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Ken Rice – A Famous Local Musician

Temecula’s ‘Little House of Horns’ will celebrate twenty years in business this October. That’s quite an accomplishment for any business. At the helm is Ken Rice. A musician since age 14, he moved from Kansas to California and put in a ten-year apprenticeship at Hollywood’s famed “The Horn Connection.”

I caught up with Ken at his iconic shop and we talked about what’s going on at his shop since we last visited. He’s added guitar, piano and voice lessons and says, “That’s pretty cool.” Three other teachers work with him instructing guitar, trumpet, trombone and piano and another instrument repairman besides him. Ken teaches flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, bass clarinet and voice.

He offers “Little Band” classes every third Wednesday and anybody who plays an instrument is welcome to join in free of charge. He’s actively looking for venues where the “Little Band” can perform. He’s noticed lately that many more professional musicians are coming in, so he’s gearing the business more towards them.

As if the shop didn’t keep him busy enough, he’s performing 19 to 20 gigs a month, and he’s looking at potential bookings in France and Italy. Kenny played Europe in the 70s and says, “I would love to go back.” Last April he was inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the “Fabulous Flippers.” They spent seven days rehearsing and performed a 45-minute set.

With a nine-piece horn section and a full rhythm section they played a special tune for Buddy Miles who was inducted alongside the “Flippers.” They did an autograph session from three to seven. “I thought nobody would show up.” Instead he wound up signing hundreds of autographs. “It totally freaked me out.” They hope to perform a couple of shows next year.

Ken has been repairing donated instruments for about ten years now, which he in turn gives to the schools so the y can be placed in the hands of students who couldn’t otherwise afford them. He welcomes donations of both instruments and cash to purchase them.

Ken’s wife Lenore offered a cute aside. “When he asked me to marry him, after three days I told him under one condition. If you give up music, I will divorce you.”

“I think everything’s going good. We have good students, good rental people and pretty nice sales. I can’t complain. I’m still here. I’ll take it.” Hours have changed at the shop, and he asks that people call him to schedule an appointment at (951) 694-5554.

Temecula’s Little Shop of Horns is located at 27780 Jefferson Avenue. Visit kenricemusic.com.

 

Written by Tom Plant

Why not experience Temecula Wine Country with a guide who knows the area perhaps as well or better than anyone else. You can reach Tom Plant at (951) 907-9701 or via email at tom@wineormous.com.

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