countless music students in Langley and the wider region,” said KPU president and vice chancellor Alan Davis. “This is entirely due to the work of those first founders and their incredible spirit, forethought and determination.”

While collectively honored by KPU, each of the five founders made significant individual contributions to the development of LCMS.

It was Ewart who dreamed of developing an arts centre on his five-acre property in the City of Langley more than 45 years ago. He designed and built an elegant model but his application to erect the structure was ultimately denied by the council of the day over concerns about zoning. Council suggested there may be a more suitable location in Langley City Park, and sealing the deal was Lamont’s stunning and generous offer to finance construction of the arts centre, and to donate it to the city.

In 1969, Ewart and Lamont successfully reapplied to council for an arts centre in Langley City Park and, by 1970, the Langley Arts Centre became a reality, and the Langley Community Music School became its foremost tenant.

Bickerton-Ross, Marilyn Lamont and Leonard Woods subsequently introduced the quality music education program that matured into one of the most significant music schools in the province.

“Without the founders’ vision, collaborative effort, high degree of co-operation, diligence and perseverance, the arts centre and ultimately the music school may never have come to fruition,” said Barry Hill, past president of LCMS who nominated the five founders.

The LCMS connection to KPU goes back to the late 1980s with the two institutions discussing collaborative possibilities while growing apace on their own. LCMS students who wish to pursue a career in music as well-rounded musicians have the option of KPU’s Bachelor of Music in Musical Arts Degree program, among other opportunities in the field of music.

As LCMS and KPU have grown, areas of co-operation have widened to include chamber music, coaching, adjudications, reciprocal concerts, audience development and a range of associated musical activities.

Honorary degrees are awarded to those honoris causa in recognition of dignified achievements or outstanding service to the public. Nominees are exceptionally distinguished scholars, creative artists, public servants, people prominent in the community and the professions, and others who have made significant contributions locally, nationally, or globally.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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