Oral History -

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Fred Theriault recalls the first time he set foot in Long & McQuade’s Music Store. He was still a teen and bought a snare drum from Jack McQuade; ironically Fred later was hired and has spent nearly 50 years with the company. Jack Long hired Fred in the store and soon put him in charge of the newly established Yorkville Sound.

Eddy Shenker teamed up with Marty Golden in the mid 1970s to form JAM Industries. The distribution company has become one of the largest in Canada and introduced the market to a number of innovative products.

Dr. Wolf-Dieter Seiffert is the president of G. Henle Publishers, a noted publishing firm located in Germany. Dr. Seiffert is also a musicologist and historian, who took great pride in our interview to discuss the rich history of the company and that of its founder, Mr. Henle.

Earl Scruggs was the father of bluegrass and country banjo playing. His style and techniques have been both influential and inspiring for generations of banjo players around the world. His easy-going personality endured thousands of music students who would often receive a lesson when they approached him with a question.

Don Schlitz likes to tell the story about how he was in the right place at the right time when his song, “The Gambler,” was recorded by Kenny Rogers in 1978. The truth is, if that was Don’s only hit song that might have been the case, but talent plays a big part in his story-telling songwriting that has since sold millions of albums for artists such as Randy Travis, Keith Whitley, Mary Chapin Carpenter, George Strait and others.

Johnny Rodgers can tell you all about the trends of piano sales in Texas. As salesman for Jent Music in Lubbock, he has watched the market and his customer base change over the years. He has also had the unique opportunity to work with the Jent family, one of the principal families in the industry.

Alvino Rey tinkered with putting a phonograph pickup in his banjo to increase the volume in 1927. His inventive mind also led to early guitar pickups and the design of a pedal-steel guitar.

Nick Peck’s entire face lights up whenever he talks about a great school music program! The son of a band director, the passion seems to be in his blood. After taking over the store his father started in Greenville, South Carolina, Nick joined the NAMM board in 1969. He rose to the top becoming President at a very important time in the industry.

Sammy Nestico has revolutionized the band and orchestra repertoire by composing and arranging top jazz charts for all levels of bands. As a result, this arranger of Count Basie’s band in the 1950s is known as well to music fans in their 80s as he is to beginning music students in elementary school. Along the way Sammy has delighted music fans with a clear and understandable sound that focuses on strength of the melody rather than overpowering high notes and speed.

Les Paul will forever be known for his role in the popularity of the electric guitar, the design of the Gibson Les Paul guitar, the multi track recording, the early guitar effects, and his million selling recordings with wife Mary Ford. However, did you know Les also appeared as product endorsee in more NAMM shows than just about any other artist?

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