Remembering Bill Stonier: 1935-2012

We at CMT are very saddened to learn of the passing Bill Stonier. As the founder of Northwest Music in Vancouver, Bill was a leader in the Canadian retail music industry and he will be sorely missed. From all of us at CMT, our sincere condolences go out to Bill’s family, friends, and everyone who had the pleasure of working him.

The following message is from the Retail Print Music Dealers Association, of which Bill was a key member:

RPMDA Remembers Bill Stonier December 30, 1935 – December 4, 2012

Longtime RPMDA member and 2012 Dorothy Award honoree Bill Stonier died on December 4th after a lengthy illness, just a few weeks short of his 77th birthday.

A professional saxophonist and music educator, he joined Northwest Music in Vancouver, BC, Canada soon after the company was founded in 1968, and quickly found his niche. He made a tremendous impact on the Canadian music industry as an innovative and energetic retailer who made his own opportunities. At one point he bought a retired city bus, filled it with band music and drove from school to school across the country as Canada’s first and only mobile music store.

Bill and his wife, Maureen, were adventurous travelers, especially when a train was involved. No grass grew under Bill’s feet. Always the gracious host, Bill was the chief organizer and cheerleader behind RPMDA’s 1997 convention in Vancouver, still remembered by those lucky enough to have attended as their favourite convention trip ever. Bill was retired from day to day operations at Northwest Music, where his and Maureen’s son Jeff Stonier is now president and general manager. The store remains true to Bill’s founding vision as “a company for musicians, run by musicians.” He was one of a kind and we will miss him.

You can view and listen to Bill’s 2004 NAMM Oral History interview at

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician, Canadian Music Trade, Professional Sound, and Professional Lighting & Production magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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