Folk Music Center

Folk Music Center Serving the needs of music lovers for over 50 years. The Folk provides instrument sales and repair, private lessons, workshops, education, and concerts.
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August 12, 1958 Charles and Dorothy Chase opened the Folk Music Center in Claremont, CA on Harvard Ave. in back of Boots Beer’s Real Estate Office. Boots told them they were “welcome to have the back room because no one will ever come to see you anyway.” The rent was $35 per month. They borrowed $2000 from Dorothy’s brother and bought some records, books, strings and a few instruments – just enough to get started. Very soon, Boots was complaining about all the traffic coming through the office. Two months later, Mike Fay showed up and loaned them a sitar, a pair of tablas and a tamboura. That was the first international show. The Claremont Courier took pictures and ran a story that got the store a lot of publicity. Shortly thereafter, the store moved around the corner to a small place of it’s own on 1st Street. Dorothy’s father, Albert Udin, known to the whole town as “Grandpa,” ran the store while Dorothy taught guitar and banjo lessons in the living room of their home and Charles repaired instruments in the basement. The store was soon bursting at the seams. In 1961, Dorothy and Charles opened the Golden Ring, a music cafe, on Harvard Ave with friends Peggy and Al Hulse and Jean and Will Marcotte. During it’s five year existence, the Golden Ring was one of the earliest venues for folk music in the Southern California area, bringing such greats to Claremont as the revered Gary Davis, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Doc Watson, Hedy West, John Fahey, The New Lost City Ramblers, and Guy and Candy Carawan. On April 5, 1970, after a short stay at 221 Yale the store moved to an even bigger location across the street at 220 Yale Ave. Over the years Dorothy continued to teach guitar, banjo, dulcimer and autoharp to hundreds of local children and adults. She began the Claremont Folk Song Society and organized house concerts. While Dorothy continued to focus on the instruction and promotion of music, Charles provided opportunities for local young people to learn the art of instrument repair. The store’s reputation for skilled repair spread and people came from near and far to have instruments repaired or to stay and learn the art themselves. In the summer of 1962, Peter and Polly Gatt pitched a tent in the Chase’s backyard to be able to study with Charles as luthiers (instrument repair experts). The Folk Music Center Museum was opened in 1976 as a non-profit educational, cultural corporation. The first museum collection was a Stauffer guitar and a Stauffer Theorbo, both dating back to the 1880′s, that Charles and Dorothy found in a second hand store for five dollars. The Museum now contains rare and antique musical instruments and artifacts of culture from around the world. Recently, Dorothy and Charles’ daughter, Ellen Chase-Verdries began managing the store. Her son, Ben Harper purchased the store from his grandparents in order to keep the Folk Music Center in the family and alive for the generations to come.

Operating as usual

Celebrate Mother's Day with the Folk Music Center!Due to overwhelming demand, Ben and Ellen Harper have signed these add...
05/03/2021
Always A Song - Signed by Ben and Ellen Harper — Folk Music Center

Celebrate Mother's Day with the Folk Music Center!

Due to overwhelming demand, Ben and Ellen Harper have signed these additional hardcover copies of her memoir

Available now from the Folk Music Center webstore

Thank you! The signed and numbered copies of Always A Song have sold out. Due to overwhelming demand, Ben and Ellen Harper will be signing a second round of books in the coming weeks. Please enter your email address here for details on how to order. In this riveting memoir, Ellen Harper—fo

Hello everyone.Please note our limited hoursWeds-Sat 10am-4pm(909)624-2928
04/14/2021

Hello everyone.
Please note our limited hours
Weds-Sat 10am-4pm
(909)624-2928

Hello everyone.
Please note our limited hours
Weds-Sat 10am-4pm
(909)624-2928

To celebrate the book’s release with the Folk Music Center community, Ben and Ellen Harper have signed 200 individually ...
03/31/2021

To celebrate the book’s release with the Folk Music Center community, Ben and Ellen Harper have signed 200 individually numbered copies of Always A Song.

Available in-store and from our website.

https://www.folkmusiccenter.com/store/p/always-a-song

To celebrate the book’s release with the Folk Music Center community, Ben and Ellen Harper have signed 200 individually numbered copies of Always A Song.

