Charles Chase, poet, proprietor of The Folk Music Center, and expert on folk
instruments from around the world, died on May 21 in Claremont, CA. He was 89.
In operation for almost 50 years, the Folk Music Center includes a music store,
repair shop, performance stage and school as well as a museum that contains
several hundred antique instruments, many of them donations from loyal
customers. Chase and his wife, Dorothy, moved to California in 1957. He taught high school
and opened the folk music store in 1958. Dorothy taught guitar, dulcimer and
banjo and Charles repaired instruments. Six years after they opened the
business, Chase quit teaching and made the music center his full-time job. Since
then, three generations of family members have worked there.
Chase led a weekly program for schoolchildren for more than 20 years,
demonstrating how to play the instruments and pointing out on a globe from what
country they came. "My grandfather loved sharing the music," said
singer-songwriter Ben Harper who worked at the center repairing instruments
until his performance career took off. "Without my grandfather, I don’t think
I’d be doing what I do."
[This obituary is reproduced by courtesy of the