Oral History -

Download Complete Oral History List

Craig Smith began piano lessons at the age seven and by the time he was twelve, was fascinated with the sounds of the home organ. He started demonstrating organs for Karnes Music at thirteen and worked there part-time through high school. During his college years, Craig continued to work part-time selling pianos and organs at Byerly Music in Peoria, IL.

Smoochy Smith was hired by Sam Philips at Sun Studios in Memphis to play piano on a few sessions in the late 1950s.  Smoochy was being requested for record dates from both local performers as well as others who heard his style on countless tunes.  He soon recorded on several other labels such as Shock Records (“Empty Table”) and for Stax Records (including the hit song he wrote

John R. Smith and his wife, Valerie Day, formed the 1980s pop band Nu Shooz, which charted several hits and helped established the synth sound of that decade.  As a kid, John played guitar and dreamed of being a rock star.  He soon discovered that he had a talent as an arranger and songwriter, which he put to good use when Nu Shooz was established in the late 1970s.

Dave Smith is the founder of Sequential Circuits and inventor of the polyphonic synthesizer, the Prophet 5. Dave was also the designer and original pioneer of MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) technology.

Kevin Smith opened the Violin Shop in San Diego after extensive training as a violin luthier and appraiser. His knowledge of the craftsmanship of violin making was on display during his NAMM interview as he assisted the NAMM Foundation’s Museum of Making Music’s 2008 violin display.

John P. Smith was one of thousands of young musicians who toured the country on the buses, cars, and trains that carried the territory bands of the swing era from high school sock hops to hotel ballrooms. John’s trombone skills made him a sought-after musician who worked with several of the name bands of the 1930s and 40s, including the Artie Shaw Orchestra.

Viola Smith played drums in a number of big bands and small combos during her career in music.  She joined Phil Spitalny's all-female orchestra as the drummer and later appeared in such films as 1945's "Here Come the Co-Eds" featuring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.  In the 1960s she joined the Kit Kat Band, an orchestra band, for the Broadway musical "Cabaret" and for TV shows su

Curtis Smith grew up loving the music of the 1950s and remembers the first 45 record he ever bought was "Cry" by Johnny Ray. While working in the aerospace industry Curtis continued collecting records and attending concerts of his favorite performers including Little Richard.

Jimmie Smith designed and built the Trumann, Arkansas, Baldwin Piano factory in the early 1980s after working in the company’s Greenwood, Mississippi, plant for several years. The Trumann plant was state of the art for the time and included many automated processes fairly new to the piano industry at the time.

Connie Smith is the Vice President of Ward-Brodt Music in Madison, Wisconsin. She grew up in music and enjoyed playing music as a young girl, going on to study music in college.  While in college she applied for an internship at Ward Brodt Music, where she has been ever since!  She worked her way up within the company and served in many areas of the store, beginning with shipping clerk.