Island Music to celebrate 10 years in business Oct. 6
Island Music Company, located at 403 Charles St. in La Plata, is set to celebrate a decade in the music business from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. The store event will feature a one-day sale, live music, giveaways, raffles and a chance to win a Paul Reed Smith guitar with a free lesson from Island Music.
Island Music specializes in hard-to find, rare and vintage instruments, and carries a full line of new and used musical instruments, audio, recording and lighting equipment, accessories and more. The store also offers instrument and equipment service, repair and rentals, recording and sound consultation services, private music lessons, and hosts monthly jam sessions and other special music events.
The husband-wife team of Keith and Nicki Grasso said it was their passion for the business and a determination to succeed that led them to open their first Island Music retail location on Oct. 6, 2008.
“Nicki was my fiancé at the time,” Keith Grasso said. “We opened in a little 10-by-12 room on Charles Street … it probably had maybe 15 guitars and my personal collection, some little trinkets and things of that nature.”
“We really opened it because, with the exception of one year off, being in the music business is all I have ever done in my life since I was 15 years old,” Keith said. “One of my first jobs was working in a small music store. I’ve just always loved it, being around music and musicians.”
“People used to give us a hard time because I think it was one of the worst time periods for the economy since 9/11,” Keith added. “I think the day that we opened, the stock market fell 10,000 points … I just knew that I liked music and wanted to be around the business and the industry.”
Three moves and ten years later, Island Music has since grown into a business that occupies 8,500 square feet of space stocked with a floor-toceiling inventory of instruments, equipment and accessories that includes new and used namebrand electric guitars, acoustic guitars, bass guitars, pedals, orchestra and band instruments, banjos and folk instruments, ukuleles, drums and percussion instruments, keyboards and controllers, amplifiers, professional sound, recording and lighting equipment, and accessories.
“As we grew, we started growing into other things,” Keith said. “We got into the school music program fairly early. We do a lot of rental instruments, and try to support the Charles County band, orchestra and performing arts pretty good … we got into drums when we got across the street here and had a little bit more space, and pro audio and recording.”
“Another big thing that really set us apart early on is that we got into service work,” he said. “We have a repair shop right here in the store, and anything that we sell, if you have a problem with it, we’re here to stand behind it and help you get it fixed.”
Island Music also offers 30- and 60-minute private instrument lessons for musicians of all ages and levels of playing ability. The Grassos said lessons are taught one-on-one by qualified instructors in one of Island Music’s seven music lesson rooms.
“We do lessons in just about every instrument,” Nicki Grasso said. “We work really hard to find top musicians in the county that are good at teaching and working with kids and adults.”
“Two times a year, we do big student recitals where all of our students get up,” Keith added. “We do a Christmas one, so they work all fall to come up with these songs and perform them in front of their parents and their peers … and we do a big spring recital.”
Keith said Island Music also specializes in sound, recording and lighting equipment, and can provide system design, installation and training services according to a customer’s needs.
“I think we’re one of the only folks in the area that will come out and design a sound system specifically to your venue or what you need,” he said. “We do everything in terms of design it, calibrate it, install it, and troubleshoot an existing system.”
Island Music’s upcoming anniversary celebration on Saturday, Oct. 6, will coincide with the town’s fifth annual Rocktoberfest, a family-friendly music and entertainment street festival presented by the La Plata Business Association in partnership with Island Music. Keith said proceeds from Rocktoberfest will benefit the Charles County Public Schools fine and performing arts programs.
“It’s really a nice day and it really brings the community together,” he said. “It spotlights music and Charles Street, and our business district in particular.”
“Last year’s donation to the school system’s fine and performing arts was $28,000,” he added. “So that goes to help their program and better their program.”
Keith said he credits much of Island Music’s success over the years to the store’s core group of long-term employees that “bring new ideas and a passion to the business everyday,” and that he looks to grow the store’s music lesson program and online presence in the future.
“We want to be a part of your musical journey no matter what phase you are in,” Keith said. “Whether we’re teaching you lessons, selling you a new instrument, fixing something that you need repaired, helping you trade in to your next instrument, or even giving you places to perform.”
For more information on Island Music Company, and the store’s products, services and upcoming events, go to www.islandmusicco.com.
Pictured are Nicki and Keith Grasso, owners of Island Music Company located on Charles Street in La Plata.
Pictured are acoustic guitars offered at Island Music Company located on Charles Street in La Plata.
Pictured are electric guitars offered at Island Music Company located on Charles Street in La Plata.