Clovis News

Clovis Senior in the Spotlight: Wilbert Rimper

Who is “Clovis Music Man Wilbert Rimper?”

Wilbert Rimper was born in the early 50s. Rimper was introduced to music by his mentor Robert L. Gomez from Cupertino High School. Gomez gave Rimper free music lessons with wind, brass, string and percussion instruments. Some of Rimper’s accomplishments in the 1960s and 1970s include:

▪ Drum major marching at 1970 Tournament of Roses in Pasadena

▪ Won Music Scholarship Award from San Francisco Symphony to study at S.F. Conservatory of Music

▪ Performed Chamber Music with S.F. and Chicago Symphony members

▪ Conducted halftime shows for San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders football teams

▪ Toured Europe for six weeks performing soloist in the World Horizon’s Orchestra/Band in Germany, Italy, France and Austria

▪ Performed for U.S. President Richard Nixon

▪ Performed solo for Pope Paul VI in Sistine Chapel in the Vatican

▪ Performed back up music for Bing Crosby and Tennessee E. Ford

▪ Received California Musician of the Year Award from Bank of America

▪ Received International Master’s Degree in Music from Paris, France

▪ Conducted, performed and taught music in six countries, with three languages

Rimper was stabbed, shot at and was in a head-on car collision. This resulted in a six-month coma and 10 years of continuous different therapies, oxygen and 18 medications. Rimper lived and was wheelchair bound for 14 years.

In 2005 – 2016, he taught free music lessons to students of all ages (6 years to 93 years old) abilities and disabilities, (autistic, visually impaired and down syndrome). Students performed and shared their love of music at different retirement homes, senior centers and hospitals in Fresno County. Students were recognized and acknowledged by KMPH-24, KSEE-24, Fresno Bee, Clovis Independent, San Jose Mercury and Cupertino Courier Newspapers.

▪ Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and former Clovis Mayor Jose Flores honored Rimper with Proclamations from cities of Fresno and Clovis.

▪ Was finalist of the ABC Extreme Home Makeover TV Series.

Since September, Rimper has taught free music lessons of any musical instrument and singing lessons for seniors 50 and above at the Clovis Senior Activity Center. Rimper also conducts the Salvation Army Brass Band and gives free music lessons to all its members.

“I am very blessed to have been introduced by some friends to my wife Rosana,” Rimper said.

“We met in Sacramento and she has been a rock and light to me. During the many challenging years with my health problems, Rosana was there and never complained. She herself had physical therapies from pushing me in my wheelchair for many years. When I have problems, Rosana finds simple solutions and I thank and praise God to have allowed me to meet Rosana in my life.

“Our daughter Iantha and her family live in Portland, Oregon. She performs and teaches violin, guitar and piano. She has performed in Carnegie Hall, New York two times and toured Europe performing music concerts. Her husband Bryan is smart, talented and builds homes and can fix anything. Our granddaughter Noelle was born four months ago.

“Our other daughter Charlene and her family live in Paris, France. She is a professional makeup artist and has worked for the Paris Opera. Her husband Christopher is the camera technician for a French movie company. Our grandson Isaac is 8 years old, speaks French, English, is learning some Dutch, is very creative, loves to cook, camp, and plays all sports and builds things.”