Available in-store and from our website.

https://www.folkmusiccenter.com/store/p/always-a-song

The bodhran (pronounced “bow-rawn”), or simply the Irish drum, is an Irish frame drum .Call us or come by the store to c...
03/17/2021

The bodhran (pronounced “bow-rawn”), or simply the Irish drum, is an Irish frame drum .
Call us or come by the store to check them out.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
(909)624-2928

We're excited to share our latest session with our music educator community. For over 60 years, Ben Harper’s family has ...
03/02/2021
Ben Harper - "Instruments and Music From Around the World"

We're excited to share our latest session with our music educator community. For over 60 years, Ben Harper’s family has owned and operated the Folk Music Center in Claremont, CA. Thank you Ben, Ellen, Henry and Jerry for sharing your amazing collection of instruments and sounds from around the world.

For over 60 years, Ben Harper's family has owned and operated the Folk Music Center in Claremont, CA. In this video, Ben, his mother, Ellen, and staff members, Henry and Jerry use their incredible collection to show the various types of instruments and sounds from around the world.

Hello everyone.Please note our limited hoursWeds-Sat 10am-4pm(909)624-2928
02/24/2021

Hello everyone.
Please note our limited hours
Weds-Sat 10am-4pm
(909)624-2928

Ellen Harper’s new book is available for purchase at the Folk Music Center.(909)624-2928Weds-Saturday 10am-3pm
02/12/2021

Ellen Harper’s new book is available for purchase at the Folk Music Center.
(909)624-2928
Weds-Saturday 10am-3pm

Ellen Harper’s new book is available for purchase at the Folk Music Center.
(909)624-2928
Weds-Saturday 10am-3pm

Fresh Air with Terry Gross - Ellen and Ben Harper
02/03/2021
Fresh Air with Terry Gross - Ellen and Ben Harper

Fresh Air with Terry Gross - Ellen and Ben Harper

Ellen and Ben Harper both grew up in the Folk Music Center in Claremont Calif., which Ellen's parents founded in 1958. They join Fresh Air to discuss Ellen's new memoir, Always a Song.

02/01/2021

Ellen Harper runs the Folk Music Center in Claremont, Calif., and her son Ben Harper is a Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter. Ellen Harper's new memoir 'Always a Song' tells her story of the '50s and '60s folk music revival and her experience raising three biracial children, mostly as a single mom. They talk about growing up surrounded by folk music luminaries.
Listen: https://n.pr/3oBFdlO

On Monday's show, we speak with Ellen Harper, who runs the Folk Music Center in Claremont, Calif., and her son, Ben Harp...
01/31/2021
Fresh Air

On Monday's show, we speak with Ellen Harper, who runs the Folk Music Center in Claremont, Calif., and her son, Ben Harper, a Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter. Ellen Harper's new memoir, "Always A Song," tells her story of the folk music revival of the '50s and '60s and her experience raising three biracial children, mostly as a single mother. I hope you can join us.

Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.

“The author crafts a compelling story of an ordinary life taking surprising turns.”— KIRKUS REVIEWS“Ellen Harper's extra...
01/26/2021

“The author crafts a compelling story of an ordinary life taking surprising turns.”
— KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Ellen Harper's extraordinary story is revelatory, inspiring, and compulsively readable. Harper's account of fighting the establishment in the name of art and equality is required reading—a songbook of protest, of freedom, of revolution and resurgence.”
— BRET ANTHONY JOHNSTON, internationally bestselling author of Remember Me Like This

“Ellen Harper's unique vantage as red-diaper baby, folk connector, counterculture witness, and maven of family and community is matched by her memory, wit, and compassion.”
— JONATHAN LETHEM, New York Times bestselling author of Chronic City and Motherless Brooklyn

Ellen Harper
01/25/2021
Ellen Harper

Ellen Harper

My memoir, Always a Song, takes readers on an intimate journey through the folk music revival, including vivid stories of growing up in 1960s Los Angeles, running the historic Folk Music Center, and meeting the likes of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Paul McCartney, and more. With a foreword by my son Ben Harper and a 16-page photo insert, it's the perfect read for music lovers and history buffs alike.

