Local Biz: Dale Music (est. 1950)

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Carol Warden, president and owner of Dale Music Company. Dale Music has been in Silver Spring since 1950. We’ve been in this location, 8240 Georgia Avenue for almost that long. The store has teaching facilities, we sell sheet music. We have probably the best choral and organ department in the country. We sell musical accessories, guitars, violins. We rent musical instruments. That will stop soon. Some of our employees have been with us over 40 years.

What are some of the items at your store that stand out?

We have teaching studios. We have an unusual collection of antique musical instruments. They are from all over the world. We have clarinets dating from the 1820s. We have old flutes and Civil War Brass. We have a sarussophone and a rathaphone.

Dale Music Storefront
Photo courtesy of Jonna Huseman, www.jhphotograph.com

How did you end up in Silver Spring?

My father was the second music teacher hired for Montgomery County. Shortly thereafter, there wasn’t a music store in Silver Spring. The community was growing rapidly, Montgomery County was growing rapidly as a suburb of Washington. My father felt that it was a good time to start a music store here. My mother worked with him until he came home after school. That’s how they started. My mother used to say she used to keep this big Wexler catalog in the bathroom of the store, and if somebody asked for something and she didn’t know what it was, she would go look it up in the catalog, and then remember that she had seen it in the store somewhere. My mother was a lawyer by training, so she wasn’t that familiar with the music industry.

Dale Music Sheet Music
Photo courtesy of Jonna Huseman, www.jhphotograph.com

How have you seen Silver Spring change?

When I grew up here, we left our doors unlocked, our cars unlocked. As teenagers, we went to the movies and spent Saturdays at Woolworths, JC Penny’s, Jelof’s shopping for ourselves, and going to restaurants and feeling very safe, even from the time that I was probably 10. I used to walk to work and open the store every morning as a young woman. I would close the store at night, three nights a week and walk back to Colspring Plaza. I never had any incidents. I never felt unsafe. I’m not sure that’s true today.

What do you love about Silver Spring?

I love its multicultural feeling. I think that’s great.

What do you dislike about Silver Spring?

It’s deserted at this end of the woods at night. I guess I shouldn’t call us the woods anymore. A couple times I come here after dark and I find that the street are deserted, especially in the winter. We could use better lighting.

When you go out, where would someone typically find you?

If it’s lunchtime, I usually go across the street to the Big Greek Cafe, or Olazzo’s. In the evening, you might find me at the Cultural Arts Center at Montgomery College. I play with an orchestra there that plays on Sunday afternoons four times a year, The Symphony of the Potomac.

Dale Music Instruments
Photo courtesy of Jonna Huseman, www.jhphotograph.com

What Hidden Gems are there?

I love Metamorphosis, the women’s boutique.

Is there anything else that should be said about Silver Spring?

I’d like to see it change to a vibrant place again. When we had a movie theater on this block, we had people coming into the store in the evenings. We just don’t have any traffic at this end of the block anymore.

Lastly, we will be announcing March 1 that we are closing June 30 after 64 years.


Banner image courtesy of Jonna Huseman, www.jhphotograph.com

Pete Tan
A DC Native, people say I'm rude and abrasive; I say I'm passionate. I've been working in marketing since 2005. My brothers and I paid Geppi's rent through the 80s and 90s. My relief at an indoor wavepool never materializing in Silver Spring is balanced by my disappointment that City Place has dozens of shuttered storefronts. I love what you've done with your hair.

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