CMI

Harry Benson became the president of William Lewis & Son when the company was under the ownership of Chicago Musical Instrument (CMI). Harry’s guiding principles resulted in the expansion of the violin line and the respect of fellow violin makers such as Kurt Glaesel. Harry was also the one-...
Arnold Berlin was a one-time president of Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) and co-founder of Norlin Music Corp. He is also Mr. M.H. Berlin’s son, one of the true icons of the industry. Arnie spoke of how his father got started in the industry as well as how he was able to grow the company into one...
George Bishop had the idea of bringing the Canadian music industry together in 1971. With the help of some friends, the Musical Instrument Association of Canada (MIAC) was established not only to provide an annual trade show but to provide music advocacy throughout the country. George served as the...
Bruce Bolen has had a long and colorful career in the music industry spanning nearly 50 years and with two of the best-known guitar makers in the world. Mr. M.H. Berlin, the president of Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI), first hired Bruce into the industry. At the time, CMI owned Gibson Guitars...
Dick Contino had a series of hit recordings and popular television appearances in the 1950s playing his trusty accordion. By the end of that decade, he was hired by M. H. Berlin at Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) to introduce a string of innovative products. It was Dick who first introduced the...
Roger Cox was a pioneering product engineer with Fender Musical Instruments in the 1990s when he brought the Passport system to the market. The project capped a long career with Fender that included working on several landmark projects with many of the icons in the industry. Rodger enjoyed success...
Norm Erickson was hired by the Lowrey Company in 1947. At that time, the company was still producing cement powder mixture. However, Lowrey’s owner had an interest in the electronic organ that was being developed by Laurinz Hammond, so he sought Norm as an engineer. Norm’s designs, in addition to...
Dee Hoyt played professionally since he was a teenager including in local clubs and played for the National Guard as well as for dances.  His band, the Tornados, recorded and performed rock and roll in the early 1960s.  While playing at night, Dee got a job at Hayes Music as a salesman by day.  He...
Robert Johnson served as a sales manager for Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) when the company first acquired the noted violinmakers William Lewis & Son. As a salesman, he worked closely with Harry Benson, who was also interviewed for the NAMM Oral History program thanks to Robert. William...
Walt Johnston was best known throughout the industry for his role in introducing the Pearl Drum Company to the United States. After a gig selling band instruments, Walt was hired by CMI to bring the Pearl kits to the American market. His success was based on several elements, not the least of which...

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