Behind the Business-Music World

Presented by Jones Insurance

Interview written by Alessandra DeGrazia and edited by Megan Elsey from Jones Insurance, The photos were provided by Music World



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In the heart of Thunder Bay, the soulful resonance of music thrives through the family legacy of Music World Academy. Founded by Cosimo Riccio in 1976, this family-owned business has become a cornerstone of the local music scene. Remembering Cosimo Riccio Cosimo Riccio, a passionate musician and accordion player, founded Music World Academy. He brought the gift of music to Thunder Bay by teaching accordion, guitar, and drums. Cosimo’s legacy is remembered with fondness, and even after his passing in December 2022, his welcoming spirit and commitment to treating every customer like family continues on. Cosimo put instruments in the hands of many musicians in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area. He was a pillar in the music community. He encouraged and motivated new musicians as well as enjoyed their company while in the shop. A Growing Musical Haven Music World Academy, nestled on Simpson Street, has blossomed since its inception. As the store evolved, they diversified their inventory, eventually moving to a larger location at 443 Simpson Street in 2012, more than doubling their old space. The family’s dedication continues, with the 50th anniversary celebration scheduled for 2026. Cosimo enlisted the help of his two sons, Enzo and Joe Riccio, as well as his daughter Emily Notarbartolo and daughter-in-law, Pamela Riccio. Cosimo’s family has continued to run the business. Community and Music World The rhythm of Music World resonates with Thunder Bay. They have hosted clinics and workshops featuring musicians from around the world, playing a pivotal role in the local music community. Their extensive inventory— including over 500 guitars, along with drum sets, keyboards, amplifiers, and more—caters to musicians of all levels. In a gesture of goodwill during the COVID-19 pandemic, Music World donated face shields to Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Shelter House. The Music World Experience Customer service and respect are paramount at Music World. Their store carries a wide array of top-tier brands and is the exclusive dealer for many, earning a reputation as “the candy store for musicians.” Adapting to Change “Change is the only constant,” says Emily. Embracing this philosophy, Music World ventured into online sales in 2011, with their website offering an expanding range of products. As the late Cosimo Riccio stated “we are online and in-line with our prices.” Their active presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram keeps the community engaged with their events, trade shows, and new inventory. During the pandemic, Music World adapted to restrictions, offering curbside service and utilizing their website for online sales, ensuring customers’ musical needs were met. The Future of Music World Music World stays attuned to the industry by attending the NAMM music trade show in California. Exciting future products and lines, including Positive Grid Spark Amplifiers, are on the horizon. The younger generation of the family—including Dante Riccio, Leonardo Notarbartolo, Adriana Riccio, Cristiano Riccio, Claire Riccio, and Angelica Notarbartolo— actively contribute to the business, sharing their love for music through customer interactions, guitar tuning, and regular Instagram updates. VIVA-Undercover In addition to Music World Academy, members of the Riccio family, Enzo and Joe Riccio, along with Carla Fazio and Carlo Cappello form the band Viva, adding to Thunder Bay’s vibrant music culture. Viva started with the amalgamation of two high school bands back in the mid-90s. For almost three decades, Thunder Bay’s Viva (who performs as Undercover at nightclubs) has been wowing crowds of hundreds to thousands of people. The band explains: “Our combined unique talents and true passion for music have allowed us to be one of the most versatile cover bands in the city and a mainstay on the local party and wedding circuit.” The band’s flexibility with musical styles ranging from today’s hottest hits in pop to classic rock, new rock, traditional Italian, and dance band repertoire has made them a popular choice for any event and venue; whether it be weddings, shags, cultural events, business and awards banquets, or local night clubs. With their 50th anniversary on the horizon, Music World Academy’s harmonious journey continues—a testament to the enduring legacy of music in Thunder Bay.