Thurlow Lann Lieurance, described as a widely influential member of the Lacombe community, passed away earlier this month on Aug. 3rd.
His impact in Lacombe was particularly felt in the arts and music community. He was president of the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre Foundation (LPACF) and the creator of the Music in the Park program.
Through the LPACF he was heavily involved in the partnership of the Cranna Community Cultural Centre, known as the C4 Initiative and was a member of several community music groups and committees.
“When my husband and I came and visited Lann before moving to Lacombe, he said the community was a little jewel in the middle of Alberta. It really stuck with me that he felt that way about the community – he had this really positive feeling about the whole community. I think that really showed in the things he got involved in,” said close friend and colleague Ellen Corea.
“Part of his dream was to have a performing arts centre and theatre here that would answer the needs of musicians and other groups in the community. He wanted to bring something that was missing in the community.”
Lieurance was not originally from Lacombe. Corea said he had spent time in cities like Calgary and Edmonton playing with a number of bands in different genres of music. She said he used the connections made through these experiences to implement Music in the Park.
“A couple of years ago we started talking about what would be a neat thing to do in the community would be and his dream was Music In the Park,” she said.
“He wanted to bring mainly professional musicians from his contacts into Lacombe and provide that type of entertainment for free. He just wanted to bring exposure to all different types of music genres.
“He was really great at calling in his favours so that he got professional musicians coming from Calgary and Edmonton to do Music in the Park. Lann is the one who brought all those musicians together. It was just wonderful to work on that project with him. It was a really neat idea and it’s a great project.”
Lieurance was involved in a number of other community groups as well.
“He worked with the Lacombe Lions Community Band for awhile, was past director of Flat Iron Jazz, where he was still active in playing tenor saxophone,” said close friend and fellow jazz musician Grant Harder.
“He was a terrific composer and arranger. The Alberta Big Rocks Band that was here a couple of weeks ago – Lann had composed their whole set of songs. He could sit and listen to a record and transcribe it note for note for every instrument in the band – that’s pretty cool.”
Both Corea and Harder said Lieurance’s passing would impact members of the community outside his personal circle.
“He didn’t realize the kind of inspiration that he gave to young people especially. That was part of his vision with the arts centre – he wanted a place for children to be exposed to the arts, and become familiar with them and then grow up through the ranks. In that way, you’re actually supporting culture on a grassroots level,” Corea said.
According to Corea, the C4 Initiative has initial plans and estimates being constructed. The LPACF committee will continue to work in partnership with the Lacombe Day Care, Lacombe and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), Parent Link Centre and Small Wonders Family Day Home to move the project forward.
Harder said, “I think the biggest thing is that he’s going to leave such a big hole in the arts and music community in Lacombe. He’s a transplant, like so many of us, but the impact he had on the community was tremendous. His influence on the art community in Lacombe is second to none.”