Oral History -
Craigie Zildjian has accomplished what no other woman has done in her company’s over 380-year history; she has become president of the Zildjian Cymbal Company. She has also been a pioneer in industry-related organizations where few other women have been.
Franz Mohr has been the chief concert technician for Steinway and Sons for many decades. During his long and colorful career, Franz has worked on the piano of many of the great pianists of his time, including Horowitz, Cliburn, Serkin and Rubinstein.
Skip Maggiora has revolutionized retailing within the music products industry. With his Weekend Warriors program a whole new segment of the population was being targeted to become music makers–that of the middle aged. The success of the program and his willingness to share his ideas with other retailers has resulted in hundreds of similar programs around the world. Skip’s Stairway to Stardom program offers pre teens, teens and post teens music-making opportunities in the setting of real live performances and connections with others.
Vic Firth was a classically trained timpanist, playing with a number of highly regarded symphonies around the world. Over the years he developed a few ideas that improved on the way mallets and drumsticks perform and sound. As founder of the company that carries his name, Vic designed and marketed a full line of products for a wide range of performers and musical settings.
Joe Calato is the inventor of the nylon-tipped drumstick, who turned the small idea of preserving his favorite sticks into an industry success story. He formed Regal Tip to produce his unique line of drumsticks and over the years extended the products to include brushes.
Sonny Burgess was known as the wild man of rock and roll who brought a driving guitar style to early Sun recordings (the label that launched Elvis Presley). Among those recordings were “We Wanna Boogie” and “Feelin’ Good.” Sonny’s early days with Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records, were at the dawn of rock, when country was being mixed with the blues.
Wayne Burdick’s pedal steel guitar made by Paul Bigsby graced the cover of the luthier’s first catalog. Wayne befriended Mr. Bigsby in the 1950s while Wayne was a member of the Tex Williams Western Swing Orchestra.
Jeanne Bundy-Morrow was only married to Frank Bundy a few months when her father-in-law, the pioneering instrument designer George Bundy, passed away. Because Jeanne had known George for many years it was a blow to her and her entire family when he died in 1951. At the time, George Bundy was president of Selmer, a position his son Frank would later hold.
Gene Brown joined the Ovation Guitar Company within the first year of the company’s establishment in 1966. After serving in the United States Army during Vietnam, Gene was immediately offered a job in the shipping department. The Ovation Guitar Company is located in New Hartford, Connecticut, and was founded by Charles Kaman. Mr.
Junior Brown is a performer/inventor who dreamed of a sound to offset his rockabilly and blues styles. He designed a slide guitar and an electric guitar into one unit that did not require putting one down to play the other. The Git-Steel Guitar is now in production.