Illinois

Bruce Bannister is the current president of Samuel Music in Effingham, Illinois. The store was formed in the 1940s by Lowell Samuel, the band director turned music industry pioneer. Bruce was interviewed in the store and recalled working closely with Lowell as well as Dean Samuel, Lowell’s son and...
Peter Bartkus grew up in Rockford, Illinois and was proud to establish a music shop there in the early 1950s. Tru Tone Music became a hub for musicians and was known throughout the area for Peter’s creative and precise instrument repairs. With a passion for the accordion, Peter enjoyed the...
Larry Biernacky opened the first of three music stores in Deerfield, Illinois. Like with all three locations, he named it after the local community to provide a neighborhood feel to each store. Along with a strong focus on customer service, the stores have become the place to be for musicians and...
Evelyn Brue-Roeder opened her music store in 1940! Her main focus in the early days was music lessons, however she soon added sheet music, accessories and musical instruments. She developed a passion for steel guitars as she witnessed their development over her career. When the pedal steel...
Don Canedy was a beloved band director and professor at Southern Illinois University before being hired by the Roger’s Drum Company in 1961. Don played drums beginning at the age of 10 and was a perfect fit for the company’s Educational Director. Just prior to his job at Roger’s, which at the time...
Joy Collins has had a successful career selling piano and organs! In fact she may very well be the person who has sold the most Allen Organs, ever. Joy was hired by Glenn Davis, who owned a piano and organ store in Chicago, as a secretary but soon discovered selling was in her blood. She would take...
Rich Covas owned Modern Music store's three locations for thirteen years beginning in 1966. The locations covered band and orchestra instruments as well as guitar, keyboards, and drums. The company also offered music lessons and repair. In fact, providing lessons is how Rich first began working in...
Gil Ellman grew up in the big band era, loving the sounds of large orchestras. He was motivated to create as many opportunities for students to make music as possible. He studied band instrument repair before opening Ellman’s Music Center in 1958. Soon after the store opened Gil began creating...
Joan Ellman and her husband, Gil, established Ellman’s Music Center in 1958. Five years later the store moved to Naperville, Illinois, where it is located today. Joan kept the books and inventory as well as managing the store when Gil would call on schools and travel for industry meetings. She...
Jesse Flores was the founder of Flores Music stores located in Peoria and Pekin, Illinois. He had the idea of surrounding himself with music when he was a young boy and when the chance came to open a store, he took it. The year was 1957. Jesse saw the rise of the electric guitar and the home organ...

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