by Stephen Dafoe
Morinville’s Smith Music has been making music and musical memories for two decades. The local music school, recording studio, and instrument store celebrates 20 years in business this month.
The company has come a long way from starting in twin offices in the former convent at the back of St. Jean Baptiste Park.
Owner Paul Smith said 20 years ago he was playing on the road, mostly in Western Canada, and looking to make a change.
Country music was big at the time, and the bass player had taken up the guitar early on in his musical career to make himself more marketable to the country, blues and rock bands he toured with at an age where he was not old enough to drink in the bars where he played.
Smith stayed on the road from the age of 16 until he was 20, finally looking to get back into teaching, something he’d done from the age of 12 until he started touring.
“I’m grateful to the musicians that I got to play with,” he said of his road days. “But I didn’t enjoy that part of being on the road where I didn’t get to be with family, didn’t get to have roots. I loved and missed teaching. Going on the road solidified how much I loved teaching.”
Smith had taught music from the age of 12 to the age of 16. At the time of leaving the travelling musician’s path behind, Smith’s brother had recently opened an office to teach approximately ten students. Smith decided to join him in business, and the brothers ran the business out of two offices in the old convent building downtown. Smith bought his brother out in 2001, and when the Town sold the convent building, the business moved to 100 Street where the Dance Studio is now. From there, he moved shop to the current Hunters Print and Copy location before buying his present building.
The enterprise now occupies the former Morin’s Auto on 100 Street, and Smith has transformed the one-time garage into a state-of-the-art studio over the better part of the last decade.
The latest transformations took place over the summer and are nearing completion for the business’ next phase of growth.