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Musical Memories from York County, PA: A miniseries on Only in York County (

Musical memories from York County, PA: A fall miniseries, Part 2

Often in my columns, I try to jump around to a variety of topics – talking about restaurants one week, stores another, particular towns another, and so on.

But now we’re coming into fall, which will always be most notable in my mind as marching band season, and I wanted to talk some more about local music memories. This is the second installment of a series of musical memories from York County; you can read the first one at

I hope you’ll read on today for more of readers’ memories and photos on a variety of local musical topics, from venues to teachers to bands and beyond.

Today, I’d like to focus on music teachers – also something I feel strongly about, since mine, George Bradshaw and Andy Apgar, both still teaching at Dover High and Dover Intermediate respectively, made such a big impression on my life.

This photo of Don Frey and The Naturals was submitted by Don Frey, and was taken in the 1960s.
This photo of Don Frey and The Naturals was submitted by Don Frey, and was taken in the 1960s.

Noted longtime drum instructor Don Frey is the source of much of the information today. He wrote to me a couple of years ago to follow up on memories of Keyboard Studios. He listed for me MANY instructors there, including these, all direct quotes from his letter:

  • “Trumpet teachers were Bob McFarland, who also taught music at Central High School; and George Nixon, taught trumpet and retired from the Marine Band in Washington, D.C., and helped repair band instruments.”
  • “Harry Reber taught French horn and was the band director at Hannah Penn.”
  • “Joe Diario and Mr. Arcuri taught guitar.”
  • “George Ward taught woodwinds and strings, and was also my band director at Red Lion High School.”
  • “Earl Ward taught woodwinds and taught at Dover High School at the time.”
  • “Don Zech also taught woodwinds and taught in York City schools.”
  • “Mrs. Bob Miller taught flute and woodwinds.”
  • “Jean Wagner taught woodwinds at Spring Grove School District.”
  • “Norman Norris taught trombone after James Steffee left and took a music position at Susquehanna University.”
  • “Richard Truax taught woodwinds and flute and also was a piano tuner.”
  • “Hollis and Fred Mull were also piano tuners at Keyboard Studios.”
  • “The touch-up man for the organs and pianos was Harry Henise, who before did the same job at Weaver Piano Company.”
  • “The electronic and amplifier repairmen were Roy Enders, Jesse Bethlyon and Roy McConnell.”

Don Frey shared this photo of himself taken in 1971, when he started teaching for Keyboard Studios in West York.
Don Frey shared this photo of himself taken in 1971, when he started teaching for Keyboard Studios in West York.

Don also noted, “Some of the girls who worked in the office were Dorothy Snodgrass, Renee Long and Marion Willard. Band instrument sales and repairs to schools were George Wagner, who was also a woodwind man, and one of the best repairmen in the county, and was also my teacher for repairing band instruments.”

He continued, “I also assisted Mr. Wagner in band instrument sales. Harry Andrews was manager of the store and a graduate of Bucknell University. The assistant manager of sales and organs was Russ Adams, who also worked at Weaver Piano Company before Keyboard Studios. Harry Keller was also piano and organ sales; Leighton Hatfield taught organ and also did piano and organ sales. Frank Renault did demonstrations with organ concerts and I worked with Frank at different clubs when I was 16 or 17 years of age. He was a demonstrator for Chicago Instrument Company and toured the world playing for Lowrey Organs.”

Don added, “Keyboard Studios sold Wurlitzer pianos, Wurlitzer and Lowrey organs, old band instruments, Selmer woodwinds and flutes, all brands of guitars and drums, etc. The owner of Keyboard Studios was Zeswitz Music Company from Reading, PA. Mr. Zeswitz Sr. made all kinds of stringed instruments, especially violins. His son Bill was my main boss and a tremendous tennis player.”

Don also enclosed the two photos you see today. “I also am enclosing a picture of Don Frey and The Naturals that was taken in the ’60s, when we worked at the original Dutch Club, and worked with the original Four Freshmen… standing, top left, Karl Hassler, piano; Don Frey, drums; bottom left, Jim Donovan, Fender bass; bottom right, Ron Bowersox, saxophone.”

He concluded, “Also enclosed is a picture of myself when I started teaching for Keyboard Studios in West York…. I hope this gives you some history on Keyboard Studios.”

Don, it definitely does – thank you so much for your detailed work in putting all that together!

Finally for today, I have a note from reader Gary E. Lehman, who wrote in reply to a question asked at the start of this year by reader Ken. Ken wanted to know the name of a music and instrument store on East Market Street, just east of Sherman Street.

Gary wrote, “I believe the music store… is Julius Music Store. They sold sheet music and musical instruments. On the second floor there were a number of rooms where music teachers would give private music lessons. Also… it was sold and changed names but did not stay open very long under new name, which I can’t recall.”

Gary, thank you so much for that info!

Have questions or memories to share? Email me at or write to Ask Joan, York Daily Record/Sunday News, 1891 Loucks Road, York PA 17408. We cannot accept any phone calls with questions or information.