Tripp receives Music Advocacy Award
On March 12, Cassville High School vocal music director Mary Richmiller, presented Lee Tripp with the Cassville R-4 School District's 2013 Music Advocacy Award.
Tripp has been a music advocate in the local area since 1990. His contributions have included supporting the music programs offered at many local school districts and using his musical talents to minister at church services and events.
"Music has been and continues to be a major part of his life," said Richmiller.
Tripp, who grew up in Chowchilla, Calif., was an active band member throughout his elementary and high school career. Tripp enjoyed a home life with Ollice and Mary Tripp that was centered around music.
"His father was a fiddle player and played many other instruments," said Richmiller. "He was very well known in the old time fiddling and bluegrass genres as a phenomenal bassist. His base playing has graced such stages as the Grand Ole Opry."
Richmiller said Tripp has often recounted childhood memories of sitting on Little Jimmy Dickens' lap while his father and uncles played music.
"Lee always enjoyed music with his family, but never pursued it as a profession," said Richmiller.
In 1969, Tripp married his wife, Elaine, who helped him learn to play the piano and guitar. The couple, along with their children, Marty and Matt, spent much of the 1980s and 1990s evangelizing and ministering throughout the west and Midwest. Music was always a major focus of their ministry.
"Throughout the early part of this century, Lee operated a music store in Cassville until his retirement in the late 2000s," said Richmiller. "Although it's questionable whether he is indeed retired or not."
At his store, Tripp offered music lessons, instruments, repair services and custom instrument building.
"He was always a huge supporter of area school music programs and donated much of his time, services and finances to help see them flourish," said Richmiller. "There are many churches in the country of Mexico with instruments and sound systems because of the generosity of Lee's heart.
"He is still quick to get an instrument into the hands of an exuberant newcomer anyway he can," added Richmiller.
Tripp's son, Matt was active in the band program at Cassville High School. Now, Tripp's grandchildren also take part in the instrumental music programs.
"He can be found any Sunday sitting on stage at church, playing his guitar with that cheesy smile on his face, surrounded by his daughter, son and three grandchildren, who all provide the music for their local congregation," said Richmiller. "Music is definitely a part of Lee's life, but more than that, it is a gift he has shared with countless people the world over.
"Music and the world are better because of people like Lee Tripp," added Richmiller.