Music-Store Owners Set the Rhythm of Downtown

Mike and Lillian Hall have fun being a mainstay on Main Street. Photo by Tim Robison

When Mike Hall was growing up in Hendersonville, his older brothers and sisters bought their stereos and 45s at Tempo Music. And when he started playing drums, Hall bought his sticks there. As fate would have it, while managing a local motel, Hall had the chance to purchase Tempo Music in 1975, and he did.

“I knew I loved records, and I knew I loved drums,” he recalls. Hall’s wife, Lillian, an architect of the county’s strings program and violinist with local orchestras and chamber groups, manages instrument rentals and repairs at the store. “You could say that music brought us together, and the rest is history. It’s kind of cool,” she says.

What first got you excited about music?

Mike Hall: If you weren’t in a garage band in 1964, you were nobody. It was just a time when it seemed like music permeated everyone’s household. I would go to the Teenage Canteen, go to the YMCA for sock hops. I lived a block from the high school and                                  lived 20 yards from the Girl Scout Cabin. They turned the music up real loud back then, so you could hear it without having to pay the dollar to get in. It was environment, and luck, and a friend telling me I was a drummer waiting to happen.                                                               

Lillian Hall: My mom was a talented pianist, and she said I had to do some sort of music. I wasn’t interested in lessons from my mother, so she shoved me over to the violin. I’m grateful that she did, because it really did teach me a lot of lessons about being confident.

What brought you to Hendersonville after graduating from Appalachian State?

LH: The symphony hired me as a part-time strings teacher in 1979, and after two years we were a regular part of the curriculum. Mike had been hearing about the new strings teacher, and he was interested in me before I walked in the door. I had no idea. I thought he was married because he had pressed clothes. He had creases in his pants. I thought, “Goodness, he’s got to be married.” He asked me if I wanted to play tennis one day, and I said, “Well, yeah, but what about your wife?”

What’s been the best part of running Tempo?

LH: For me, it’s being a part of the people and the activities. There’s so much going on in this town, and it’s just stimulating to be in the middle of the excitement.

MH: We’re seeing the children that we helped get a violin the the ’70s grow up, and now they’re bringing their children in to play violin. A guy came in the other day and said that he started playing drums because of me. He’s a talented drummer and makes a bunch of money and blames it every bit on being in the store and seeing me sit down to demo a set of drums. The fact that there was a local music store for him to come into and get psyched was a good thing.

Tempo Music is located at 244 N. Main Street in Hendersonville. Info: 828-693-8276 or tempomusicwnc.com.

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