Oral History -

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H. C. McMurtry sure knew a lot about the Wurlitzer Company!   Not only did he work for the company for nearly 20 years, he traveled throughout the country, selling the company’s product line to hundreds of music dealers. H. C., known by his nickname, Harmon, served as the national sales rep for the Wurlitzer Company from 1965 until his retirement in 1979.

John McLaren is the president of BBE Sound, which develops pro audio gear. The company purchased G&L Guitars and has been dedicated to keeping the spirit of the founders and their ideas and traditions evident in each guitar. G&L was originally formed by George Fullerton and Leo Fender and has become a successful guitar line around the world. In the early part of his career, John worked for Yamaha, which resulted in strong friendships he continues to this day.

Charlie McCoy is one of the noted musicians known as the A Team, in the Nashville studios of the 1950s, 60s and 70s! Charlie’s harmonica can be heard on several popular recordings –countless in fact – including the lead solo on “Candy Man” by Roy Orbison. Charlie formed an early relationship with Hohner and he has worked with the company over the years on product design and promotions.

Jimmy Mays performed rock and country music for over 30 years. Along the way he kept his day job, working at Bill Higgins Music from nearly the beginning. Some 40 years later Jimmy stands next to the owners, Nancy and Bill Higgins, to serve their customers, each and every day. As Jimmy put it “This is the best business for me.

Gil Marschner had several key positions in the music products industry beginning in the 1950s and into the 1980s. Best known as G.

Martha Markowitz married her knight-in-shining-armor right after World War II. She soon helped him run the small organ company he started before the war. The Allen Organ Company has been a pioneering business in church organs and in digital technology for many decades. Although Jerome has passed away in 1991, the legacy of his innovations remain.

Harvey Levy is the bow-tie wearing spokesman and brother of the founder of Levy – the world’s leading maker of guitar straps. Harvey has become synonymous with creating and designing products, and he has also been a long time supporter of music and music advocacy. Mr.

William Brilhart grew up in a house of music. His father, Arnold Brilhart, was the jazz saxophonist who established a mouthpiece and accessories company and introduced innovative products to the music products industry. His mother was a world-renowned harpist who traveled the world and made several well-known recordings. Arnold Brilhart was a sought-after musician in the 1920s and 30s who recorded with a number of jazz and big bands. After he established the Brilhart Mouthpiece Company, Arnold focused on creating a unique line of products.

Robert Brilhart is the eldest of the sons of mouthpiece pioneer Arnold Brilhart. Arnold was a well-known saxophonist in the early days of recorded jazz and throughout the Big Band Era. All the while, Arnold kept making small adjustments to his equipment such as his mouthpieces, mutes, and even simple accessories such as the saxophone neck strap.

Stanley Werbin opened a small guitar shop he named Elderly Instruments on July 5, 1972. The original location was in East Lansing, Michigan and focused on "used instruments".  Within a few years Stan watched the growth and development of the vintage guitar market and provided a repair shop and expert staff to address the needs of this new market.  Stan's store was one of the first retail shops to sell vintage gear through the mail and over the Internet.

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