Oral History -

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Tim Smith grew up in a very musical family as his father and uncle both wrote and record music. In fact, his uncle, Arthur Smith, wrote two of the most famous instrumentals in modern country music (“Guitar Boogie” and “Dueling Banjos”). Young Tim was playing bass in his uncle's recording studio when he was just a mere 10 years old.

Rey Sanchez is a professor and the Associate Dean for the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami - one of the leading schools for music business programs. This special focus has allowed Rey to build many strong relationships within the music products industry, which has ultimately served to benefit his students.

Jim Progris attended the Berklee School of Music back in 1956 and witnessed firsthand the development of the school’s courses and programs over the years. He returned to the school to teach in 1964 and became Associate Dean in charge of the entire curriculum, which he found very rewarding. Within his own area of study, Jim focused on the art of arranging music.

Aaron Stang, like so many of us in the music industry, clearly remembers a very inspirational moment in the development of his passion for music. As a kid he was visiting Manny’s Music in New York when he met guitar hero George Benson. That special encounter was one of several that convinced Aaron he would be most fulfilled with a career in the music industry.

Daryl Brooke opened a music store in Key West, Florida after retiring from the computer industry in 2012. The store was a dream of his and made perfect sense, especially considering his family always joked that he had collected enough gear over the years to supply his own store. Daryl’s passion began early in his life and the guitar was his first and only instrument.

Jim Cliff remembers taking the bus into Minneapolis when he was eight years old to take accordion lessons.

Elisabeth Link, wife of Horst Link, played an important role in the success of Sonor - a company synonymous with quality percussion instruments. For many years, a critical part of the product palette has been the Orff Schulwerk instruments, which are used in classrooms all over the world. Elisabeth was responsible for the success of the Sonor instruments in schools.

Gerhard Klier’s grandfather, Anton Schrötter, owned a violin shop and workshop in Cheb/Eger. In the 1920s several of Gerhard’s relatives moved to the United States. His uncle, Roman Klier, ended up working for Wurlitzer repairing violins, while Gerhard’s grand uncle, Andrew Schrötter, opened a workshop in New York.

Sebastian Dirr has relatives that play string instruments professionally, so it was only natural that they welcomed it when Sebastian decided to become a bow maker. After studying musicology, he started an apprenticeship at Paesold in 1988. Sebastian specializes in modern and historic bows.

Thomas Hoyer is the product manager of string instruments and worldwide distribution for Paesold and Höfner. After receiving his master degree in violin making in 1998, he started in the Höfner master workshop. As a product specialist he later established production of violins in China and is now responsible for the productions in both China and in Germany.