Oral History -

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Himie Voxman was a band director nearly all his life. He studied chemistry in college but fell into music because jobs were hard for chemists to find in the days of the Great Depression. Since he had studied clarinet beginning when he was eight, he felt he could teach.

Jay Valle began working in the organ industry in the 1950s and has witnessed some rather amazing changes. He was part of the organ boom of the 1960s and 70s that brought the instrument into shopping malls as an impulse item. Jay has watched the change in technology, which has greatly benefited the sound and price of the instruments.

Lester Wagner began in the woodworking and sanding department of the C.F. Martin & Company before World War II. He moved from the North Street Plant in 1964 to the bigger manufacturing plant in the current location on Sycamore Street in Nazareth, PA. Lester was assigned to the ukulele department at the height of the instrument’s boom in the 1950s.

Lyndell Thompson was delighted when her two sons, Phil and James, came to her and her husband with a new idea for their Nashville-based leather company. The year was 1978. Until that point the company had made horse accessories, a market that was slowly decreasing.

Phil Thompson enjoyed working in the leather company his grandfather formed in Nashville. As a teenager Phil made himself a leather guitar strap in the shop, although the business at the time was devoted to horse accessories.

Charles Urban knows horns! As the former president of American Plating, he has worked with all of the top brass instrument makers in perfecting the art of plating instruments. Chuck is also very proud to have been in the music products industry, having made many friends along the way.

Marcellus Trach recalls with a smile the many rules a wood worker had to follow in the C.F. Martin & Company when he was first hired after World War II. He also expressed the pride so many of his co-workers felt over the years towards the world-class musical instruments they were making each day.

Paul Tanner joined Glenn Miller's newly formed band in 1938 and recorded all of the band's hits including "In the Mood" and "String of Pearls."  He often said "Everything the Glenn Miller Orchestra did from 1938-1942, I did."  When Glenn signed on to lead the military band during the war, the civilian band broke up and Paul moved to Los Angeles to record in the studios. While i

Harold Stone served the music products industry in many ways over a long and celebrated career. After working in a music retail store (Mays Music), Harold joined the CG Conn Company where he stayed for 27 years developing a business and marketing plan as well as creating the sales training for the Conn sales school programs.

Ursula Seiler is president of the piano company formed by her late husband’s family. The Seiler Piano Company of Kitzinger, Germany has an extensive history of producing well-respected and innovative products. The family traditions continue within the company with Ursula’s daughter, Manuella, working alongside her mother.  

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