A Scholarship entitled the John Trepp Legacy Award for Choral Excellence has been set up through the Vancouver Foundation and, when the principal reaches the goal of $10,000, will become a self sustaining fund that will provide a $500 scholarship to eligible students across the lower mainland.
If you would like to donate to this worthy fund and encourage students as John did, you can make a donation (and receive a tax receipt with any amount $20 or more) at
John Merlin Trepp (January 28, 1941 – March 5, 2014)
It is with profound sadness that I must inform you of the passing of one of the most
influential choral teachers ever to grace our presence, Mr. John Trepp. John went into
the hospital February 16th after returning from Saskatchewan and passed away
peacefully surrounded by family at 11:30pm on March 5th.
John was born in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota on January 28, 1941. “JT” came from a
humble home, as the son of Merlin M. and Mabel J. Trepp. He was educated in
“Catholic mode” at St. Benedict’s Mission, Assumption Abbey HS and St. John’s
University (USA). After teaching for two years in N. Dakota and one year in Alaska,
John accepted the choral music assistantship scholarship at the University of Montana
where he studied with Dr. Lloyd Oakland and Dr. J.A. Mussulman, author of Dear
People, the biography of Robert Shaw. He taught at Chinook High School, Billings
Senior High School and Northern Montana College prior to becoming the Senior Choral
Editor for Hal Leonard Publishing. John moved to Vancouver in Dec. 1976 to work with
Northwest Musical Services and started teaching at Magee in September 1977 and
retired in June 2007.
John’s influence continued after retirement as he was involved in working with a number
of choral programs, mostly in the Vancouver lower mainland, but also stretching across
Canada and also into the States. His presence was always larger than life and he was a
constant student of the game – always deep in thought about how to help people to
better understand the voice and his quest for a better tone through resonance. To so
many of us, he was not only an incredible mentor and valuable resource, but an
amazing friend. He lived an intense life in every aspect, musically and personally, and
he never stopped teaching or learning. I will always remember that it was he, along with
people like Janet Warren, Peter Taylor, and the late Teo Repel who really pioneered the
choral movement in Vancouver and gave so many of us dreams to aspire to. I am
certain that you each have a special fond memory involving John. Hold those memories
close to your heart and know that your grief is shared by a great many people.
He is survived by his 4 sons and will live forever in all of our hearts, minds, and
especially in our music.
We will miss you, John Trepp, thank you for being you and for showing us the way with
your passion, your spirit, and especially, your love.