The founder of a beloved Fredericton music store is being remembered for his passion for the local music scene and supporting the people in it.
Tony George, founder of Tony's Music Box, was 86.
The store announced his death on Wednesday in an online post, garnering dozens of comments from past customers about George's influence on the music community.
"He was the go-to guy for us for so many years. He always had an open ear, he always had good advice," said Brent Staeben, director of the Harvest Music Festival.
Staeben said George was a cheerleader for the local music scene. His greatest memories of George are about how supportive he was, the advice he offered — even offering up his store as a meeting place.
"Such a tremendous loss to the community, to hear of Tony's passing," Staeben said.
George opened the business in 1975 with his wife, Rosemarie.
After opening, the store became the "epicentre" of the local music community, said Staeben.
"For many, many years it was the only music store, so we went there for everything," he said.
"Every musician, right from the young piano player looking for their books starting out with their piano teacher to the band programs and then professional performing musicians."
A popular spot with visiting musicians
He pointed to musicians like Duke Robillard from Rhode Island and Matt Andersen who visited and even played in Tony's store.
It was almost a rite of passage, he added, for visiting musicians, and even headliners at Harvest, to stop by Tony's Music Box.
George was also a musician himself, Staeben said, describing him as an incredible drummer whose love of music always showed on his face whenever he performed, including with his own group, the Tony George Jazz Quartet.
Tony's Music Box is still family-owned and operated by Tony's two children: Michael George and Terri George.