Ben Harper
01/17/2021

Ben Harper

It will be an honor to perform at the 2021 Biden/Harris Inauguration "We the People" Concert tonight at 8pm ET. bideninaugural.org/wethepeople

Chronicle Prism
12/23/2020

Chronicle Prism

Coming January 26th: In Always a Song, Ellen Harper—folk matriarch, singer-songwriter, and mother to Grammy-winning musician Ben Harper—takes readers on an intimate journey through the folk music revival, including vivid stories of growing up in 1960s Los Angeles, raising three sons, and running the historic Folk Music Center. Pre-order: EllenHarper.net

This month we are featuring CD’s released by the employees of the Folk Music Center.(909)624-2928
12/17/2020

This month we are featuring CD’s released by the employees of the Folk Music Center.
(909)624-2928

11/28/2020
Photos from Folk Music Center's post
09/30/2020

Photos from Folk Music Center's post

Anti Records
09/16/2020

Anti Records

We're so pleased to announce Ben Harper's new album ‘Winter Is For Lovers’ – available to order now on a limited edition of signed and numbered vinyl at benharper.com. Shop vinyl and listen/watch “Inland Empire” here: https://benharper.ffm.to/wifl

Anti Records
09/02/2020

Anti Records

We're so pleased to announce Ben Harper's new album ‘Winter Is For Lovers’ – available to order now on a limited edition of signed and numbered vinyl at benharper.com. Shop vinyl and listen/watch “Inland Empire” here: https://benharper.ffm.to/wifl

08/19/2020

Hello everyone, hope you're doing well.
We are here 10am-3pm Weds-Saturday.
Call us at (909)624-2928 and we can help you regarding anything in the store that you might be interested in.

TUNE IN TO KSPC 88.7 FM RIGHT NOWEverybody’s Got a Right to LiveThis week we continue to raise up songs and voices of th...
06/05/2020
KSPC 88.7FM - College Radio In Los Angeles CA

TUNE IN TO KSPC 88.7 FM RIGHT NOW

Everybody’s Got a Right to Live

This week we continue to raise up songs and voices of the Black freedom struggle, from the movement singing of the 1960s to today. Tune in tomorrow from 4-6 pm at 88.7fm or online at kspc.org.

Photo from Jill Freedman’s Resurrection City, 1968.

#kspc #freedomsingers #civilrightsmovement

The space between your ears. Listen live now!

05/30/2020

Hello friends,
THIS SATURDAY 6/6/20
at the Folk Music Center
buy any ukulele and get a free 10 minute social distancing lesson or free local delivery.
Call (909)624-2928 for more info.
Hours: Weds-Sat 10am-3pm

Address

220 Yale Ave
Claremont, CA
91711

Telephone

(909) 624-2928

Products

Banjos
Basses
Cajons
Cellos
Chimes
Didgeridoos
Dulcimers
Dumbeks
Djembes
Drums
Ethnic Instruments
Flutes
Guitars
Gongs
Mandolins
Musical Toys
Ouds
Recorders
Slide Guitar
Sitar
Tablas
Ukuleles
Violins
World instruments and much, much more!

