Oral History -

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Edith De Forest was associated with the Pratt-Read Company for over 70 years! She began working for the piano keys and action manufacturer in the early 1930s. Even after her retirement in the 1980s, she continued to work for the company’s museum. She later served as the company historian doing all her best to keep the stories of Pratt-Read alive and well.

Dick Dale was the King of the Surf Guitar whose driving style redefined instrumental music in the early 1960s. His music conjures the mood of the era so successfully that many of his tunes such as Miserlou are often heard on movie soundtracks and television programs that help evoke that era. Dick was also a noted figure in the music products industry as instrument designer and endorser.

Jim Coffin was instantly recognized at any given trade show or industry meeting as the energetic advocate for music and music making.  Jim’s career as a music director and educator includes authoring several important method tools including the popular “Performing Percussionist.”  The book has been praised for its unique focus on the snare drum as well as material for bass drum

George Clinton is the funk mastermind behind some of the now landmark recordings of Parliament and Funkadelic beginning in the 1970s, including the largely successful hit “Flashlight.” George Clinton was also an early pioneer in the use of electronic keyboards and the process in which electronic instruments were being recorded.

Ron Carter’s name is listed in every jazz encyclopedia as a major influence on the bass.  He recorded and performed with many of the greatest players in modern jazz and spoke with great detail about the instruments he uses and the style he has developed.  At the end of the interview he listed what he feels are the three most important things for a young bass player to consider:

Robert Campbell began his career in the music industry working for Conn Organ in 1947, the year the company gave a unit to President Harry S. Truman. Bob later worked with Don Leslie, the inventor of the famed Leslie organ speaker. Bob played an important role in the Leslie Speaker Company being purchased by the musical instrument division of CBS.

Peter Bartkus grew up in Rockford, Illinois and was proud to establish a music shop there in the early 1950s. Tru Tone Music became a hub for musicians and was known throughout the area for Peter’s creative and precise instrument repairs.

Steve Cohen is the president of Jason’s Music Center in Pasadena, MD. As a creative thinker, Steve has pioneered a new approach to college piano sales by bringing the concept into the public schools beginning in the early 1980s. A passionate salesman, Steve understands people and enjoys bringing music into their lives.

Tish Ciravolo played bass in rock and punk bands in the 1970s and 80s but felt there was always a disconnect between female performers and the instruments. With an idea stemming from her daughter’s drawing of a daisy, Tish launched a guitar company with the mission to help girls make music.

Deborah Zildjian proudly recalled stories of her father and her grandfather, two of the most successful leaders of her family’s 380 plus years as cymbal makers. Deborah has a compelling way of recounting her family’s history such as her memories of her grandmother and grandfather.

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