Searching for the sound

Kevin Curley
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Couple looks back on years as music storeowners

Andy and Pat Leonard, originally from Jamestown, have seen a lot of youth come through their doors to buy their first guitar, bass and drum set.

Andy Leonard, Ches March and Pat Leonard stand in A&P music as co-workers for the last time. March bought the store from the couple he had worked with for the last ten years and is keeping the name.

Owning a music store means you get to watch the musicians grow, improve and upgrade along with their skills.

The couple is retiring after 17 years, and they say they will miss the music and the people the most.

"It's fantastic interacting with musicians. They are good people and easy to deal with and nice to talk to," says Andy Leonard.

They might not have had any A-list celebrities like Jimmy Page or Bob Dylan walk through their doors, but they got to know everyone involved in the local music scene over the years and they say that was more than enough.

Newfoundland country singer/songwriter Harve Bishop was a frequent guest and the couple ended up opening for him at some of his concerts.

They recall seeing a young man come in and buy an accordion with money he had earned delivering The Packet. Years later, he is now an accordion player with popular local group the Harbour Tomcods.

"We've seen a lot of improvement in the singers over the years and a lot have produced their own CDs and have done really well with it," says Pat Leonard.

The couple have remained active in the Clarenville and Area music scene and helped found the highly popular Jamestown coffeehouses. They also provide sound free of charge of all of the fundraising concerts in Jamestown.

When they opened their doors in 1997, they had $3,000 worth of inventory and did about $10 in sales, Andy told The Packet.

$3,000 would barely buy one high-end guitar and amp today.

"When you sell a $300 guitar you would be out of your head with excitement. Now, you've got to sell a $3,000 guitar to get that same excitement," he says.

While fads and pricing has changed quite a bit in the world of music over the past 17 years, the seven notes in the western musical scale has remained the same and so has their love of music.

The couple is planning to enjoy retirement by recording another CD, as Pat's previous album has sold 3,000 copies and friends and music lovers in the community are looking for another.

They are planning to move back to Jamestown, their hometown, and build a wharf.

So, residents of Jamestown will no doubt be seeing them play old-time numbers at the local coffee houses for years to come.

Organizations: The Packet

Geographic location: Jamestown, Newfoundland, Clarenville

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