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Old May 30, 2004, 11:19 AM   #1
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Default Loss of a great man....Charles Chase....renown music shop owner, friend to all, grandfather of Ben Harper

Hello all...

Though I'd post this in memory of a great man. Charles Chase ran the folk music center in Claremont, CA (it's near Pamona), and it was a most-cosmic place! The shop had instruments from all over the world, as well as albums by artists from all corners of the globe. Mr Chase had a real passion for music and tried to share that enthusiasm with all that entered his shop. I got to know Mr Chase from making several trips to Claremont to see friends of my mother's (one of whom was Mr Chase). She had lived in Claremont for several years, and got to know the Chases, their children and their grandchildren (including little Ben), quite well. I feel very fortunate that I was able to meet this great man, and will always treasure the memories that I have of him. I (sadly) learned of his passing this morning while watching the news on CNN. He was so well-known and his shop so well loved, that he made the national news! Wow....

Here is the website for the store that he ran with his wife (where, when someone would enter the shop, Mr Chase would approach him/her, and simply whisper to the individual, "the instruments need to be played", encouraging one to take any instument off the wall/out of display, and simply play it...and there were instruments from ALL OVER the world in that place!! !!)

I'd encourage you to check it out--it's known the world over, as it is such a unique place!!!

And, here is the obit for the great Mr Chase, who, in case I didn't mention it before, is the grandfather of Ben Harper--THE Ben Harper (who my mother knew when he was a little child!!!)

Charles Chase Obit (in full)

Charles Chase and Ben Harper

Claremont folklorist Charles Chase, 89

CLAREMONT - Charles Chase, a folklorist and poet whose eclectic Folk Music Center became a destination for musicians, literati and the curious alike, has died of a stroke. He was 89.

Chase died May 21 at the Mountain View Alzheimer's Center, his daughter, Ellen Chase, said.

His fascination with musical instruments from around the globe led him to open the Claremont center nearly a half-century ago. Over time it came to include a music store, repair shop, performance stage and school, as well as a museum that contained several hundred antique instruments.

Chase allowed customers to play all the instruments in the center: antique Tibetan temple horns, American banjos, Polynesian conch shells and African tongue drums as well as new guitars and drums.

A kindred spirit of folk music legends Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger, Chase led a weekly program for schoolchildren for more than 20 years, demonstrating how to play the instruments.

"My grandfather loved sharing the music," said Ben Harper, a singer-songwriter who worked at the center repairing instruments until his performance career took off. "Without my grandfather, I don't think I'd be doing what I do."

Chase's interest in music was matched by a commitment to social causes and he spent much of his adult life fighting for issues dear to his heart the environment and the rights of underdogs.

Raised on a farm in New Hampshire, Chase graduated from the University of New Hampshire at Durham and went to work as a schoolteacher. After moving to California, he eventually left teaching behind after opening the music center in 1958 with his wife, Dorothy.

Artists, musicians and international students from the nearby Claremont Colleges often found their way to the shop. Until recent years, he left the back door of the center unlocked to make it easier for friends to get to his office.

Chase is survived by his wife and four children, along with 10 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

We miss you Charles!
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Old May 30, 2004, 03:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: Loss of a great man.... Charles Chase....

<font color="purple"> Thanks, Rahil!! Much appreciated! </font>
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Old May 31, 2004, 07:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: Loss of a great man.... Charles Chase....

ben harper is one of my favorite musicians; any man that influenced ben's music was certainly special. i'm sorry for his loss as well as yours, BC mr. chase sounds like quite an extraordinary individual who will be greatly missed.
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