Music for Maplewood: Kennedy Music, 1934-1979

9
148

Wanda Kuntz (Kennedy) and her bothers, Tom and Ray, grew up with music in Maplewood. Their parents, Ray and Mae, owned Kennedy Music, in various locations on Manchester Road from 1940 to 1979.

Tom and Ray Kennedy went on to have music careers in New York City. Kuntz teaches piano in St. Louis, where she lives with with her husband.

The business started with a music school owned by her dad and his bother in 1934. The first store was at the northeast corner of Manchester and Oakview Terrace in 1940. Stores followed in the 7400 block of Manchester, the 7100 block of Manchester, 7302 Manchester Road (current location of Citizens Bank Park) and finally 7310 Manchester Road. The last one closed at midnight on Christmas Eve, 1979.

“Maplewood has such a rich history of these independently-owned businesses, and it seems like now, still there are a lot of independent stores — people who are going for it. My parents definitely went for it,” Kuntz said.

Kuntz is four chapters into writing a book on her memories of the store.

Kennedy Music School students pose in 1940, the first year a music store was opened.
Kennedy Music School students pose in 1940, the first year a music store was opened.
The first music store was in this building at Manchester and Oakview Terrace. It fell down not long after they moved out in 1942. Wanda Kuntz
The first music store was in this building at Manchester and Oakview Terrace. It fell down not long after they moved out in 1942.
Wanda Kuntz thought this photo was from 1950 because that is the year "Here Comes Bunny Cottontail" came out.
Wanda Kuntz thought this photo was from 1950 because that is the year "Here Comes Bunny Cottontail" came out.
Kennedy Music takes part in a city parade.
Kennedy Music takes part in a city parade.
Ray Kennedy, left, in his store with a wide variety of electric and acoustic guitars.
Ray Kennedy, left, in the store at 7302 Manchester Road.
They almost went out of business with the store in the 7400 block of Manchester. Kuntz said this is the only picture she knows of where her father isn't smiling.
They almost went out of business with the store in the 7400 block of Manchester. Kuntz said this is the only picture she knows of where her father isn't smiling.
The music school recitals were held at the Maplewood HS stage or at the Admiral riverboat. This is the Admiral.
The music school recitals were held at the Maplewood HS stage or at the Admiral riverboat. This is the Admiral.
A mid-1960s rock group did a show at the store.
The Kennedys brought a rock group to the store in the mid-1960s.
Ray Kennedy Jr., Bob Heimberger (a cousin) and Tom Kennedy in store t-shirts.
Ray Kennedy Jr., Bob Heimberger (a cousin) and Tom Kennedy in store t-shirts.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks, Doug, for the interview and sharing the pictures. One correction: the picture of the falling building. The west side of the building fell while Kennedy Music and Dance was still in it. In fact they were in that building from about 1934 to about 1951 when we moved to the “Gold Block”. The collapse took place around 1945 or 46 when I was just a toddler, and my Uncle Ray had to chase me down the hall of the music school when I went running to see what all the noise was and almost got to the collapse. By the way, I’m the kid in costume in the 7400 “Gold Block” picture and the “Pied Piper” in the Admiral picture. We did our recitals both in Maplewood and took a few acts to the Admiral every year for many years.

  2. I will always remember my Uncle Ray taking me to White Castle and singing “Peg o’ My Heart” to me when I was a very little girl. Thank you, Doug for running this story, and thank you Wanda for writing a book about our family and Maplewood.

  3. Thank you for this — I was fortunate to teach at M-RH when Ray Kennedy was a student there. What a thrill to hear him play and to see the success he and Tom have enjoyed as professionals!!!!! I am so glad that the history of this fabulous Maplewood family will be chronicled!!!

  4. I bought my first guitar from them and took lessons. It was a fender telecaster that I still have. Since 1973, love that thing. Mr. Kennedy was the nicest guy, I still miss him.

  5. ‘Here Comes Peter Cottontail’ was the name of the song and album cover in the picture i believe to be from 1950. And my Uncle Tom was also integral in the beginnings of the music school. He couldn’t play an instrument but he was a very good dancer and dance instructor. Thanks for running the story, Doug!

  6. Those are wonderful photos. The one of the first Maplewood Bank building is the best I’ve ever seen of that building. Sure looks like it was built on unstable soil. It’s awfully crooked. I’d love to get high resolution copies of these for our collection at the Maplewood Library. Thanks for sharing them, Wanda.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here