Oral History -
Gregor Zielinsky has been a sound engineer for years, so when he tells you about the correct microphone for any given performance, you should listen. Along with his passion for and knowledge of recording equipment are his many stories of professional musicians and the microphones they prefer. As public relations and artist relation’s director for Sennheiser, Mr.
Tedd Waggoner began his career in the music industry in 1969 and soon joined the Selmer team. Tedd worked in most of the positions for the company but found his greatest satisfaction when he began working in the Vincent Bach division of Selmer. As a trumpeter, Tedd fit right in and soon learned not only the full production of the trumpets and mouthpieces but also the great Bach history. His knowledge and passion led to several production and product adjustments and improvements over the years to create instrument as close to Mr.
Steve Vai is a man that could be described as a planet that revolves around a star named Music. His life is ever entwined in an orbit that includes composing, transcription, performance, acting, and philanthropy. He first gravitated into exposure as Frank Zappa’s guitarist.
Harold Smith ran the Baldwin factory in Greenwood, Mississippi and became president of the famed piano company in the 1980s. In addition to the task of improving production and working conditions in the plant, Harold designed a music program in the local schools to showcase the importance of playing the piano.
Tony Schmidt was the very first volunteer of the NAMM Foundation’s Museum of Making Music (located in the NAMM building) to provide 1,000 hours of service. As a kid, he saw Duke Ellington perform in his hometown of Chicago and was hooked, not only on Ellington (for which he was a noted expert), but on all things jazz.
Del Roper performed the xylophone for several society big bands, playing on radio with Xavier Cugat in the early 1930s. Del was later a powerful force in studio orchestras and developed a double decker xylophone, which he played on several variety TV programs in the 1950s.
George Roeder played the flamenco guitar and sang in Barber Shop Quartets ever since he was young. While he was taking lessons from Evelyn Breu, he took a liking to the retail business –as well as his teacher. After the couple married in the late 1960s, they formed a tremendous team both as musicians and as educators.
Lyle Ritz worked for a Los Angeles music store in the 1950s when his career as a studio musician began to take off. Lyle’s studio years were filled with numerous ground-breaking hits, many featuring his influential electric bass. His incredible list of recordings includes “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher and the Beach Boys “Good Vibrations.” In the 1980s, Lyle returned to his first musical love, the ukulele, thanks to the urging of Flea Market Music founder and ukulele historian Jim Beloff.
Larry Moody began his career in the music industry as a retailer working for Ziggy Coyle in Ohio. The store was owned by Ziggy, a past president of the NAMM Board of Directors, and Russell Hill. The retail experience was helpful to Larry, who was hired by Yamaha and later by the Gemeinhart Flute Company in Elkhart, Indiana.
Lou Mitchell was a product of the big band era and cut his teeth on swinging trumpet solos, such as those of his musical heroes of the 1930s. After meeting Rafael Mendez (his life-long friend), Lou moved to Hollywood and worked for the movie studios on countless soundtracks.