02/01/2012 - By Gayle Irwin
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An old saying goes: "Music is the language of love." Many people love music, and a Casper store with a strong community connection helps prove that fact. That store with its history and legacy soon will have new owners.
Kurt and Lara Gilbert recently purchased Hill Music. However, the couple is not new to the business; Kurt has worked at the store since 1990. Neither is the couple new to music: Kurt plays trumpet in the City Band and Lara sings in her church's choir.
They do not intend to stray from the business's strengths which include selling and renting musical equipment, offering a wide variety of sheet music, providing repair service, and assisting Wyoming schools in numerous ways.
"We are a full music store," Kurt said.
The store's community history began in the 1970s as Les Parsons Music, located downtown, according to Kurt. The name was changed to Hill Music under new ownership in 1984, and the store moved to the current location in Hilltop Shopping Center during the mid-1990s, he said.
As the Gilberts take ownership, the process of cleaning out old stock, especially in the sheet music, is taking place. They envision helping schools not only in Wyoming but also around the nation garner nostalgic music.
"There may be some hidden treasures in there," Lara said of the sheet music. "There are a lot of things we can do with it to help clear some space in the store."
One of the most important Hill Music legacies is its relationship with schools around the state. Kurt travels frequently, meeting with music educators throughout Wyoming.
"I get one-on-one face time with teachers, seeing how we can best help them, and make deliveries as needed," Kurt said.
"It's helpful to the teachers," Lara added. "Music is important for kids – music is a leg-up to learning.
"We are very community and state-focused," she said.
Rentals are available for band and orchestra.
"It's a great way to make sure your child really wants to play that particular instrument before paying the money to buy an instrument he/she may discover he/she really doesn't enjoy playing," she said.
"Hill Music also offers practice rooms and provides recommendations for music lessons," she added.
The store also provides instruments for people wanting to have their own band.
"We have the best equipment for a pro shop, those garage bands and those that play in clubs," Kurt said.
Hill Music employs five people in addition to the Gilberts and offers a full time repair shop.
"We are doing more and more of that," Lara said.
Many on the staff have been with the business for several years, adding to that community legacy.
"We're not going to change things that work," Lara said.
Hill Music is located in the Hilltop Shopping Center. Winter hours are 9:00 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday, and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays. For more information on the store and its offerings, call 265-5044.
Since February is the month of love (remember Valentine's Day!) and music is the language of love, perhaps the love of your life will appreciate a gift of music from a store with decades of community history and a legacy that continues to be nurtured and cultivated by its new owners.