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: Bobby Byrne played trombone with such control and tenderness that Tommy Dorsey once remarked, "You sit on the edge of your seat waiting to feel the next

Leonard Schmitt opened a small guitar shop to provide lessons in the St. Louis area back in 1932. At the time we wrote a method for teaching music called the Schmitt Music Training Approach.

Mickey Jent opened a small music store in Lubbock, Texas after World War II with her husband, Ray, after his return from military service. The store became a hub for local musicians including Buddy Holly.

William Schultz turned the struggling Fender Musical Instrument Corporation into an industry leader after purchasing the famed guitar company from CBS in 1985.

Jack Hyde was the classic music retailer of the 21st Century. Jack opened a store in the mid 1950s because he loved music, plain and simple. The store, in Northern California, became such a success that he soon opened a chain of Jack’s House of Music stores.

Mildred Kirschner was simply known as Millie around the NAMM headquarters office where she was hired in 1946. The Chicago based association was being run by Mr. Mills when a heart condition forced him to retire.

Maynard Ferguson’s first big time gig was with the Boyd Raeburn Orchestra. He later played his unique trumpet style, with plenty of high notes, with Charlie Barnet, Jimmy Dorsey, Stan Kenton and others. He also enjoyed success as an innovative soloist with his many own small groups and countless recording dates including those with his Birdland Dream Band, which was formed in 1956.

Larry Fresch Sr. exuded the passion and the love of music that is so much a part of this industry. His four Fresch Music stores in Ohio not only became part of their communities, they encouraged the growth of music programs and music making at every level.

Hajime Yamaguchi was born on September 26, 1944 in Tokyo, Japan. At the age of 18 he traveled the country as a professional drummer and a year later landed a stellar job as drummer for a late night TV talk show in Japan. After a few years his girlfriend (and future wife) explained her parents concerns for her getting married to a musician. They wanted him to have a steady paying job. Knowing a friend who worked for TEAC, Hajime applied for a job and was hired.

Morris Hayes had some harrowing moments during World War II, but would rather spend time telling you about the glee club he formed while overseas. As a life long choral director, Morris created several methods that have made him a well respected leader in the industry. He is also given credit for creating one of the finest choral departments in the country at the University of Wisconsin. He served as President of the American Choral Directors Association and even, in retirement, surrounded himself with music.

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