Oral History -
Kyle Barker began working in the piano retail industry in 1969 when the Sherman & Clay Piano Company in Northern California hired him. Five years later he established Barker Music in Modesto, where he would later expand the line to include guitars and percussion. Kyle also opened a second store in Stockton, CA.
Tom Baker began his career in the industry at Menchey Music outside of York, Pennsylvania, where he developed and managed the sheet music department. After 30 years, Tom is right where he started, with one exception. Today he is one of the most recognized and respected sheet music retailers in the industry. At any given Retail Print Music Dealers Association (RPMDA) meeting, you will see Tom, most likely in the background, doing what he does best -- learning and gathering information always with the hopes of improving his company’s sheet music department.
Emile Baran began a music retail business that led to the opportunity for expanding into the music wholesale business. Emile formed DeKalb Music Supply, a music retail store in Decatur, Georgia in 1958. Several years later he expanded into the wholesale business, thanks in large part to his understanding of the school music market.
Rosemary Bailey was ten years old when she was hired by Hammond as a concert artist. Over the years, she took part in the growth of the organ market in the 1970s and had first-hand experiences bringing music to millions.
Dennis Awe is passionate about the organ! As a recording artist he has performed on many products, endorsing the Lowrey Organ for many decades. As a keen salesman, Dennis has written books on the process of marketing and selling to encourage others. As a music maker, Dennis has brought the sounds of his talents to millions, with a smile and a friendly handshake.
Robert Averwater’s father, M. J. Averwater taught music, wrote a method book and opened up Amro Music in Memphis, TN, with a fellow music teacher. Robert recalls the early days after the war reorganizing the company as new products were once again being produced.
Billy Ashbaugh remembers with a smile his first drum kit as a kid and the desire to play professionally almost from the very beginning. He learned the ropes as a sub drummer and studio player before landing the gig as drummer for the boy super-group N’Sync.
Tim Angell grew up interested in the craft of woodworking. As a teenager he became interested in stringed instruments. With little woodworking opportunities in New Jersey, Tom and his wife moved to Connecticut where Tim found a job at Ovations Guitar.
Hans-Jorg Andre’s great great grandfather formed Musikhaus Andre Musikverlag Johann Andre in 1774. The company was the first to bring lithograph processes to the production of printed music, making a profound and everlasting impact on the way music was printed. Over the years the publishing company expanded to become a music retailer in Offenbach.
Whispering Bill Anderson began his music career as a songwriter penning the 1958 hit “City Lights” for Ray Price. Within a few years Bill was encouraged to sing some of his songs in his low and mellow way. The results were a string of hit songs including the cross-over smash record “Still” in 1963 and a nickname, Whispering Bill.