Oral History -

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Ronnie Tennant first began playing cornet when he was nine years old. His father joined a brass band when he was about the same age and, in 1952, his father joined the Army Band. Ronnie was deeply involved with brass bands. He played many of the instruments in the band with a special focus on the trombone and later the tuba.

Chuck Tennin began his career as a recording engineer's assistant, which led to his own engineering gigs beginning in the 1960s.  Along the way, Chuck learned firsthand the importance of a good song and in encouraging and protecting songwriters and their craft.  As a result, Chuck formed the music publishing company Big Fish Music in 1974.

Clark Terry enjoyed a long and celebrated career as a trumpeter playing with nearly ever iconic jazz musician of the twentieth century. His tone and style of playing was an influence on school children and professionals alike and his friendly and warm personality made him one of the most-liked, sought-after musicians in the world.

Mark Terry always dreamed of being a recording engineer, even as a kid when he first discovered his love of music and technology. In time he would become just that, but along the way he discovered a deeper passion for rep work and in providing studios and performers with the gear they wanted and needed.

Bogdan Tesla is related to the physicist Nikola Tesla, who was born in the village of Smiljan, Austrian Empire (today that area is part of Croatia). Bogdan was in the military, but found that during the civil war he was being asked to fight against his own family. He left the service and established Tesla Tonewood Serbia to provide the best Woods for musical instruments.

Marinko Tesla expressed a deep sense of pride in the fact that he works alongside his father, Bogdan, who established Tesla Tonewood Serbia in 1991. The father-son team work long and hard to produce the highest level of quality as well as strong customer support to the luthiers and instrument makers who purchase wood from them.

Vinny Testa has provided the music products industry with more fervent communication, helping to unite and expand the industry. As founder of Music and Sound Retailer, Vinny introduced many of the magazine’s notable features and expanded the venture to include Testa Television and Testa Communications.

Carl Thacker was a teenager when he began repairing band instruments.  In fact he was a Charter Member of NAPBIRT and attended the first annual convention before he was 20 years old.  After a long career as the instrument repair technician for Illinois State Universally, Carl devoted himself full time to his own repair shop and retail store.

Fred Theriault recalls the first time he set foot in Long & McQuade’s Music Store. He was still a teen and bought a snare drum from Jack McQuade; ironically Fred later was hired and has spent nearly 50 years with the company. Jack Long hired Fred in the store and soon put him in charge of the newly established Yorkville Sound.

Toots Thielemans enjoyed an incredible career as both a jazz guitarist and a jazz harmonica player. In fact, it is Toots who is credited for bringing the harmonica to jazz. He has performed with nearly every great jazz icon of the century including Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock.

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