Oral History -

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Keith Mardak provided great detail of the history of Hal Leonard Publishing, especially the stories of the company's founder, who passed away years ago, before they could be interviewed for this program. Without Keith's insight the early days of this important music publisher may have been lost. Keith also added background on his own impressive career in our industry, as well as his insights on the condition of the industry.

Leif Juhl has had quite a life in music! As a boy, he picked up a trumpet – the instrument he still played in his early 90s when his oral history interview was completed at his Arizona home. Leif was the ad man for Selmer before forming the Juhl Ad Agency in Elkhart, Indiana. Over the years, he worked for many instrument companies and even helped design some accessories such as a special trumpet case with a hidden compartment. His first NAMM Oral History interview was completed on May 4, 2003.

George Holden is the president and co-founder of Smith-Holden Music Store in Bloomington, IN. As a music teacher George partnered with a close friend who sadly committed suicide soon after the store was opened in the 1950s. In memory of him, George decided not to change the store name.

Brad Hershberger’s mother and father opened a music retail store in rural Nebraska in the late 1950s. Brad grew up in the business and worked side by side with his father to develop and market the store’s key services. Brad has focused on maintaining their customer base built up over the years and has been successful in keeping on-line and catalog competitors at arm’s length, with the simple ideas of knowing who your costumer is and what they want.

Dr. Sidney Harman, the founder of Harman-Kardon and Harman Industries provided a fascinating interview. He spoke of his early days and the innovative product line that helped develop the “hi-fi” industry (now referred to as the audio industry).

Alfredo Flores was born in Mexico in 1908 and moved to San Antonio, Texas with his mother and grandmother when he was a small boy. He took several jobs as a young man including a position with the Thomas Goggan piano company. His experience with the piano company provided Mr. Flores with the idea and contacts to open his own business.

Alfredo Flores Jr. proudly took over the music store his father established in 1928. Alamo Music Center in San Antonio, Texas, has long been established as a focal point for music making in the area. Under Alfredo Flores Jr’s leadership, the product lines have increased as well as the store’s community and industry involvement. In fact he served on the NAMM Board for many years including the role as president from 1985 to 1987.

Martin Denny cornered the market on the musical style of the early 1950s known as exotica. The smooth melody of the songs were enhanced by hundreds of different tropical sounding instruments, jungle noises and the call of birds. Martin began his musical career as a composer and piano playing bandleader in the era of the swing bands. He was booked for a 3-week engagement in Hawaii where he developed the idea of creating "mood music" for the island.

Paul Damiano has played a critical role in the growth and development of Kaman Music ever since first joining the company in the early 1980s. With a great understanding and passion for marketing and manufacturing, he was able to design processes that increased the company’s success especially in considering the ever-changing global market.

Andy Clark is one of the great characters of the music publishing industry! Over the years, Andy has served as a musician, band director, arranger, composer, and publisher. With a keen sense for school music programs, Andy has been able to develop and strengthen various programs by providing meaningful materials and services to students and band directors alike.