Oral History -

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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

 Frank Fendorf served as a school band director for many years beginning with the high school band in Warrensburg, MO in 1947.  He enjoyed the role of band director and in fact was doing just that when his friend Merle Jones called.  Mr.

Norman Erickson was hired by the Lowrey Company in 1947. At that time, the company was still producing cement powder mixture. However, Lowrey’s owner had an interest in the electronic organ that was being developed by Laurinz Hammond, so he sought Norm as an engineer.

 Luella Derwin was one of the first women owners of a music store in America.  In 1937, when her bandleader husband Hal Derwin went on the road, Luella was left behind, “So one day I was thinking of all the fun we had with musicians who would come to town and look for a local place to have their instrument repaired or went seeking strings or valve oil.  I thought why don’t I op

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