Iowa

Wendy Kephart remembers her father bringing her to Kephart’s Music Center when she was a young girl.  While she did study music, she recalled it was because her father was a working musician that they often would visit the store.  Years later, after she married the store founder’s son, she...
Denny Lawson began learning and playing instrumental music while in college.  He soon found he had a great interest in playing music and switched his major to music education.  While he was a band director, a music store had an opening on its repair bench and Denny took the job to learn basic...
Craig Schertz worked for Byerly Music in Peoria, Illinois and saw an opportunity to purchased two of the company’s ten locations when his boss and the current owner, Loren Zimmerman, was ready to retire.  The stores continued to grow throughout the 1970s and 80s and when Craig decided to sell the...
Robin Walenta attended the University of Northern Iowa and Middle Tennessee State University before joining West Music in 1982. She was named president/CEO of the company in 2007. She was appointed to the NAMM ExCom and has also served as a board member for the National Association of School Music...
Ryan West shared many of his memories of traveling abroad with his father, Steve, to help manage the production of the Miyazawa Flute line.  West Music has always been innovative as a music retailer, and their flute line is just one example.  The store was established by Ryan’s grandparents in 1941...
Eleanor West and her husband Pearl established a music store in Iowa City just a year after getting married in 1940. Eleanor was the bookkeeper in the early years of West Music Company and was known to make a penny last during the Great Depression and World War II. She also played an important role...
Steven West took over his father’s store and went on to become an industry leader who served as president of the NAMM Board. Steve recalls the days as a boy running around West Music as his father, Pearl, sold instruments and gave lessons. With the expansion of the store in the 1970s, Steve saw the...
Lou Witt grew up on a small farm in Iowa and one day asked his band director in school for an instrument.  He was given a trombone and has played the instrument ever since.  He enjoyed playing music and soon developed an interest in working within the music industry. Lou worked for Schmitt Music in...

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