Lost Huntington: Becker Music Store
Editor’s note: This is the 273rd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — Over the years, the Becker Music Store, operated by a father and his two sons, played a huge role in the musical life of Huntington, tutoring and inspiring countless young musicians.
Bernard Frederick Becker Sr. came to Huntington from Clarksburg, W.Va., in 1921 and opened Becker Music the following year. Originally located at 421-424 20th St., the store was later moved to 924 6th Ave. In 1938, it relocated to 1040 4th Ave., where it would operate for nearly 30 years.
Becker’s first floor housed sales departments for pianos and organs, every type of band and orchestral instrument, sheet music, records, phonographs and radios. Separate quarters in the rear housed a complete service department. A staff of 12 was kept busy on sales and service.
The building’s second floor was home to the widely respected Becker School of Music, where 15 teachers offered private instruction on a wide variety of instruments. At one point, the store opened a branch location in Gallipolis, Ohio.
B. Frederick Becker Jr. majored in music at Marshall College and served five years in the Army, during which time he was a member of the Army Band at Fort Crowder, Missouri. After leaving the service, he joined his father at the family’s store and was active musically in the community.
Another son, David E. Becker, earned a master’s degree in viola and violin music at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Then he too joined the family’s business.
When Becker Music closed in 1966, David became band director at Wayne County High School. In 1974, he began teaching in the Cabell County schools as a string music specialist. He was director of music for Cabell County Schools from 1985 until his retirement in 1992. He played in the Charleston Symphony and was the founding principal violist of the Huntington Chamber Orchestra and the Huntington Symphony.
B. Frederick Becker Sr. died in 1981. Fred Jr. died in 1999 and David in 2014.