VanCurler Music is closing

VanCurler ext.jpg

This Saturday marks the end of an era in Capital Region music.

After nine decades in business the Schenectady music shop VanCurler -- its motto: "All Music in Print" -- is closing its doors. It's been selling sheet music and music books to musicians, actors, teachers and students in the Capital Region since the 1920s, and it's been across from the stage door in the Proctors arcade since the 30s.

Current owners Rhoda Luborsky and her mother, Florence Luborsky, have been operating the VanCurler since 1984, but in recent years business has been steadily declining.

The reason probably won't surprise you.

On a recent visit to VanCurler, a patron stopped in and asked for advice on a purchase for her grandson. She wanted to make him more excited about playing the piano. So Rhoda Luborsky escorted the woman to a shelf and helped her pick out a piece.

While she was paying for her purchase, the woman told a story about a purchase she recently made for the boy -- on an internet sheet music site. On her way out the door she told Luborsky, "Thank you for being here."

"That was a perfect example," Luborsky said. "That was something we could have found for her."

VanCurler inside the arcade.jpg

But Luborsky doesn't blame the patrons. She says she's grateful to all the wonderful musicians and teachers who have stopped by over the years, but she chalks up the decline in business to a changing world.

"It's an industry-wide issue with the internet and publishers selling direct rather than supporting print stores," says Luborsky. "It really hurts when you find a teacher that used to come to you all the time hasn't been around, and then you realize they are dealing directly with the publisher because the publisher is giving them a discount and wooing them, basically. Everybody tries as much as they can to support us, but don't forget, artists and musicians don't make a lot of money."

Still, Luborsky points out, there are things that are harder to find in an online shopping experience.

"We have a lot of knowledge," she says "We have a lot of ideas when they ask, 'What should I do with this student?' or 'What would be a good piece for me to play? I've just finished this.' Unfortunately that doesn't pay the bills without having the basic method books. There are associations of print music and things like that and everybody tries to think of ideas to get more customers in, but realistically the way society is, with online 'push a button and get your thing' -- whatever it is -- that really changes the landscape."

VanCurler Uke music .jpg

Luborsky says she grew up in a culture of music education and music will always be a part of her life. She's not sure what's next for her or what will move into the space at the arcade. She says she'll miss the customers, the people she works with, and working within a vibrant arts community.

VanCurler will close -- both its shop and online store -- at the end of business this Saturday, August 27.


I am so sorry to hear this. I am a music teacher and I love shopping at Van Curler.

This is so very sad...and is happening more and more....

I am so sad to hear this news! Rhoda, you have been a source of a wealth of information. I have shopped at van curler, first as s student and now as a teacher. It has been a beautiful relationship from the start and has been for the last almost 50 years. I am so sad that I was unaware of your closing till today. I am disappointed that I won't be able to personally say my goodbyes to you and Sean as well as shop in your store just one last time! Van Curler has provided such a wonderful service for so many, many years and you will be sorely missed. I wish you all the best and will remember my experiences with fond, fond memories.

I am at a loss to say much more than the other comments, however, I will add that sadness is embedded in this comment. Good Luck and God Bless

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