Podcast: New Canaan Music Owner Phil Williams



This week on 0684-Radi0, our free podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to town resident and Planning & Zoning Commissioner Phil Williams, owner of New Canaan Music. The Main Street fixture, like so many of our local businesses, has been through the ringer in 2020—with a forced closure followed by a restricted reopening and new operational requirements. As a retailer (instruments) as well as a service provider (lessons), New Canaan Music has been through as much as any of our local merchants. Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:

Local Business and COVID-19: New Canaan Music

What follows are responses from town resident Phil Williams, owner of New Canaan Music on Main Street, to our Q&A on how the local business is navigating the COVID-19 emergency here. New Canaanite: What has the past week been like for you and New Canaan Music? Phil Williams: This is a very trying time and like many local merchants, we are feeling the hardship of the situation. We have been doing everything we can to keep life as close to normal as possible but this is an unprecedented crisis. A lot of what we are going through right now is new to everyone. The health and well-being of our families, employees, customers, and the community is what is most important to us. We are also mindful of our moral obligation to help out our instructors. Our instructors are all pro musicians and with no public gatherings, their gigs have all been cancelled and therefore incomes have been cut significantly. We are hoping to help keep them working and get through this while providing a safe environment for our students to continue their lessons.

New Canaan High School Graduate Patents ‘Gigbox’ Percussion Instrument 

The idea for the musical invention he recently patented came Mark Pires in 2011. 

The New Canaan High School graduate had recently retired from touring as an actor and singer-songwriter and obtained his real estate license in order to support his new and growing family. 

Yet Pires continued to nurture his talent and love of music during monthly acoustic gigs at the Georgetown Saloon in Redding. One night when his drummer was unable to make the show, Pires—energetic son of a builder—decided he would make his own box drum or “cajón” so that he’d have live percussion superior to slapping his guitar or using a beatbox. A one-man-band, Pires quickly realized that the traditional Peruvian cajón didn’t suit him because its boxy shape made it awkward to tap underneath him while he played. “I realized then, what if I built something that came through my legs like a horse and its wider at the back and more narrow at the front?” Pires recalled on a recent morning from the retail floor of New Canaan Music on Main Street. “The first one I built in a couple of hours and that night I realized it didn’t work, so then I went and built another the next day.

‘Long Time Coming’: Organika Kitchen Opens on Main Street 

Nearly one year after announcing its plans, vegan and vegetarian foods provider Organika Kitchen officially opened Monday in downtown New Canaan. The eatery, well-established in Southport, soft-opened at 96 Main St. in the morning and welcomed its first customers into the newly remodeled, clean and well-lit space throughout the day. “It’s a long time coming—very long time coming,” said Dimitri Pantzos, a partner in the business who is overseeing the New Canaan location day-to-day. “But we are open now so that’s all that really matters.