Illinois

Ede Kidder was teaching full time when her husband came home from his job at a music store with the idea of owning their own store.  Luckily for Jim, Ede jumped in with her many skills to make the store a success.  She took over as the book keeper and played a vital role in the growth and...
Jim Kidder had already worked in music retail for several years when he was given the chance to take over the band instrument division and form his own business. Since then, Kidder Music has become well known and loved by students and band directors alike. Jim’s strong support for school programs...
Kay Koster was a pioneering woman retail owner, who not only successfully ran a business on her own beginning in 1940, she also personally repaired guitars and amps of all makes and models for decades – even after she closed her retail store. Koster Guitar Center in Rockford, IL was primarily a...
Melvyn Libman was a child prodigy and toured the world as a classical pianist.  He performed in many of the grand concert halls in Europe and Town Hall in New York City.  When he decided to settle down and start a family one of his business ideas was to open a music store.  Libman Music, which...
Jeff Lindahl began playing guitar and performing with his twin brother at a young age. They continued to play together throughout high school and college. At the time, Jeff formed a number of rock bands and gave guitar lessons on the side for extra spending money. Over the years he also...
Ron Lorenz has enjoyed a long career in the music business beginning in the early 1960s.  Ron worked in retail, as a road rep, owned his own music retail store, and was the founder of Rapco, a leading cable company.  Ron played professionally once out of school, which served him well when he opened...
Donez McNeely sang in choir during her school days, following in the footsteps of her older sister who was a lead singer in a band. In 1980, Donez (whose name is derived by combining her two grandmother’s names) was hired by Samuel Music in Illinois as a filing clerk. The founder, Lowell Samuel,...
Don Middleton taught music lessons around town before working for Billy Hill at Hill’s Music in 1967. A few months later Mr. Hill announced his retirement and asked Don if he wanted to buy the store. With a small loan, which Don paid off in just over a year, he purchased the store. By 1970, he had...
Rick Nielsen is among the very few rock stars who grew up in a music store! His story and background is perfect for the NAMM Oral History program as it ties together a professional career in music making with mom and pop music retailing! Rick's father purchased a music store in Rockford, Illinois...
Mario Ortigara joined his brother’s music store just two years after it opened. Since 1949, Mario worked alongside his brother Ben who started the store to teach and sell accordions. By 1959, their sister, Mary, joined the team and years later both of Ben’s sons, Mike and Dan, came on board. The...

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