By GLENN KAHL
209 staff reporter
Doug John broke into the Manteca music scene three years ago with his new store in the Orchard Supply Shopping Center on North Main Street at Louise Avenue. He has opened a second store in Fresno that was going out of business because of the ill health of its owner.
John and store manager Jeremy Brown have all types of instruments and offer lessons from seven different teachers throughout the year from drums and percussion to brass, woodwinds and strings.
Store co-owner Francie Denis is the only one of the three proficient on the drums – with a drum set seen on their stage in the back of the 3,100 square foot building unit. Jeremy is the band coach and mentors seven up-and-coming young bands, John said.
“I’m teaching baby boomers guitar – I started at 55,” the store’s owner chuckled holding an instrument across his legs. “We’re going to have an old guys’ band and play classic country and rock,” he said.
John told of holding a scholarship dinner recently in the vacant and cold Hollywood Video store raising money for their fund to help students whose parents have hit hard times in the recession. The dinner brought in $10 a plate with all the money going toward any interrupted funding in the families that would have paid for music lessons.
He said the use of the building was paid possible by Ed Cardoza who owns the shopping center.
“We dad loses his job and can’t afford lessons, we can help,” he said. “We have six students now on scholarships.”
John said his students have participated in his concerts to their benefit. “When they get up in front of a crowd they sound good and they are having fun. We try to do that quarterly. The last concert was at Rookies Bar and Grill at the bowling alley.”
He credited the Raymus family for letting them use that venue without cost. Coming up on his agenda is the battle of the bands that have perfected their sounds out of his studio in the music store. That event will most likely be in Modesto, he said.
The Fresno store is located at the corner of Blackstone and Dakota called Legend Music Sound Stage – a music center that has been in business since 1960. He added that the growth of that store has been nothing short of phenomenal since he purchased the business.
Repairs at the store are handled by Mercedes Evans who holds an AA in Band Instrument Technology. “She can do just about anything,” according to the store manager Jeremy Brown.