One of the success stories of local businesses is undoubtedly the story of Kline Music, which is celebrating its 50th year in business.
And in honor of its longevity in the music products industry, the store, which is located at 2200 Sutterville Road, across the street from the Sacramento City College softball stadium, recently received the Milestone Award from the National Association of Music Merchants.
According to a press release, “The award recognizes retailers and manufacturers who have succeeded over the years through best practices and strong community standing to reach a landmark anniversary.”
Joe Lamond, NAMM president and CEO, said, “Those that endure in the music products industry credit their longevity to providing exemplary customer service, becoming integral members of their communities, adapting over time and forging strong succession plans. NAMM is honored to call (Kline Music) a member and looks forward to supporting their success for many years to come.”
NAMM is a not-for-profit association with a mission to “strengthen the $17 billion music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music.”
The association includes about 9,000 member companies in more than 87 countries.
In commenting about her family’s store, Penny Kline, one of the daughters of the business’s founder, Betty Kline, and the store’s afternoon manager, said, “I am proud to say that Kline Music employs four generations of the Kline family and continues to be family-owned and operated.”
Candy Anderson, another one of Betty’s daughters and a violin and flute teacher at the store, noted that considering that her father, the late W. Russell “Russ” Kline, was a musician, grew up in a musical family and established the Sacramento Youth Band, many people assume that her father founded Kline Music.
A year after establishing a very basic music accessories store in the basement of her Curtis Park residence at 3429 Franklin Blvd., Betty founded Kline Music at its original location at 5032 Franklin Blvd. at 26th Avenue in the Farmers Market Shopping Center in early 1963.
During an interview with this publication last week, Betty, who graduated from Sacramento High School in 1945, shared details about the pre-history portion of her business.
“Before the store front, my husband (who was a 1942 graduate of Sacramento High School and a woodwind instrument instructor) was giving private (music) lessons at home,” Betty said. “We had bought this two-story house on Franklin Boulevard, and he taught downstairs and we lived upstairs in one of those high-rise houses. People would drop their kids off and he had been teaching in our house since they were just small children in a different location (at 2511 23rd Ave.). When we moved there to (the Franklin Boulevard house), I got the brilliant idea, ‘We could have other teachers teaching here.’ So, we got a couple more teaching rooms going downstairs in the basement. And (Russ Kline) was always sending me downtown because the kids, ‘Well, they’ve got a broken reed,’ or the mother cut off the reed or whatever. And we had a guitar teacher (Zeke Nuez) right from the beginning and he would come to (teach) a lesson and he would have a broken string. So, I ended up buying a little showcase-like thing (stocked with music supplies) and kept it locked downstairs in the basement. So, I would go running downstairs, if somebody needed something. Russ would knock on the water pipe to get my attention. And so, that’s really the (unofficial) start of the store. And one day, our washing machine broke down – I had four children – so, I go down to (the FM) Laundromat (at 5036) Franklin Blvd. and there’s this place for rent (at 5032 Franklin Blvd., where Bookkeepers’ Business Service Corp. had previously operated). I figured I could lease this building, and so that’s how the store officially started.”
One of Kline Music’s first instructors, a trombone teacher named Bob Lindfeldt, built the teaching rooms at the first two locations of Kline Music. Additionally, Bob and his wife, Beverly, are remembered for their longtime association with the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society.
During the store’s early years, Kline Music had 10 instructors, who taught lessons in clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, accordion, guitar, drums and even baton twirling by the Satellites champion baton twirlers.
Today, the store has a teaching staff of 26 and provides instruction for nearly 700 private music students per week. Classes range from trombone, saxophone, flute and piano to guitar, violin, accordion and drums.
Kline Music’s longest term instructor is Mike Bobo, who began teaching piano lessons at the business in 1977.
The store has continuously rented musical instruments throughout its existence.
In recalling a certain day related to the store’s musical rentals in the early 1980s, Candy said, “(On one occasion), we rented out 50 instruments. That’s how busy we were. Although the store was nowhere near what it is today (in terms of renting instruments), it was still substantial.”
The current location of the store opened in 1980, following about nine years of operation at 4905 47th Ave., where the business added a musical instrument repairs department.
Betty purchased Kline Music’s present building, which was constructed in about 1956 and originally housed Capital Curtain and Rug Cleaners. The store’s previous buildings had all been rented on lease agreements.
In addition to Kline family members previously mentioned in this article, other members of the family who have worked at Kline’s Music are: Stan Kline (former trumpet teacher, Betty’s son); Paul Anderson (morning manager, Candy’s husband); Nick Meagher (piano teacher, Penny’s son); Katie Dahl (employee, Penny’s daughter); Julie Solorzano (employee, Candy’s daughter); and Anisa Solorzano (employee, Julie’s daughter).
Betty, who also has another daughter named Melody, said that she is proud of her business’s achievement of serving the public for 50 years.
“I am proud of my own ability to start the store,” Betty said. “It is nice to be celebrating 50 years in business. It’s what I have always hoped for and I hope the Kline family will keep the store as a permanent fixture in the city for years to come.”
In reaching a half-century in business, Kline Music will celebrate this milestone with a 50th anniversary party at Sierra 2 Center, Curtis Hall at 2791 24th St. on June 9 from noon to 6 p.m.
Kline Music is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.
For additional information about this business, call (916) 456-8742 or visit the Web site www.klinemusic.com.