Only in York County

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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 4

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 fourth installment of a series of musical memories from York County; you can read the first one at, the second at and the third at

I hope you’ll read on today for more of readers’ memories and photos on a variety of local musical topics. This is the last installment of the series for now, but I fully expect we will revisit these topics in the future!

Today, I’m finishing up by talking more about Keyboard Studios (which we talked about earlier in this series too), as well as J.P. Julius, a group called the Missionaires and more.

Weaver Organ trade card 2
This Weaver Organ trade card came from the ephemera collection of Joan Concilio and Chris Otto.

When we last talked about Keyboard Studios, I shared some detailed memories from drum teacher Don Frey on the many people who worked there.

I also heard from Carl Huber about Keyboard Studios. He wrote, “The music/instrument store in the 800 block of East Market Street was Keyboard Studios. I knew it well, having lusted after a $200 drum set there. This was shortly after the Beatles appeared, and everyone wanted to play guitar, or drums. Later, Joe Mirasola, who had owned the barber shop on the northeast corner of Philadelphia and Sherman, ran it as a music store. Monroe Brant operated a vending machine business in that location subsequently.”

I was particularly glad to hear of this as I know Mr. Mirasola through one of his daughters, my friend Ashley, and I have not talked about his music store nearly as much as I’d like!

I also heard about Keyboard Studios from Jane Jacobs, who wrote, “I admit I had to ask another friend about this, because I couldn’t recall the name either, but she said it was Keyboard Studios and it was across the street from the Goodwill Fire Department. I grew up on Sherman Street between Market and Philadelphia streets so these are places I am well familiar with. My grandfather was a volunteer at the Goodwill until he became the fire chief in York in the early ’60s. His name was Lewis Harbaugh.”

Jane, what a cool connection!

Also, Tom Chronister recalled, “My brother took accordion lessons at Keyboard Studios in the sixties. I know ’cause I had to go along and wait an hour every week.”

And Sylvia Spyker wrote, “That store was Keyboard Studios at 830 E. Market St. My husband and I bought our piano there.”

Meanwhile, I also heard more about some other local music stores as well as Keyboard studios from longtime reader and frequent commenter Tom Keasey, who wrote, “Julius Music was located on the north side in the 100 block of West Market Street. Likewise, Gingrich’s Music House was located on the north side in the 300 block of West Market Street. These stores sold and rented musical instruments, sold sheet music and had teachers who gave private lessons. The music store on the south side in the 800 block of E. Market St. was Keyboard Studios. Like Julius Music and Gingrich’s Music House, the store, Keyboard Studios sold and rented musical instruments, sold sheet music and had teachers who gave private lessons. In the late 1960s, I took private lessons on the organ, I think the cost for a weekly 30-minute lesson was $2 or $3 dollars. My instructor was the late Rev. Brian King, father of Adrian “Buddy” King of the Magnificent Men and Diane (King) Susak, a noted vocalist in the Christian recording industry. I can remember coming out from a lesson when I learned that Robert Kennedy had been assassinated.”

I also heard about Julius from Daryl Stull II, who wrote, “J.P. Julius music store sold every type of instrument. I forget their original location in York but they moved into the York County Shopping Center when it opened in 1957. I was in fourth grade when it opened and they had games food and many activities! I won a silver dollar encased in plasticity as a paper weight. Still have it.”

Also, Gloria Stickley noted, “We have an organ at the Strasburg Museum made by the J.P. Julius Pianos and Organs Co., York, PA. Please send me information on the years they were in business… Any information about the company will be helpful. Also, where do we find the serial number on the organ? Many thanks!”

Gloria, unfortunately I do not have many details at all on Julius, but I am hoping some readers will be able to provide more info!

On another musical topic, I heard from Thom Elicker, who wrote, “I am a former Yorker (moved away in 1971), but my sister still lives there and sends me your column from time to time. I always enjoy reading about the ‘old days,’ having spent my formative years growing up there. I do have two questions for you…”

He continued, “When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I seem to remember the Mouseketeers coming to York and appearing at the Strand or the Capitol. Did this really happen or was it just the imagination of a young boy who was totally in love with Annette Funicello?”

And, he asked, “I also played in a musical group, the Romans, back in the mid-’60s. I would be curious as to what happened to several of the other musical groups who were popular in that time frame. For example, what ever happened to the A Go Gos, the Druids, the Loose Enz, etc.?”

I would love to hear more about those groups – and can only imagine that such responses could lead to another installment in this series in the future!

I was excited to find a recording from the Loose Enz, which if you’re reading this in print you can see at

Finally for today, I want to talk about a cool group known as the Missionaires.

A reader named Beverly Fidler had been asking about the group because she had a recording of them.

After that, I found out about two former Missionaires. Reader Lindi Williams wrote of , “I am one of the five women on the album cover and the information about the group would be, we were together approximately over 20 years, traveling mainly in the southern York County area and into Maryland for a greater part of those years. We produced four recordings (three albums/one cassette). We had a great following and made many, many friends. The group changed personnel but continued until 1990.”

Interestingly, a friend and former coworker of my best friend, Nina Myers, is also a former Missionaire. Her name is Sue Shirey and I would love for her and anyone else who remembers or was in the group to provide more 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.