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Kennelly keys, Founded in 1960

Roy W. and Patricia V. Kennelly

Starting out after meeting as dance instructors, Roy W. and Patricia V. Kennelly formed their small business "Kennelly Keys - School of Music & Dance" teaching all forms of modern dance, ballet, tap and ballroom along with music instruction for clarinet, saxophone, piano, guitar and percussion. Grandmother Julia, an accomplished pianist, answered phones and sold accessories at the sales counter. By 1968, officially "Kennelly Keys Music & Dance, Inc." expanded to three locations offering musical instrument sales, service, lessons along with School band instrument rentals. Dance lessons and apparel sales were still very popular as well. By 1970, the company made its mark in the area specializing in School band instrument sales and rentals making it a true partner and advocate for music education in the Seattle area. By 1974, Kennelly Keys with now four locations was on its way to becoming one of the largest full line music retailers in the region focusing on 4 major departments.

After Roy Kennelly passed away in 1994, It was up to his 25 year old son William Kennelly to keep the family business going. With a degree in Economics, a little luck, and a strong will to beat the odds, William “Billy” Kennelly assembled a team of passionate musicians that loved the company and got to work building the future. 

Three decades later, a few economic downturns, upturns, a few wars, a new thing called the internet, a little company called Amazon and most recently a pandemic that shut the world down, and here we are….feeling extremely fortunate for all the team members of this company and the support of the community that have allowed us to stay strong and still have the privilege to support the music community with our goods and services. 

Today, Kennelly Keys Music is dedicated to providing the highest quality retail experience for our customers. Whether it’s shopping on our website or visiting one of our retail stores, our team is there to make your musical shopping day.

Our Sister Store

American Music

Founded in 1973 by two rock musicians from Los Angeles, Andy Aldridge, and Reese Marion left LA’s thriving music scene to open up shop in a small Seattle neighborhood. This was akin to leaving Northern California during the gold rush and people called them crazy, but Andy and Reese both sensed something beginning to boil in this sleepy city. After two years in the Greenwood area of Seattle, American Music would find its home of nearly 50 years at 4450 Fremont Avenue North. It would be a decade later when that music scene, the one Andy and Reese bet on, would explode into what would mark Seattle as one of the biggest creative capitals of the world. They planted their legendary music store seed in the town that championed the alternative, the underdog, and demanded authenticity. During the eighties and nineties, the Seattle music scene was hot and American Music quickly became the local hang for some of Seattle’s greatest musicians.

Visit American Music

Andy Aldridge and Billy Kennelly (of Kennelly Keys Music ) became friends amidst the 1990’s crazy music times within the industry with Andy taking Billy under his wings mentoring him with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Their friendship led to an epic lunch conversation in 2006 with Andy expressing his desire to retire and to have the American Music legacy live on with another local business owner and friend. Kennelly Keys and American Music partnered in early 2007, and kept each business separate so as to continue to fit the needs of the different music communities that each shop catered to. With this union, they have become one of the region’s largest independent dealers of quality musical instruments, service, and rentals.

Today, American Music operating at its legendary location, is staffed by some of the most experienced musicians around providing their expertise in guitars, basses, keyboards, percussion, pro-audio, recording, lighting, amplifiers, effects, and accessories. 

A store for musicians run by musicians.

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