The Professional Singer and Director Leveraged His Downtime During the Pandemic to Put the Finishing Touches on the Restoration of the Unparalleled Curtis and Lillian Meyer
Frank Lloyd Wright is renowned as one of the most notable architects in American history, designing over one thousand structures in his 70- year career. His cutting-edge homes boast unmatched innovation and breathtaking beauty. Those fortunate to own a Wright home hold the tall task of preserving history and doing his legacy justice. The Curtis and Lillian Meyer House in Kalamazoo County was purchased by a unique buyer with a larger-than-life vision. Doug LaBrecque, a celebrated Broadway singer and symphonic Pop’s soloist and director, purchased the home in 2003 and used part of his downtime during the pandemic to place the finishing touches on restoring the historic house to its original glory.
LaBrecque’s unexpected interest in the long-term restoration project became a passion and form of artistry for the singer as he sought to breathe new life into the historic home. Finished in 1951, the Solar Hemicycle residence is a pristine example of Wright’s evolving style and mastery. LaBrecque became enthralled in reviving the one-of-a-kind house. The restoration was overseen by Lawrence R. Brink, an apprentice of Wright, and the premiere Wright specialist architect, John Eifler. The project took place over ten years, using the original blueprints and drawings as their guide. The Meyer House has become a widely celebrated and published home that has received awards for its significance and meticulous restoration. The house has been referenced in books and periodicals about Mr. Wright’s iconic architectural style. The Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy has honored Doug with the Wright Spirit Award in the private category.
The Wright Spirit Award Wright is bestowed to homeowners who have rescued a building or demonstrated outstanding conservation stewardship. The Meyer House is again an architectural gem thanks to Mr. LaBrecque’s vision and drive. Through proof of concept, dedication to the craft, and unwavering commitment to preserving Frank Lloyd Wright’s work; Doug LaBrecque’s purpose-driven vision has come to fruition as he is honored by the FLW Conservancy with the Wright Spirit Award.
About Doug LaBrecque
Doug LaBrecque is an internationally recognized professional singer and veteran of hit shows like Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and the original Broadway cast of ShowBoat. One of the most prolific concert performers of his generation, Mr. LaBrecque has performed with over 125 symphonies and been a soloist with some of the world’s finest, including The National Symphony, The Israel Philharmonic (Tel Aviv), The Chicago Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Detroit Symphony, The San Francisco Symphony, among many others.
Still an active singer, Mr. LaBrecque is also a creator and co-producer of Symphonic Pops Concerts. He was recently appointed the Artistic/Executive Director of the Oconee Performing Arts Society(OPAS) in beautiful Greensboro GA. The owner of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Curtis and Lillian Meyer House, Doug LaBrecque dedicated over a decade to restoring a Wright masterpiece to its original glory and preserving a small part of Wright’s legacy by breathing new life into an iconic home.
“Buying the house was a considerable risk for me. The process was the reward. While Wright’s Usonian vision and the idea of cooperative living was forward-thinking and somewhat impractical, it was doable in post-depression/midcentury America. The house is located amongst three other Wright houses and one Wright apprentice house in The Acres, the only example of Wright’s Usonia that has not been altered or developed. I am the current owner, but it is HIS house. My goal has been not to force the next owner to undo any of my “improvements” Wright was a genius, and I am proven wrong whenever I think there is a better way. I am grateful for the accolades, but I am just a singer who has been blessed with the opportunity not to muck it up before passing it on to the next victim.”