Oral History -

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Philipp Alexander is proud of his musical past. His family formed Musik-Alexander in Mainz, Germany in 1782. They began as brass instrument makers and later opened a music store while continuing the making of horns. One of the company’s milestones took place in 1909 when they introduced the now famous horn, model 103.

Rufus Reid spoke eloquently of his musical mentor and friend, Eddie Harris. He recalled the passion for musical innovation that was so much apart of Eddie’s life. Rufus himself is constantly trying to reach out musically to gain something new, just as his role model did.

George Fullerton befriended Leo Fender back in the days before Leo quit the radio repair business and started in the guitar making business. George worked for the Fender Guitar Company from the beginning and up to the day it was sold to CBS Musical Instruments. After the sale of the company, Leo could no longer use his last name to produce and promote guitars, so he teamed with George to form a new company, named after the first letter in their first names. And so, G & L Guitars was born.

Jerry Weimer clearly enjoys talking about music! As a vital part of the business side of Bill Gather’s career, Jerry assisted in the expansion of Gather’s music and his publishing company. Jerry later worked for Thomas Nelson Publishing and helped close the deal to purchase Word Music in 1991, becoming the company’s executive vice president.

Denis Wick was only 25 years old when he became the principal trombonist for the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). Over the next 30 years, he played with the LSO and other world class orchestras on stage and recordings. Along the way, he felt a need to improve the mouthpiece he was using, so he created his own.

Marilea Zajec and her husband Victor became the historians for the Midwest Band Clinic and over the years collected and wrote of the importance of the annual events impact on music education around the world. Victor attended the first program in 1946 and Marilea’s first Midwest was as a performer in 1961.

John Rajcic, a former educator joined the Kawai Company, becoming Vice President/General Manager of the world famous piano maker. John played a role in establishing Kawai Dealers across the country. John was instrumental in the design and development of the College Loan Program, which allowed colleges to upgrade their pianos.

Martin Szpiro's mother was the office manger and one of the first employees of JAM Industries, a Canadian wholesaler started by Marty Golden and Eddy Shenker in the early 70's. As the company grew to include growing segments of the industry such as pro audio, they needed a "go to" man.

Don Randall met Leo Fender before World War II when both men worked in radio repairs. After the war they decided to form a business together that would allow Leo to focus on developing a line of guitars. Don’s history of radio amplifiers and his business education made for a perfect match.

Willi Zildjian has made many lasting contributions to the SABIAN Cymbal Company, which she formed along with her husband Bob back in 1981. However, her most noted is the naming of the company. While driving to New York from their factory in Canada, she discussed names with her husband.