Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Dr. John became the unofficial ambassador of New Orleans music by showcasing the mystic and voodoo rich traditions of southern Louisiana, which has become the backdrop to many Mardi Gras celebrations over the years.

William Dunkley and his wife Dorothy co-founded Dunkley Music Stores in Boise, Idaho.

Richard Janda specialized in repairing stringed instruments. It was also something he enjoyed very much. During World War II he was trained to repair the band instruments for the U.S. Military marching band, in which he was the trombonist.

Russell Thomas was a band director for over 34 years.  During his teaching years he often felt frustrated that simple repairs would take weeks and often delay concerts or rehearsals.  A local music store provided him an opportunity to learn simple repairs, which led to a passion

Kevin Becka started playing guitar at 11 years old and aspired to become a famous guitar player.

Charles Walter was a pillar in the piano business for nearly 60 years. He was hired by the C.G. Conn Company to work in the piano design department back in 1964. While there he worked under the legendary Dr. Earle Kent, the Director of Research and Engineering.

Manny Lopez was known around the world as the King of the Cha Cha Cha for his 1950s band and hit records dedicated to the dance craze, but Manny’s musical career was far more than just the Cha Cha.

Preston Epps was the percussionist who had a top 20 hit recording in 1959 entitled "Bongo Rock."  The success of the song led to additional recordings and concert tours that forever tied his name with the bongos!  His fascinating career in music included gigs with Count Basie, Be

Parham Werlein followed in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather as president of Werlein’s For Music in New Orleans, Louisiana. Like his predecessors, Parham also served on the NAMM Board and was a great supporter of the American Music Conference (AMC).

Gary DeShazo began his musical career as a Texas bandmaster and then worked with James Caldwell, the founder of Caldwell Music. With a great understanding of the educators’ needs, Gary soon developed lasting relationships with band directors over the entire state and beyond.

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