Lunsford’s Music to Close their Doors in 2023

Putting children first is the legacy of Lunford’s Music, which plans to close its doors eventually in 2023.  Owner Sonja Lunsford Rogers’ retirement gift to the community is a remarkable offer of selling all the used rental instruments at value pricing.

“When a child shows interest in learning an instrument, reading music, and just being part of a band, good things start to happen.  I hope these students continue their appreciation of music for a lifetime,” said Sonja.

Sonja plans to retire after 40 years of serving the East Tennessee music community, especially in band and orchestra rentals and supplies for schools.  She was band director at Scott High School when she met business founder Daniel Lunsford, and they married in 1985.  The late Mr. Lunsford had started the music business out of his basement in 1981.  The couple worked together for many years out of the Lunsford’s Music store in Knoxville.

40-year Campbell County Band Director Don Hendricks, now serving as Teaching Assistant, remembers the early days.  “He was just starting out,” said Don about Daniel Lunsford when he would arrive at the school with a car full of reeds, valve oil and other band supplies to see what an instructor might need.  Don and Sonja had both studied music at Cumberland College, and he suggested that maybe Daniel should go visit the band director at Scott High School.  Little did he know that Sonja — that Scott High School Band Director — would soon become a Lunsford herself.  Don said the couple seemed to work very well together as their business grew.

Cole Hunt remembers meeting the Lunsford’s family when he was a young musician involved in the All-East Tennessee Band in Gatlinburg.  “My band director, Kayla Avery, told me, ‘If you need anything, go to the Lunsford’s table.’  Sonja and the Lunsford’s crew were a fixture at this event.  They would have reeds, oil, and anything else you might need in a pinch – as well as event schedules, candy, and a friendly face to see when you had a break from rehearsals.”

Don said he admired that the couple always kept the focus on helping as many students as they could with early music education. “There are several of my students that have provided instruments to those who couldn’t afford it, just so the kids could stay in band. It’s going to be a major void when Sonja retires, because she and Lunford’s have served thousands of young musicians with a sense of service – and there’s not really anybody stepping up to take her place.”

“Sonja was there for me when literally no one else was,” remembered the former Band Director of North Greene High School in Greeneville. Jessica Gass said, “My first teaching job was in a very rural area, far away from any type of music store or repair shop. I was starting a high school band that had never existed before. When everyone else told me that we were too far away and didn’t have enough students to service, Sonja was the one who didn’t even blink an eye to help my students and myself. Lunsford’s music visited me once a week, just like they would at any other school. Even though we were small, Lunsford’s didn’t make us feel less than; they made us feel just as important as any other school. That little band went from starting with 12 members, and when I left, it was up to 78 members. This would not have been possible without the help and faith of community stakeholders and people like Sonja Lunsford.”  Jessica currently leads Music K-5 and Band at Mt. Horeb Elementary School in Jefferson County. “Sonja, thank you for always being there for me throughout my teaching career. You have blessed many lives, including mine.” 

Cole now shares his talents as Band Director of Burchfield School in Scott County. He said he is incredibly sad to see the doors closing on this locally owned store. “Lunsford’s has stood by their motto of putting kids first.  I can’t tell you the number of times that they have saved the day with a last-minute repair before a concert, or finding a way to get something to you…

Sonja has been a great music education advocate for our area, and she has personally encouraged my students to pursue music beyond middle school.”

Plans are in the works to close the business and sell the brick building that houses the popular store. So, the Lunsford’s Music family wants to be sure those who have supported them for so long by renting their instruments get the first chance to buy them.  All used rental instruments are going on sale to the general public as they return to inventory.  However, if you currently rent from Lunford’s Music, you are asked to either return or take the option to purchase your instrument by June 16, 2023.  You can get detailed information on the value pricing by reaching sklunsford@yahoo.com or calling 865-523-0276.  The store has always carried rentals of better brands and good quality that are meant to last with proper maintenance.  So, these prices of a few hundred dollars per instrument are on many the store had purchased new for thousands.

As rentals are returned this summer, the store will continue selling all of its inventory. Repair work for customers will end on or before June 1. Like and Follow Lunsford’s Music on Facebook for announcements about final summer sales. The Lunford’s Music family deeply appreciates your loyal support over more than four decades!

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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