Oral History -

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Carson Kielsel discussed the entire history of Carvin Guitars during his interview. As the son of the founder and long time president, Carson provided insight as to the growth and development of the company. Carson expanded the visibility of the company and its products with noted endorsement deals and memorable product displays at the NAMM show over the years.

Glenn Howard was the first salesman hired by the Winter Piano Company following World War II. Raised in Marshalltown, Iowa, Glen was the son of a real estate broker who fell on hard times during the Great Depression.

Arthur Gurwitz joined Southern Music Company in the late 1940s, soon after his military service during World War II. He expanded the business into publishing, and soon the Southern Music catalog became one of the best known around the world. Arthur played a vital role in the growth and development of the company and the industry as he sought to publish composers who may have otherwise been forgotten. Active in the industry, Arthur served as president of Music Industry Conference (1978-1980) and later on the Music Publishers Association (MPA) Board.

Franco Guccini expanded the family’s cane business of basket making to the creation of reeds for musical instruments. As president of Marca: Aches Reeds Canas Accessories established in 1957), he has developed a unique process of cutting, drying and shaping the cane.

Carlo Greco was known throughout the world as one of the premier guitar luthiers. Yet, if you ever got to meet him, he was a very humble man who brushed off compliments with a smile. After a long association as chief designer for Guild Guitars, Carlo joined his dear friend, Alex Carozza, in New York’s top repair shop, Alex Music, on 48th Street.

Mel Graner was a school band director for nearly 30 years--it was in his blood and he very much enjoyed each class. When the school district let him go to hire a younger teacher, he was not yet ready to retire or give up on teaching music. He opened Graner Music in Colorado Springs, CO, and continued teaching both by providing lessons and by imparting knowledge to his customers. He was raised on a farm and has held on to many of the values he gleaned from those early years, including the idea of helping your neighbors.

Terry Gibbs seems to live for the vibes! As a legendary jazz percussionist, Terry’s power and unique style of mallet playing has singled him out as one of the top vibraphonists in the history of jazz. Being influenced by Red Norvo and Lionel Hampton, Terry gave the vibes a fresh new sound in the pre- and post-Bebop eras.

Jimmy Gibbs opened the very first crate containing a Hammond B-3 in the United Kingdom in the 1950s. Several years later, at the height of the Cold War, Jimmy brought the famous organ to Moscow, the first person to do so in history. He found that “music can speak every language and that no one ever needs to interpret a smile on the face of those playing music.

Matteo Galanti and his family have been instrumental in the growth and development of the accordion and organ industry, both inside and outside the United States. Beginning in the 1950s, the accordion became one of the leading instruments in the industry; however, dealer relations were not yet well organized for imported goods. The Galanti family pioneered these efforts and worked the accordion explosion right into the organ craze of the 1950s and 60s. Matteo developed one of the first portable keyboards, which was the first of many innovations enjoyed by the company.

Wilbur Fuller took to woodwork at a young age.  When he was 16, from the instructions in a magazine, he made a desk, which still stands in the corner of his small farmhouse in western Michigan.  In 1954, his cousin Walter, who engineered the Gibson amplifier in nearby Kalamazoo, told Wilbur of an opening in the company’s wood shop.