And so it was with Cape Fear Music, which survived two fires ... figuratively and literally.
The first one was a fire sale of sorts when longtime Fayetteville music retailer McFadyen Music was bought out by the conglomerate Brooke Mayes Music Company about three years ago, sparking a quartet of musicians and artisans — Tony Harrison, Jeff Stone, Dave Waylett and Tyrone Green — to start their own venture ... Cape Fear Music. Well-regarded guitar instructor Guy Unger joined the team at a later date.
They began anew, bringing 120 years of combined teaching and playing experience to their new location at the Gas House on Rowan Street.
Then, in 2007, the second fire ... real this time ... burned their business down in a sad symphony of strings and snare drums, melting away $160,000 in instruments and machinery — some of it irreplaceable, such as Harrison’s vintage Gibson ES-175, and Old World musician’s tools; however, Cape Fear Music rose from the ashes again, regrouping and relocating to its present location at 128 Maxwell St., offering lessons, instrument sales and band and orchestra rentals and repairs.
“As far as I know, we’re the only shop in town that rents, repairs and offers instruction in band and orchestra all under one roof,” said Harrison.
Cape Fear Music also offers a diverse mix of musical instruments from major manufacturers such as Gretsch, Samick and Roland. However, it’s the lessons, the education of musical minds young and old alike, that drives the staff.
“We knew after McFadyen Music was bought out that there would be a void in music education and repair,” said Harrison. “That’s why we started this. In Guy, we have one of the most respected guitar teachers in Fayetteville. I mean, we do sell instruments ... it helps pay the bills ... but our focus really is education.”
Cape Fear Music offers courses in guitar, piano, bass, drums and voice. The shop’s instructors are big proponents of teaching music theory and performance, sponsoring a regular 4th Friday event at the Cotton Exchange in which young students perform on stage with fellow musicians.
“The performances and the classes allow the students to develop their creative side,” said Stone, who teaches drums. “The 4th Friday performances are a way to teach the students as well as allow them to interact with other musicians.”
The shop acts as a haven for local musicians, with jam sessions often going long into the night after the doors are closed. And it’s not just local musicians — Cape Fear Music is sponsoring a pair of workshops featuring world renowned musicians Greg Bennett and Pat Petrillo.
Bennett is known as a world class fingerstylist as well as guitar designer; he will offer demonstrations of both his guitar technique and guitar building skills at Cape Fear Music on Oct. 28, starting at 7 p.m. (Location is subject to change — check out the latest news concerning the venue at the shop’s Web site, www.capefearmusiccenter.com.)
Petrillo is a major league drummer who has taught at The Collective School of Music in New York and is currently an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The date and time of his workshop has yet to be finalized — check out the Web site for updates.
Again, the staff at Cape Fear Music is unanimous in the belief that it’s their core mission to educate the masses on the magic of music.
“We like to think we have a comfortable atmosphere for moms, as well as musicians,” said Harrison. “Some moms drop off their kids and leave because they know they’re safe here.”
“We have students from age 5 to 55,” added Stone. “We help students not only learn about music, but learn about themselves. Some kids come here and decide they don’t want to play an instrument ... they want to do something else. And that’s OK, too.”