In 1955, Bob Rush came to Knoxville to work at Cherokee Music, a store with main offices in Louisville, Kentucky. In three years Bob knew he could do it better and had an idea that would eventually revolutionize the industry. Bob founded Rush's Music in 1958 as a store specializing in school band programs. The store was run from his family home until its size called for more space.
As the store continued to grow, he decided to open his first store front on Cumberland Avenue, at what is now a barber shop near Kinko's Copy. The repair shop was downstairs in what is today Raven Records. His grand idea to rent used instruments from a constant "pool" made it possible and affordable for all students to obtain quality band instruments. The original price was fifteen dollars for three months and included books, reeds, oils, etc. No one was turned away as long as there were instruments left. This rental program was to be copied by many stores throughout the country, Band programs began to prosper, their numbers began to increase, and of course Bob became a hero to many directors in the area. His personality was like a Pied Piper. People came from outlying areas to meet with other directors in the "back room" and talk about band. More great ideas came to fruition in this back room than any other place in the Southeast.
Many band directors initiated their careers in the summers at Rush's. They worked in the back preparing all the rental instruments for the following seasons and learning things they would take to the class room about quality instruments: repair, school policy, benefits of certain rental programs and the list goes on. People like Joe McNew, Colbert Petree, John Culvahouse, Paul Brown, Roy Holder, June Holder, Roger Rhodes, Rob Clark, Clint Juday, Wes Palmer, George Hayden, Dickie Henson, Doug Wheeling, Jim Foust, Matt McCurry, and Bill Shelton were all part of this talented staff.
In November of 1977, at the early age of fifty, Bob died of lung cancer, and left his legacy to his wife, Willene Rush. She picked up the reins and charged forward with a style all her own. Continuing all the great traditions and building new ones, Willene incorporated Rush's in 1979 and it remains a corporation today.
Steve Boyce, current owner of Rush's Music, is native to Crossville, but has lived in Knoxville for 43 years. He is active in the Knoxville music scene by being a tenor soloist in past performances for the Knoxville Symphony, Opera and Choral Society’s concerts. He is cantor for St. John’s Cathedral, the East Tennessee Diocese Cathedral and owns and operates two music stores in Knoxville that provide school band specialty services for schools all over east Tennessee. Steve is a long time member of East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, Tennessee Band Association and Tennessee Secondary School Band Directors Association. Steve’s wife Patsy, teaches Anatomy and Physiology at Carson Newman College and his daughter Jennifer from Carson Newman in 2012, majoring in Business. She and her husband, Bradley, now work at pilot in Knoxville and have two beautiful children Lynleigh and Steven. Steve purchased Rush's Music in June of 1998. Under his leadership, Rush's Music continues it's traditions of quality and service.