Brownwood Music, 201 W. Baker, is preparing for its second summer music camp for beginner-to-intermediate young musicians.
The four-day camp, for ages 6-17, is July 24-27 from noon-3:30 p.m. Five classes are offered: introduction to voice, guitar, drums, piano and ukulele. The cost is $90, payable with a $50 deposit and the remainder due on the first day of class.
Call 646-1365 for more information. Registration forms are available at the store.
Instruments will be provided, with discounts offered on instruments if any are purchased.
Brownwood Music owner Jodie Armstrong will teach voice; Jackie Andersen, who gives lessons at Brownwood Music, will teach guitar, drums and piano; and Kaeli Goodgion, who teaches in Howard Payne University’s pre-college music program, will teach ukulele.
Music is a universal language with no language barrier, Andersen said before the start of last summer’s camp. She said the camp will expose students to music and hopefully get them excited and continuing in music.
Andersen said she got the idea of a music camp last summer because “everybody was doing camps at the high school, and I thought, why not a music camp? Instead of playing on their phones and playing Guitar Hero, they can actually come in an play an instrument.”
Jodie Armstrong once worked in the insurance business and lived for a time in Dallas and Abilene. For the past 21 years, the 1984 Brookesmith High School graduate has made her living in music.
Armstrong has owned Brownwood Music since 1996, and the business has survived the online competition that has forced some brick-and-mortar stores to close. While she’s legally listed as the sole owner, Armstrong said her husband, Don, is, practically speaking, joint owner.
Armstrong also owns the Baker Street Recording Studio, which is set up in another part of the store and does a brisk business.
“I was always a part-time musician,” Armstrong said. She is a vocalist who also plays piano and bass, and used to play the cello.
Brownwood Music traces its origins to a business called S&M Music, which sold organs and pianos from a Fisk Street store. Jesse Weems bought the business and moved it the building that is now home to Brownwood Music, operating then as Weems Music.
The building was built in the 1920s or ’30s and was once a car dealership, Armstrong said.
Armstrong was a customer at Weems Music and heard Jesse Weems talk about retiring. “I said ‘that would be kind of neat, to own a music store,’” Armstrong said. She bought the business from Weems in 1996 and renamed it Brownwood Music.
Her primary interest was actually in setting up the recording studio, which she established in 2002. With the support of her husband, who is also an audio tech, the studio is getting “busier and busier,” Armstrong said.
Brownwood Music sells instruments including guitars, pianos, drums, banjoes and violins, as well as amplifiers and accessories. Band instrument rentals are available, and the business also provides upgrade and repair services.
The retail side of the business has been stable, Armstrong said, adding “it’s the Lord taking care of me.”
Brownwood Music was recently awarded a building improvement incentive grant from the city, which helped fund upgrades and improvements to the building. Armstrong is also working on getting a building she owns on Lee Street renovated and believes it could be home to several antique businesses. The Armstrongs also own the Sears store at Heartland Mall.
While her business ventures keep her busy, Armstrong said she’s starting to focus increasingly on music as a ministry. She’s part of the praise band at High Mesa Cowboy Church.
Blanton is the daughter of Bo and Linda Hunter, who for years ran the Texaco station on Austin Avenue.
“I’m a huge believer in this community, Armstrong said in a 2005 Bulletin article “I believe it has a potential that is untapped, but you know, a lot of people do know about Brownwood, I’m amazed when I say I’m from here and people say, ‘Oh, yes, do you know so-and-so?’ or ‘Isn’t that the place where …?’”