Music store fills niche in Benzie County

BEULAH – Benzie County's first full-service music store opened its doors to the public Sept. 1.

Miranda Music is owned by professional classical musicians Bogar and Elizabeth Guzman-Shrake, who between them share 50 years of combined experience in performance, teaching and retail sales. The store is named for the couple's 11-month old daughter.

The store offers a wide selection of instruments for all types of customers-string, brass and percussion-at a range of price points, levels and categories from beginning student to custom made, acoustic and electric. Miranda Music also has a full range of musical accessories, a repair and maintenance service, and private lessons for students of all ages and levels.

What started as a website operation based out of their home in July 2005, quickly became a retail store operating out of an old house in Beulah.

"A real store allows us to share our love and in-depth knowledge of music with the public and, in particular, local musicians," explains Elizabeth. "In the past, a drive to Traverse City was in order if a guitar string broke or a clarinet reed was needed right before the start of a concert."

Born in Venezuela, Bogar Guzman's specialty is the Oboe and English Horn both as a professional soloist and an orchestral musician. During a tour in Europe, he studied and performed at some of the greatest classical music conservatories while also teaching and conducting. Here in the U.S., he has played at Carnegie Hall and has performed with such renowned musicians as acclaimed guitarist Angelo Romero, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, opera singers Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, as well as world-class conductor Leonard Bernstein.

Elizabeth, a classically-trained singer, has performed nearly every style and genre of music. She has held leading roles in several musical productions, and her love of classical chamber and orchestral music led her to study the viola and violin, which she has played in chamber ensembles and orchestras. Her greatest passion is teaching, where she specializes in producing quality children's ensembles.

Bogar and Elizabeth met in 2002 onstage during a performance in Key West. Bogar, playing the oboe, was seated next to the viola-playing Elizabeth.

Six-months later, they became engaged and were then married in Frankfort where Elizabeth's parents have lived since 1995. Elizabeth has long held Benzie County in high regard, having spent many family vacations here over the years. The newly-married couple's decision to relocate from Florida to northern Michigan, the place that Bogar refers to as "the real U.S.A.", was based on the area's beauty and reputation as the ideal place to raise a family.

Miranda Music, though compact, is filled to the brim with merchandise, decorative displays, and a piano for private lessons. And baby Miranda, who sings, dances and plays a mean pair of maracas, often can be found helping her parents at work, where she especially enjoys inspecting the store in crawling position.

"In the immediate future, we hope that our store will become a great resource for local and online customers," says Elizabeth. "And in the long term, we would like to provide an instrument rental program that could be used by the local school bands and introduce local youth to the string and double reed instruments."

Elizabeth and Bogar are available for live music performances for private events. BN