MARION — Braselton’s Music is celebrating its 40th anniversary this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2, with a special open house and store-wide sale.
For store owner Ray Braselton, music is his life. Originally from Los Angeles, Ray performed in a number venues, including on television. In 1968, he delved deeper into music performing in churches and then turned his musical talents to teaching, he said. By 1973, he was teaching students in his Walworth home, he said. Then in 1975, he opened his first retail store in the old feed store and former Methodist Church in Marion, where he also continued teaching. His first store included selling a variety of instruments, including pianos and organs — making it an extensive retail venture.
For two years, from 1977 to 1979, Ray kept a small retail store in Palmyra, and by 1990, he closed his Marion store as well. Through it all, he never stopped teaching, he said. It wasn’t until 2000 when he and his wife, Suzanne, reopened the store in downtown Marion, where they brought in more teachers to tutor musicians. They moved the store to Route 21 in 2003, where they had four teachers besides Ray and a small concert hall in the basement, he recalled. In 2009, they moved again and the store is now located in an addition to their home on Main Street.
Today, Braselton’s Music offers retail, instrument repairs and rentals and tutors for developing musicians. Ray also has an entertainment business, booking close 100 gigs a year, performing individually or with a group, at weddings, festivals, restaurants, clubs and car shows. He also produces his own television show, “The Music Show,” a one-hour weekly cable show on Channel 12. He is now producing concerts and promoting musicians, often through the concerts he produces.
Ray plans to expand his entertainment business, but no matter what, he will “always be a teacher,” he said. And he is an experienced teacher, having worked at St. Michael’s School in Newark for eight years in the band program and for the Wayne Central adult education program. But more than that, Ray said he is now teaching the grandchildren of former students.
“If I was a doctor, I would probably have delivered half this town,” Ray quipped. “We’re a ma and pop store. We’re very homegrown here. Everybody knows everybody by their first name.”
The 40th anniversary open house will be held from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 1 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 2 at the store, 3673 S. Main St. in Marion. All musical instruments, books and accessories will be on sale. They will also offer free beginners classes for guitar during the open house. Call the store to pre-register at 926-4788.
For more information, visit www.braseltonsmusic.com.