Band Is Back — and Canby Music Is Here for It

Band is back: That’s the message of the Canby Music store as they begin a new, reinvigorated academic year with schools back to full-time, in-person learning.

“September is generally on par if not better than the Christmas season for stores like us,” explained an excited Brian Haines, store owner. “Back to school is a big deal. We spend all summer working toward this and getting ready for it.”

The store has been busy for several weeks as the start of the school year drew nearer. While Canby was one of the first to return to full-time, in-person learning on Aug. 31, other school districts’ openings have been staggered through early to mid-September.

“We’ve been taking calls and orders,” Haines said. “We’ve been talking with band teachers. We’ve been getting ready, getting everything updated. We’ve got a new van to drive around to the schools to pick up instruments.”

Brian Haines and Christian Engerman, of Canby Music, perform at a community appreciation event at the Canby Police Department on Sept. 7. Photo by Tyler Francke.

Store clerk and repair wiz extraordinaire Nathan Doty is glad to be back to his usual work of repairing and servicing a wide variety of instruments — even if some of those fixes turn out to be decidedly un-usual.

“I got a trigger trombone in earlier this summer, and they were saying it was really stuffy,” he recalled with a laugh. “Lo and behold, I found four gummy bears inside the slide. So every time they blew through it, they were having to blow through all these gummy bears. I still don’t know how they got there, but that was pretty humorous.”

Doty spent a significant part of his summer visiting the various local schools and educators they work with, collecting the various instruments in need of repair and servicing.

“It was probably a lighter load, I’d say, not as many kids were playing on them,” Doty said. “But it was still nice to be able to work on them and get them ready for the school year. I’m sure the teachers appreciated having all their inventory sanitized and ready to go.”

The Canby Music team members are not the only ones relieved that the school year is cautiously trending back toward normal.

“I think it’s no secret that all the band teachers did not like distance learning,” Haines said with a laugh. “It’s one thing when you’re just doing science or math. But band is like a team sport. It’s like trying to play football through Zoom.”

With some coronavirus restrictions still in place, band teachers have gotten creative this year, including in Canby, incorporating larger and even outdoor spaces to facilitate teaching and learning while keeping students safe and healthy.

“Masks and all, as long as they’re together in the same room or the same area, they’ll be able to have band and be successful,” Haines said.

Kids who join the school band often find the work pays dividends later in life, says the Canby Music team.

“They make friends for life,” Haines said. “Five, 10, 20 years down the road, they’re going to remember each other. And they learn to work together and compromise so they can play songs together.”

“They say doing music is something that really helps with your memory later in life,” Doty agreed. “I mean, it’s something you can do your entire life. There’s nothing I enjoy more than playing in a band. When we all get together, and form that music together — oh man, it’s so much fun.”

Canby Music offers a wide variety of instruments for rent and sale, along with experienced, caring instructors. Earlier this month, they celebrated one year at their new location, 590 NW 1st Ave. For more information, visit or call 503-263-2263.