Oral History -

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Kathy Peck spent her youth laying down the bass lines for some of the most innovative punk music in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1970s and 80s.

Gus Pearson began his long and successful career as a sales rep for Wurlitzer back in 1966. He remained with the company until 1981 and has often related his feelings that working for the company was like one big family. Employees would gather for holiday events, watch their children grow and help each other whenever it was needed. These strong feelings may explain why Gus and several others planned a remarkable reunion for the company employees some 20 years after the company closed.

Victor Pavona’s family worked in the steel mills of Ohio, beginning with his grandfather who immigrated to the United States from Italy. Victor was the first person in his family to attend college. After working for Westinghouse and creating his own consulting business, Victor had the opportunity to work for ETA Systems, the pro-lighting company that was formed in 1977. The company and its founder are icons in the business for their pioneering products and services, which Victor worked hard to maintain as well as provide new products over the years.

Carole Ozanian has been surrounded by music her entire life. As a four-year-old child she took piano lessons and played up to her college years, when she studied to be a choir director. After college she was hired to work for a Southern California music store and found she had a real flair and interest in selling (a skill she attributes to her years as a Girl Scout selling cookies).

Kline Locher was one of the good old veteran piano salesmen who travelled the great one-lane highways of America before the advent of the blessed two lane interstates. Kline worked for a number of piano companies during his long career and in all, covered most of the United States as his territory.

Richard Loberg worked for the Schmitt Music store for nearly his entire working career. The company was formed in 1896 in Minneapolis, largely as a piano store. Over the years the company expanded its musical products and services. Shortly after World War II, Richard joined the sales force, although getting musical products directly after the war was difficult, as many suppliers were gearing their operations back up. Soon after the products began coming back to the stores, Richard witnessed the boom of guitars and the store’s record department.

Larry Leberte was proud of his family’s history in music retail. Larry’s grandfather opened a small music retail shop just after the Great Depression hit the United States in the early 1930s. He crafted a business plan that would include trade and bartering as well as greatly expanding the products he offered his customers. Larry’s father carried on the store’s rich history, working closely with music programs in Birmingham, AL.

Albrecht Kretzschmann was the vice president of sales for JA Musik in Germany and played an important role in the company’s expansion into the global market. His vast understanding of the brass instrument product line along with export business became a factor in the commerce of musical instruments in Germany to the west and Asia.

Jerry Kovarsky was the product/brand manager at KORG for over 15 years. Working with Jack Hotop they were part of the team that created a long line of innovative synthesizer products for KORG, including the Triton, the Oasys, and more recently the M3 and the Kronos.

Alberto Kniepkamp engineered many of the electronic organs produced by the Lowrey Organ Company in the 1970s and 80s. Alberto took an active role in the development of the MX1 Lowrey Organ, which was introduced at the NAMM Show in 1979. The product was one of many engineered by Alberto, who began work at Chicago Musical Instruments, which owned Lowrey Organs in the 1960s and 70s. The company changed names to Norlin, which continued to fund research and development for the organ products until the company sold its assets in the 1980s.

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