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The New Acoustic Collective are highly looking forward to performing in the livestream at The Art House Gallery & Cultural Center this Saturday evening 6:30pm PT! FEATURING Jason Keiser, guitar David Boyden, fiddle and baritone fiddle Alonso Sanchez, double bass/pizzicato Rodrigo Ruiz, double bass/arco and pizzicato Nathaniel Grohmann, cello Tickets for livestream available at:
The New Acoustic Collective are highly looking forward to performing in the livestream at The Art House Gallery & Cultural Center this Saturday evening 6:30pm PT! FEATURING Jason Keiser, guitar David Boyden, fiddle and baritone fiddle Alonso Sanchez, double bass/pizzicato Rodrigo Ruiz, double bass/arco and pizzicato Nathaniel Grohmann, cello Tickets for livestream available at:
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Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 6:30 PM PST – 7:30 PM PST The New Acoustic Collective String Quintet TICKETS:: tix.musae.me/quintet The New Acoustic Collective String Quintet Members Bio: Jason Keiser: Guitar, Tres Cubano, Mandolin Jason Keiser is a professional guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, multi-stylist, recording artist, arranger and composer based out of the Bay Area currently residing in San Jose, California. Jason has studied under Tony Rice Unit member, professional bluegrass guitarist Wyatt Rice, professional bluegrass mandolinist Adam Steffey, professional guitarist Rick Vandivier, Professional guitarist & original member of Strunz & Farah, Ardeshir Farah and many more. Keiser is the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival Scholarship Awardee 2016 Guitar Finalist from The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Oak Hill, New York. Jason currently performs and records in various ensembles throughout the Bay Area including Vintage Noise Music, The Contemporary Collective, Colectivo, and is the musical director and composer for the Bay Area professional SpaceGrass fusion large ensemble The New Acoustic Collective. David Boyden: Fiddle & Baritone Fiddle David Boyden is a violinist and fiddler born and bred in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Ruth Asawa School of the Arts and San Francisco State University, and currently works as a freelancer and teacher. In addition to the New Acoustic Collective, he plays with several other groups working in a variety of genres, including the Pine Needles (bluegrass, rock, jazz), the 29th St. Swingtet (gypsy jazz, swing), and Kaptain Bottletop, a group dedicated to exploring Scandinavian music and other folk genres. In addition to the violin, he plays an incredible 10-stringed fiddle built by the Norwegian luthier Salve Håkedal. He is also currently learning to play the hardanger fiddle. In 2012, he served as an intern for the Chrysalis Foundation in San Francisco, performing the music of Cris Forster on his original acoustic instruments tuned in just intonation. Alonso Sanchez: Double Bass/Pizzicato Alonso Sanchez is an upright and electric bass player, born in Mexico City, but raised in California. Under close mentorship of bass gurus Gus Kambeitz, Agustin Bernal, and Dan Robbins; Alonso is a seasoned bass player. Attending San Jose State at the moment, he is part of multiple other ensembles, including the New Acoustic Collective, which constantly performs around the Bay Area. Rodrigo Ruiz: Double Bass/Arco & Pizzicato Victor started his musical journey around age 10 sharing the same dream with a lot of people of becoming a famous Rockstar. And thus, he started learning classical guitar around 2011. And he kept taking guitar lessons until his guitar instructor passed several years later. Around his junior year in high school, a friend of Victor invited him to join a youth orchestra group called YMCO. And it was here where he started his musical journey as a classical bassists and decided to pursue music as his career in college. Today, Victor is one of the two classical bassists currently studying at SJSU under the instruction of Bruce Moyer. He has played for the San Jose Wind Symphony, invited to a tour to Argentina and Uruguay by the San Jose Youth Symphony as a ringer, has been a featured artist in the Mercury News, and has also been a recipient of the Leigh Weimers Rising Artist Award. In addition to his musicianship on Double Bass, he started expanding his musical knowledge by starting his studies on the pipe organ with an organist named Harold Stuart and also performs music with his duet partner, who is an accomplished clarinetist and instructor, Morgan Sonnenfeld. Nathaniel Grohmann: Cello Nathaniel Grohmann is a cellist based in the Bay Area. He has taken cello lessons starting at Homestead High School, under cellist Paul Hyun. Over his musical development his focus and interest started with orchestral music. His experiences with the Homestead Symphony Orchestra have shaped his development as a musician, with him eventually performing and transcribing Bottesini’s second bass concerto with the orchestra his senior year of high school. His interest in chamber music also began his senior year of high school, where he and several friends formed a piano quintet and performed Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet at the CMEA solo/ensemble festival in San Jose and progressing to the state festival in Sacramento later that year. He is currently in his second year studying cello performance in San Jose State under cellist Peter Gelfand. In San Jose State Nathaniel has played with many different chamber groups and ensembles under the direction of faculty Dr. Fred Cohen, Dr. Gordon Haramaki, Dr. Sarah Jones and Dr. Gwendolyn Mok. He also is currently the principal cellist of the San Jose State Symphony Orchestra. As his studies continue Nathaniel is starting to branch out to other genres outside of classical music. In February of 2020 Nathaniel performed in the Hammer Theater with the New Acoustic Collective at the San Jose Jazz Winterfest. Nathaniel currently performs in many various ensembles and chamber groups throughout the Bay Area TICKETS tix.musae.me/quintet
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