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Dunard, of ‘Duane’s Music,’ reflects on career

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 9:32 am

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    Duane Dunard behind a steel guitar that he has in his shop

    Duane Dunard behind a steel guitar that he has in his shop

     The outside of “Duane’s Music” located on Main Street in Troy

    The outside of “Duane’s Music” located on Main Street in Troy

    Anyone who has been interested in playing music in the Troy community, whether they were just learning or had been playing for years, have likely visited Duane’s Music on Main Street.
    Now after 35 years in business, owner Duane Dunard has made the decision to retire and pass the shop on to a new owner.
    Dunard’s passion for music began 55 years ago, when he bought his first guitar at Nash Music in St. Charles. A few years later, he and his friend, Bob Delaloye, each bought steel guitars and dedicated themselves to mastering the instrument. Incidentally, Bob Delaloye opened a music store on the same corner in 1967.
    Dunard played his first professional job playing steel guitar in 1971, where he earned $20. From there he played in local country bands and eventually became a full-time road musician, playing in several show groups and dance bands around the U.S. After three years, he came home and opened a part-time teaching studio in the basement of his home on Cap-au-Gris, giving guitar and steel guitar lessons. At that time his business was called “Duane’s Guitar Shop.”
    When he expanded and moved to the Highway 47/61 location (at the time there was a strip mall that also housed Century 21 Realty and Shelter Insurance, he changed the name to “Duane’s Music.” In 1989 Duane moved the store to Main Street, one door down from its present location. A year later he needed more space and moved to his present location.
    Through the years in business, Dunard specialized in sound systems, instruments and music accessories. Because of his interest in steel guitars, he especially enjoyed the buying and selling those instruments. He expanded this part of his business into the international arena, with customers from countries such as Japan, Canada, Denmark, and France. He also offered guitar lessons at the shop, where aspiring guitar players have learned from some of the area’s finest talent.
    In addition, Duane’s Music became a hub for information and help, whether it was a repair job, a diagnosis of a problem, a recommendation on what to purchase, a musician looking for work or a band needing a musician.
    “It became a place where musicians would come ‘just to hang out,’ ” Dunard said. “I always looked forward to road musicians coming through that worked in bands for celebrity artists. That was always exciting when somebody would drop by and say hi. In addition, on Labor Day weekend I could usually count on seeing at least one out-of-town steel guitar player. Scotty’s International Steel Guitar Convention was held that weekend. Steel players from all across the country would converge on St. Louis. Quite often either just before or just after the event, some of these guys would pass through Troy, swing by, and talk shop.”
    Dunard said that the decision to close was a difficult one but believes that the time is right for retirement.
    “I’ve had great customers, generations of customers and families, and most turned into valued friends. It’s been a good journey. It’s a difficult decision to close up shop after 35 years, but I know it’s the right thing to do.”
    Dunard says that he and his wife, Donna, are looking forward to some vacation time and visits with former band members and friends.
    Dunard says that 499 Main Street will continue to be the location of a music store, as the Pecaro Guitar Shop will open there in early October.
    “I wish Steve Pecaro the best of luck,” said Dunard. “Following his dream and encourage my customers to meet Steve and support our local merchants.”

    Lincoln County Journal