Band that honored Virginia Beach victims lost one of its own in shooting

Virginia Beach Mass Shooting

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — There was a special performance Wednesday night at the memorial outside the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. 

A local pipe band honored the victims and also, one of their own.

54-year-old Christopher Rapp was a member of Tidewater Pipes and Drums. He was one of 12 people killed in Friday’s shooting.

Like so many times before, band members of Tidewater Pipes and Drums suited up to pay their respects. Only this time, the pain is personal. 

“Well it’s band practice night and Chris couldn’t come to us so we decided we would come to Chris,” said Jeff Christman, vice-president of Tidewater Pipes and Drums.

Rapp joined the band in 2018. Two other band members were also inside the building during the shooting. One of their newest members, Rapp was a piper and loved to play.

“We waited up to hear from Chris because we knew he was in that building,” Christman said. “He didn’t answer his phone all through the night.”

Christman said the band wanted to honor Rapp and the 11 other victims the best way they know how. 

With rain falling from the sky, the sound of bagpipes playing Amazing Grace filled the air. A solo piper stood behind each white cross and played the unmistakable tune. On the 12th verse, the entire band joined in.

“There were 12 people in each one of them deserve to be recognized individually for their individual walk in this life,” Christman said.

After the final verse, members formed a “missing man” band circle, leaving an empty space for Rapp.

“We’re playing for him and with him,” Christman said.

Although gone from this earth, Christman said Rapp’s memory will live on in their music. 

“He was a good man. He was a good band mate. You couldn’t ask for anything better,” he said.

A service for Rapp will be held at 3 p.m. on June 9 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, located at 5181 Singleton Way in Virginia Beach.

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