A man who made his mark in education and the performing arts has died.
Henry Waack, who received a lifetime achievement award from the Coquitlam-Maple Ridge branch of the B.C. Registered Music Teachers Association and an Excellence in the Arts award from the ArtsConnect Tri-Cities Arts Council, died Oct. 4. He was 85.
Waack moved to B.C. in 1970, and was a founding member of Douglas College.
"He was there at the very beginning of the music program in 1970," said Bob Caldwell, coordinator of the Community Music School and a member of the college's faculty of music. "They worked out of a little church hall. There wasn't even property at that time."
Before moving to New Westminster in 1970, Waack taught in Alberta, played semi-pro baseball and hockey, and was a provincially ranked tennis player. In Alberta, he produced many musicals, was a music critic for the Lethbridge Herald and played in the Jasper Park Lodge orchestra for seven seasons in the early 1960s - where he met celebrities like Bing Crosby.
"He'd tell stories about all sorts of stars," Caldwell said. "Some would be performing; some would be passing through."
Waack won many awards and scholarships, and studied piano with leading Canadian, American and European teachers. He also made an impact with the thousands of students he taught through his career.
"He was a great teacher," said Caldwell, who had Waack as an instructor in the 1970s.
"He taught piano, classical piano. He was very confident playing jazz and pop."
Throughout his career, Waack was musical director for more than 75 musicals.
Waack retired in 1993, but continued teaching at the college part-time for another five years. He taught privately until four months ago - marking 71 years of teaching.
A funeral will be held on Friday, Oct. 11 at 11 a.m. at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, 710 Sixth St. in New Westminster. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Henry Waack Scholarship Fund (in care of the Douglas College Foundation, David Lam Campus, 1250 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, B.C., V3B 7X3).
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