The history of Summerhays Music Company is a time line of growth and events leading to the successful music retail organization it has now become. Hyrum Summerhays breathed life into the company in 1936 and still today, in our 76th year, Summerhays Music Center is alive and well renting/selling thousands of band and orchestra instruments and hundreds of pianos each year.

Summerhays Music was founded by Hyrum “Hy” Summerhays in 1936. Hyrum Summerhays was a band man. He was a bandmaster and accomplished wind musician teaching music across the country, including being the Music Director for Interlochen Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan. Hyrum started Summerhays Music Center with $507.14 and at the end of the first month, Hyrum had already turned a profit of $26.16. The business continued to grow and to help with the increasing business, Hyrum hired two employees, Glen Beckstead and Colleen Hanley. Glen Beckstead was a steadfast employee for almost 40 years. Colleen Hanley soon became Hyrum’s wife and started the tradition of the family working for the company.

It wasn't until World War II that Hyrum Summerhays entered the piano market due to the production restrictions during the war. Hyrum and Colleen traveled around the western states purchasing used pianos from individuals for $50.00 and up. Summerhays Music became a successful piano retailer because of Hyrum’s ingenuitive marketing skills. He realized that if he placed ads in the newspaper, people would sell their pianos and Hyrum could ship them back to Salt Lake City to resell them.

The business continued to grow as did the Summerhays family. In the late 1950's Hyrum began organizing bands for the “Days of ‘47 Parade” held in Salt Lake City each July. Because of his music teaching background, Hyrum knew many band teachers across the state and asked them to come to Salt Lake City for the event. Again, Hyrum’s marketing abilities allowed the store to become more well known and for business to grow, this time in band and orchestra instruments. In 1974, Hyrum Summerhays received his most prized award, the “Service to Music Award” from the Utah Music Educators Association.

Summerhays Music further expanded and had to move buildings frequently over the years to compensate for the growth in business and in 1979, Summerhays Music moved to its current location allowing for a much larger showroom floor for instrument inventory. In 1977 Hyrum Summerhays died of a heart attack and his son, Briant H. Summerhays, took over as President of Summerhays Music Center and his daughter Laurel Summerhays became Vice President.

Current Management

Today, the current management includes Scott Summerhays as the President, and CEO. Scott earned an MBA from the University of Utah, graduating as a Deans Scholar and worked as a labor relations advisor and as a management consultant before returning to the family business in 1992. Scott is still asked to use his management consulting talents with ballet and arts organizations in Salt Lake City, Tampa, and California. Scott currently serves as the President of the National Association of School Music Dealers.

 
 

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