Oral History -

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George Lewis was the founder of George L’s in Madison, Tennessee, one of the industry’s leading innovators of cable and electronic components.  George played a large role in the development of ShoBud as a retail store and manufacturer of steel pedal guitars.  George’s entire family works in the business, which is now being operated by his two daughters.  His interview was as much a recount of his career as it was an American history lesson as George was on board a ship in Pearl Harbor on D

 Zhi Cheng Tong is the Chairman for Pearl River Pianos in China and one of the longest-term employees of the company that was established in 1956.  Chairman Tong joined the company just two years later.  Since that time, Chairman Tong has made his products among the best known pianos in the world, while maintaining the great responsibilities he feels all piano makers should dis

 John Hornby Skewes is the founder and president of John Hornby Skewes Company Ltd, a noted music wholesaler located in England, which was established in the early 1960s.    John is also one of the pioneers of the Music Industry Association in the UK and the British Music Fair.

Ruth Sibley Bensinger wrote a song called “So Long Sweetheart” when she was a teenager.  The song was about lovers split by war.  Members of her musically inclined family thought the song was quite promising.  Ruth decided to walk the song over to Fred Waring’s home, whom she had met once through her bandleader father.  Mr.

 Mr. Menchey founded the Menchey Music Service in 1936 out of his mother’s sewing room in Hanover. By the time he retired in 1982, Menchey’s Music grew into the premier full-service school music and piano dealer serving Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland.

 William McCormick may always be referred to as an industry outsider by some because he came to the music retail business with a Harvard MBA, from the sugar industry – over 30 years ago!  His skillful understanding of the business was second to none.  His service to the Jordan Kitt's Music Company outside of Washington, DC, made him one of the most respected members of the indu

 Dean Markley thought there must be a better way of making a guitar string, so he found it and in the process changed the way accessory products were sold.  Founder of Dean Markley Strings, he often sought to refine the manufacturing process to produce a larger variety of strings for a gamut of styles and sounds.  He soon redefined other strings, including those made for the electric bas

 Richard Collins had a colorful career as a jazz trumpeter in the evening while he studied for his masters degree by day.  Two topics always fascinated Dick, music and research, so he sought to study both.  He earned his masters in Library Science and spent most of his career in southern California lib

 Don Johnson received his degree in journalism and later landed the editor’s job at a recording industry trade magazine.  Years later the magazine was sold to the owners of the Music Merchandise Review (MMR).  Under Don’s editorial direction the magazine has focused on music dealers with profiles and product news.  He also worked hard to ensure that each issue would contain tips and suggestions that could be applied to any retail store.  In 2007 Don led the effort for the first

 Barbara Fitzgerald is a member of the NAMM family!  For years Barbara has been the trade show event coordinator who quietly in the background has made possible so many of the current services enjoyed during the annual shows.  She has worked on improving customer service for our members as well as increasing what products and services could be provided for our members, both exh

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