Oral History -

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Bill Walzak grew up in Chicago and found his way to the drums whenever he could.  Trash cans and pots were often turned upside down and were Bill’s set!  While playing in a band later he invented a cup holder to attach to music stands.  In 1982, Bill made his first trip to the NAMM Show with his first product.  Over time he continued to research ideas and how he could continue

Jay Wanamaker found his passion for music as a member of a drum and bugle corps and eventually honed his skills while attending the Crane school of music at SUNY Potsdam University in Potsdam, New York. After completing a graduate degree program at the University of Kansas, Jay took a job at Alfred Publishing where he learned every aspect of the business.

June Wang is very proud of her company, Pearl River.  She is an outstanding spokesperson for the China-based piano manufacturer.  In fact, it was Ms. Wang who assisted the NAMM Oral History team to conduct an interview with the then-chairman, Zhi Cheng Tong back in 2006.

Sam Wangler ran a music store in Bismarck, North Dakoda for 35 years before his retirement.  He taught himself guitar after hearing "Walk Don't Run" by the Ventures as a kid.  He later played in several bands in and around the area, and the passion he had for playing transferred into music retailing.

Herbert Wanka is the master bow maker who established his own company in Baiersdorf, Germany in 1971. He began making bows in 1952 and worked as an apprentice to the renowned craftsman, Emanuel Schuster, in Bubenreuth Germany. After completing his master examinations in 1968, Herbert formed his own workshop in Bubenreuth before moving the shop to Baiersdorf in 1977.

Elizabeth Ward and her husband, Dale Probst, brought their love of pianos and their backgrounds as tuner and technicians together to form Ward & Probst Piano & Organ Service in Wichita Falls, Texas. Since she was a young girl, the piano has been a big part of her life.

Guy Ward was the president of the Ward Piano Company, located in Canton, North Carolina, from the 1940s until his retirement.  After his daughter and son took over the company, he continued to go into the shop every day even at the time of his 2013 NAMM Oral History interview when he was 89!  As Guy said, "the piano business is in my blood and I really don't want to do anything

John W. Ward began working in the music industry as a piano salesman in the late 1950s, before working for the Sherman Clay store chain in 1961. After earning a position as one of the company’s top salesman, John was asked to help sell home organs, which were just coming into popularity.

Dennis Ward takes great pride in the work he does making musical instruments!  He began working in the music industry with Vincent Bach in the 1970s and remained with the company in the early 2000s when it merged to become Conn-Selmer.  In recent years Dennis manages the machines which make parts for the company’s trumpet line including soldering the pistons for the trumpets.

Allan Ward has enjoyed nearly 40 years in the print music industry. He has become one of the leaders in promotion and education regarding sheet music purchasing and retail selling. Allan has worked for Belwin, Alfred, and Charles Demont and Sons (print music distributors) in addition to serving as President of the Musical Instrument Association of Canada (MIAC).

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