Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Bea Wain was a singer with the big bands during the great swing era of the 1940s. She began singing with Artie Shaw's orchestra in 1937. Her greatest su

Sonny Burgess was known as the wild man of rock and roll who brought a driving guitar style to early Sun recordings (the label that launched Elvis Presley).

Chris Climer wanted to play the piano and organ when he was 16 years old.  He did not have the money to purchase an instrument so he made an arrangement to work in a music store in Arkansas to earn the money to make the payments –and he has been in the industry ever since!  He le

Carol Holtz was hired by the Martin Band Instrument Company in Elkhart during World War II.  She has many fond memories of working for the company and the family feeling it had.  Speaking of family, Carol married the son of the president, Frederick Holtz (1885-1965) and enjoyed b

Bob Kane was born and raised in Elkhart, Indiana, known as the band instrument capitol of the world. He played cornet in school and in fact it was his high school band director who told Bob of an opening at Buescher Band Instrument Company.

Bill Collings' passion for guitars may have started on his father’s workbench when as a boy he tinkered with woods and making things. His father’s background in engineering was also an influence and before too long Bill made up his mind that he wanted to build guitars.

Michael Heuser recounted his early meetings with Mr. Ikutaro Kakehashi, the founder of Roland Corporation during his NAMM interview. The two men worked on product ideas as well as the goal of creating a branch of Roland in Switzerland.

Don Getzen sure knew the history of the band instruments made in the mid-west!

Tadamichi Fukuda was the Chairman for the Global Corporation, located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. The company was established in 1975 based on the repairing of musical instruments, especially violins.

Brian Jemelian didn't think of himself as a musician, although he played violin as a child and later as an employee of Yamaha he took both piano and guitar lessons.  Brian studied business in college and was very interested in the business world.  After a successful mentoring pro