FAU Receives Gift Worth More Than $5 Million to Establish the Bob Lappin and Palm Beach Pops Legacy, and Support Music Education

Thursday, Nov 30, 2023
Bob Lappin

Florida Atlantic University has received a gift worth more than $5 million – including assets and an extensive music library – to enhance its music programs and establish a legacy for the Palm Beach Pops and its founder and music director, Bob Lappin. The gift was donated by the Legacy Foundation of Palm Beach County, an extension of the Palm Beach Pops. The extensive music library is comprised of more than 1,600 titles and scores – a significant amount of which were arranged by the industry’s most prestigious arrangers and from some of the Great American Songbook’s greatest composers.   

Jon and Bob Lappin“For the past three decades, the Palm Beach Pops was an integral part of the performing cultural arts and music education in South Florida,” said Jon Lappin, president and executive director of the Legacy Foundation of Palm Beach County/Palm Beach Pops. “This music must be heard and taught, not only because of its rich American roots, but also because it is the result of the massive collaboration of so many musicians, supporters, county institutions, students, and, of course, the unyielding pursuit of artistic excellence for more than 30 years. This donation preserves the legacy and extraordinary accomplishments of the maestro – my father, the late Bob Lappin – and the Palm Beach Pops.”  

FAU’s Department of Music within the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters will establish the Bob Lappin and the Palm Beach Pops Music Legacy Endowment to fund scholarships, graduate fellowships and other student financial aid to recruit and retain top music students. It also provides financial support for students to purchase higher quality instruments, as well as specialized instruments and pianos within the music department. This support will bolster the Department of Music’s successful degree programs in commercial music, music education, music performance, and conducting, which have produced Grammy-winning artists and producers, industry-leading music executives, world-class music educators, and top-tier scholars. 

“We are extremely grateful to the Legacy Foundation of Palm Beach County and Palm Beach Pops for this important gift to our Department of Music,” said FAU President Stacy Volnick. “The Palm Beach Pops brought entertainment and joy to listeners of all ages, and we’re proud to recognize its legacy and carry forward its mission of music education. This gift benefits not only our students but the larger community.”  

The Palm Beach Pops music library collection also includes archival recordings and programming records of all Palm Beach Pops concerts for nearly 30 years, including an album and arrangements produced by Michael Zager, renowned FAU Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar and director of the FAU Commercial Music program and its Hoot/Wisdom Recordings label.   

FAU will continue the Palm Beach Pops legacy of music education by expanding student outreach, allowing students throughout Palm Beach County to tour the FAU music facilities and observe rehearsals and classes. It also received the Palm Beach Pops brand, trademark and associated entities. In honor of Lappin and the Palm Beach Pops, FAU will host an annual legacy concert which may include former musicians performing side-by-side with select FAU student musicians for students and the public. Additionally, FAU will establish a public tribute to Lappin and the Palm Beach Pops in the University Theatre lobby with artifacts, photos and other items on permanent display. 

Lappin founded the Palm Beach Pops in 1991, and quickly distinguished itself as a world-class pops orchestra dedicated to preserving the Great American Songbook and devoted to serving the children of the community with quality music education programs. Following Lappin’s death in 2013, the Pops board established the Legacy Foundation of Palm Beach County, led by his son, Jon Lappin. Its mission was to encourage a greater appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of live music with a positive message and facilitate learning experiences and technical musical prowess by funding students’ musical aspirations through lessons, instruments, camps and more. It also awarded scholarships to talented music students and promising conductors. Its outreach programs had taught nearly 100,000 music students in the county through the “Music & You” in-school youth education program.  

“Bob Lappin and The Palm Beach Pops made an indelible mark on music for both music students and the community, and we are proud to carry forward his legacy through our Department of Music,” said Michael Horswell, Ph.D., dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters.