Oral History -

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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.

Marsha Berman grew up in a home filled with music. Her mother sang and her father played, so she was encouraged to play piano. She took lessons until college, at which point she studied music at UCLA not knowing just what she wanted to do with her degree.

Fred Bramante formed the music retailers Daddy’s Junky Music on the East Coast and went on to play a vital role on the NAMM Board during a most critical period in the association’s history. While playing in a rock band in college in the late 1960s, Fred got the idea of buying used music gear and selling it to performers he knew who were looking for different equipment.

Terry Bingley was a leader in the Canadian Music Products Industry for several decades. He began his career when he formed a music retail store before working with Yamaha and, later, serving as the Managing Director of Kawai.  He helped to establish Kawai Canada.