Arts and Entertainment

Two local music shops mark same day anniversaries

October 27, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Strange as it may seem, Orangeville’s two music shops, Aardvark Music and Culture and Broadway Music celebrated the anniversary of their shops, both on Oct. 8. Blessed as this town is with the many fine artists, the strength of the arts community and the passionate support the arts receive from the broader community, there is every reason to suppose that two music shops, just up and down Broadway will complement each other with their differences and similarities.

Orangeville can prove the importance of music in this whole area by boasting about these two fine businesses.

While celebrating Aardvark Music and Culture shop’s 14th anniversary, owner Perry Joseph did admit he has had a rough ride this year between a bout of long Covid and damaging his shoulder very badly in a fall on ice during last winter.

What has been good has been the loyalty his customers have shown him over those 14 years and the store’s survival through the pandemic shutdowns.

Mr. Joseph comes to music as a high school student hitting the bright lights of high school productions with Gilbert and Sullivan, making a fairly organic shift to learning guitar and from there, his life in music from folk to Reggae, Mr. Joseph has sung and played with some of the biggest names in the business.

He moved out of his premises at 229 Broadway and into his new shop at 145 Broadway in March of 2020, just in time to suffer the shutdown of Covid protocols.

Despite the timing, the move to other premises has worked out well for Perry Joseph and his Aardvark Music and Culture. They have built a stage at the back of the premises to perform concerts for small audiences and the changes they have made to the shop please him very well.

For Mr. Joseph, this is his “dream shop.”

About the pandemic, he said, “Customers and staff alike went above and beyond during our toughest stretch and we owe a debt of gratitude to all.”

Currently, Perry Joseph still writes music and is enjoying being open again to sell instruments, music, records and most of what you need – plus lessons.

At the same time as Mr. Perry’s move, Heather Katz and Michael Griffin, owners of Broadway Music realized that the pandemic made it unrealistic for them to maintain the very large building – the old church – where they had their business on the other side of Broadway. So, they took advantage of Mr. Joseph’s move to install Broadway Music there.

Said Heather Katz, “It was quite a sight, us walking our instruments down the road.”

Whatever it takes is worth it, “When you see people fall in love with music, finding that first perfect instrument,” she commented. “When you have a student from age five ‘til 105 and watch the contribution music has made to their lives, it’s wonderful. One of our students is going to be on Canada’s Got Talent. Music can be their full or part-time career, just to have music in their lives matters. It’s a way to cope with life.”

In fact, as she told us, during the pandemic, they sold many guitars and ukuleles, people bored with being shut in wanted to learn to play an instrument and bring music into their lives which might have become a life’s passion for many.

Ms. Katz has been performing as a professional since she was 17.

She and Mr. Griffin took over Broadway Music from Paul and Trisha Menard in 2008, a business the Menards had opened in 1996, so the celebration this Oct. 8 was 26 years as a business. It is all good.

“When an adult who wanted to learn to play during the shutdown and discovered they wanted that all their life,” said Ms. Katz, “music’s a lifetime gift.”

The thing is: “ukulele acquisition syndrome,” as Ms. Katz jokingly referred to the tendency for “Ukulele winter and summer buyers from coast to coast – people trust us,” she told us, “to know how to get them what they need from beginner to professional; they tend to want every size, different kinds of wood…”

The ukulele keeps people doing this because they are the easiest instrument to learn; there are only four strings but they have “the kind of tone that just makes you smile, whether you’re five or 105, you can learn a song on the first day. It does take time to learn to play a ukulele but the gratification, the vision of where you can go with them comes in the first day,” said Heather Katz.

What keeps Katz and Griffin in the business: the joy that they get is the first time a kid comes out of his lesson and has accomplished something, picks his first instrument with such a sense of accomplishment.

It becomes a lifeline.

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