Oral History -

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Tom Catalano opened his music retail store in New Hyde Park, NY after years of teaching and playing guitar professionally. In fact, he was being paid to play guitar professionally while still a teenager.

Rober Castle is currently the managing director of KORG UK, having been tied to the company in one way or another since 1981. In his early days with the company, Rob played a role on the team that designed the world's first keyboard workstation, the KORG M1. The unit was ideal for all musical customers such as guitarists and drummers, not just keyboard players, although it was a keyboard. In addition, Rob spent some time with Sound Crafters.

Bob Casey enjoyed a long career in pro audio and radio. It all began when he was four years old when he saw the large sound cones on his father’s truck. His father formed Edward P. Casey’s Sound System Company and became one of the early inventors of PA (Public Address) systems in New York.

Billy Carson was listed in the Guinness book of world records for growing the largest watermelon ever weighed. And if you think that is something, consider the fact that Billy also worked with Leo Fender in streamlining the Stratocaster electric guitar in the early 1950s. As a country player in Southern California in the late 1940s, Billy became close friends with Leo.

John Carruthers has established himself as a leading expert on guitars and amplifiers as a designer, builder and repairman. Working along side Leo Fender at Music Man, John helped improve the quality of the product line and years later helped establish a series of instruments for Yamaha including their electric bass and acoustic guitar line.

Candido Camero was born in Cuba on April 22, 1921. By the age of four he was already interested in percussive instruments--a field he would revolutionize by blending Latin beats with jazz. Working with other pioneers on the concepts of Latin Jazz, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Candido opened up the endless possibilities of jazz percussion.

William Callaway worked in his father’s music store as a child, sweeping up on weekends and working his way up to president of Thearle Music in San Diego. His father, Harry, was President of NAMM from 1951-1953. William recalled the pride his father had in being involved with the industry that he loved. William ran the store for his father and expanded the sheet music department as well as the rental program within the band instrument department. William developed MS just before his father’s passing in 1976.

Harold Burt was just about 3 years old when a musician from a traveling circus came to his North Carolina town and sold his parents a clarinet for young Harold. His life has been filled with music ever since. In 1950, he established the first high school band in Cary, NC and he served as the program’s first musical director.

Roy Burns played drums for several big names in swing and jazz including Benny Goodman with whom he recorded with during the 1950’s. Roy later provided clinics for Rogers Drums in music stores around the country and published several method books. His association with drum companies resulted in his introduction to NAMM, where Roy became a regular attendee.

Edna Mae Burnam authored the now classic piano training books “A Dozen a Day” to help beginners learn in a fun and meaningful way. Her books have been critical to millions of young pianists around the world for over 60 years. Edna Mae wrote her first song back in 1935 but was more interested in teaching music than penning a top hit.