Oral History -
Marvin Snyder became president of Rico Reeds in 1976, after managing the cane plantations, which were used to make the reeds. His father worked with the Lockie family, who owned a chain of music stores in Southern California and brought the Rico Reed products to the United States.
John P. Smith was one of thousands of young musicians who toured the country on the buses, cars, and trains that carried the territory bands of the swing era from high school sock hops to hotel ballrooms. John’s trombone skills made him a sought-after musician who worked with several of the name bands of the 1930s and 40s, including the Artie Shaw Orchestra.
George Shorney’s grandfather formed a small music publishing company in 1892 with the goal of serving the church by printing hymnals. The company, Hope Publishing, has done just that and over the years established a respected reputation for quality research and an extensive catalog.
Doc Severinsen had a mighty career as Johnny Carson’s bandleader on the “Tonight Show” and as a recording artist on several important albums. He is also widely known within the music products industry for his role in perfecting the design and feel of the trumpet.
Eric Schwartz is the Chairman of Sherman Clay, the historic chain of piano stores. The stores are located in the northern half of California and have played a big role in the growth of the piano market in the region. Eric joined the company in the footsteps of his father, working in all positions along side his uncle Donald Ravitch.
Peter Schmitt was not around when his family started a small retail store 110 years ago, but was proud of the role he has played in the expansion of the business into a wholesale business. His son Mike later took over as President of Peter E. Schmitt Music in New Jersey.
Gunter Schmalfuss has taken great pride in working on one instrument most of his career, the tuba. Since 1961, Mr. Schmalfuss has studied, built and designed tubas in addition to teaching the craft of repair. Following a great tradition of handcrafted work, he has played a vital role in the expansion of the instrument’s models and design keeping up with the times but being grounded in the roots of the instrument. Mr.
Wesley Schaum’s father wrote and arranged music with the hope of serving school band programs in a meaningful way. He wrote several important scores including the noted Schaum Piano Method Books before joining forces with his son Wesley in 1959. Together, father and son formed Schaum Publishing Inc. to enhance the efforts of the Schaum methods, which, at the time, were in print under Belwin Music. Wesley wrote several method books following the same mission as his father and soon created a list of important publications. His son Jeff has continued this tradition.
Dr. Albert Sanderson revolutionized the process of piano tuning by inventing the electronic tuner. Although the device was first questioned by the industry among fears that it would put piano tuners out of business, it proved to be a helpful tool for the technician who could then complete a job faster and with measurable results.
Bonnie G. Rowe did not seem to mind much when people thought he was a woman because his given name was Bonnie. For 87 years he corrected people and never gave much thought to using his middle name of Gordon. “Mother and father wanted me to be known as Bonnie, so that is it” he once said.