By Eric Maring

Erik Maring headshot
Eric Maring is a local music educator and performer and author of the new book, Two Little Blackbirds. Visit for more information.

Mr. Gailes was a hero to me. I always called him Mr. Gailes, never Bill, and he’s one of very few people that I always referred to with that formal title.

His passing Nov. 12 really made me pause. I always had a high respect for him and his role in my musical community. Both of my sons studied violin, and I never anticipated how much the place where we got the instruments, Gailes’ Violin Shop, would have so much to do with my children’s success in having music central to their lives.  

Whenever we would go to Mr. Gailes’ shop, we always felt cared for; whatever we needed, he’d help with. We always felt his presence. All of this comes from the top, the center  — however we might see Mr. Gailes’ role in his shop. I was amazed that when I or my child spoke to Mr. Gailes in his shop, he always gave us his full attention and time, which is how the Gailes staff has always been as well.  

He took your child’s and your own musical growth seriously, knowing that the bow that you chose, the violin or cello, had a special part in helping you become your fullest musical self. Hats off to Mr. Gailes. I felt a sense of relief and spirit when the shop affirmed that the business will go on.

Bill Gailes grew up in College Park, attended the University of Maryland and ran a local business.
Courtesy of Gailes’ Violin Shop

Mr. Gailes knew that being a leader meant being part of something bigger than himself, and that’s why he commanded his community’s respect.