Oral History -

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Robert Campbell began his career in the music industry working for Conn Organ in 1947, the year the company gave a unit to President Harry S. Truman. Bob later worked with Don Leslie, the inventor of the famed Leslie organ speaker. Bob played an important role in the Leslie Speaker Company being purchased by the musical instrument division of CBS.

Peter Bartkus grew up in Rockford, Illinois and was proud to establish a music shop there in the early 1950s. Tru Tone Music became a hub for musicians and was known throughout the area for Peter’s creative and precise instrument repairs.

Steve Cohen is the president of Jason’s Music Center in Pasadena, MD. As a creative thinker, Steve has pioneered a new approach to college piano sales by bringing the concept into the public schools beginning in the early 1980s. A passionate salesman, Steve understands people and enjoys bringing music into their lives.

Tish Ciravolo played bass in rock and punk bands in the 1970s and 80s but felt there was always a disconnect between female performers and the instruments. With an idea stemming from her daughter’s drawing of a daisy, Tish launched a guitar company with the mission to help girls make music.

Deborah Zildjian proudly recalled stories of her father and her grandfather, two of the most successful leaders of her family’s 380 plus years as cymbal makers. Deborah has a compelling way of recounting her family’s history such as her memories of her grandmother and grandfather.

Craigie Zildjian has accomplished what no other woman has done in her company’s over 380-year history; she has become president of the Zildjian Cymbal Company. She has also been a pioneer in industry-related organizations where few other women have been.

Franz Mohr has been the chief concert technician for Steinway and Sons for many decades. During his long and colorful career, Franz has worked on the piano of many of the great pianists of his time, including Horowitz, Cliburn, Serkin and Rubinstein.

Skip Maggiora has revolutionized retailing within the music products industry. With his Weekend Warriors program a whole new segment of the population was being targeted to become music makers–that of the middle aged. The success of the program and his willingness to share his ideas with other retailers has resulted in hundreds of similar programs around the world. Skip’s Stairway to Stardom program offers pre teens, teens and post teens music-making opportunities in the setting of real live performances and connections with others.

Vic Firth was a classically trained timpanist, playing with a number of highly regarded symphonies around the world. Over the years he developed a few ideas that improved on the way mallets and drumsticks perform and sound. As founder of the company that carries his name, Vic designed and marketed a full line of products for a wide range of performers and musical settings.

Joe Calato is the inventor of the nylon-tipped drumstick, who turned the small idea of preserving his favorite sticks into an industry success story. He formed Regal Tip to produce his unique line of drumsticks and over the years extended the products to include brushes.