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As It Was: Charlie Jensen Becomes Oregon South Coast’s “Mr. Music”

For nearly a century, Charlie Jensen was known as “Mr. Music” on the Southern Oregon Coast.

Jensen grew up on a ranch near Langlois and was hooked on music as a teenager while hitching a ride from a piano salesman.  They struck a deal for Jensen to buy a piano, paying by installments.

It wasn’t long before Jensen organized a seventh-grade orchestra and dances.  He later studied music in Portland, earning his living selling musical instruments, teaching piano, and playing in bands.

He returned home in 1935 as music director for the Langlois and Port Orford School District, where his school bands gained statewide recognition.

Jensen opened a music store and taught his children to play instruments. They excelled under his guidance, winning awards and gaining national acclaim.

For many years, the Jensen Family and Friends musical ensemble performed aboard a flatbed truck in Fourth of July parades.

A party to celebrate Jensen’s 100th birthday in 2001 filled the community center in Bandon. The entire family appeared on stage, and Mr. Music played the piano as his last public performance.

Sources: Boice-Strain, Patti. Floras Creek Precinct and the Boice Family of Curry County. Myrtle Point, Oregon, Hal & Patti Strain, 2003, pp. 125-27; Schroeder, Walt. Characters, Legends and Mysteries of Curry County, Oregon. Gold Beach, Oregon, Curry County Historical Society, 2007, pp. 171-73.

Laurel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Humboldt State. Her research efforts as a volunteer for the Curry Historical Society produced numerous newsletter articles and exhibits and earned her a reputation as a seasoned local history buff. Laurel is the author of "Renderings from the Gold Beach Pioneer Cemetery", a 50-page booklet containing a walking tour and snippets about the lives and times of folks buried there. She is also a contributing writer to Oregon Coast Magazine.