Oral History -
Hartmut Willms is the President of Piano Willms, a firm established by his grandfather and his two brothers back in 1912. Hartmut’s grandfather enjoyed building pianos and created the Willms brand of instruments as well as manufactured other brands over the years. After World War II, Hartmut’s father came into the business to learn piano building along with a young builder na
Roger Willson takes great pride in his long association with the Bluthner Piano Company. The association extends to the Bluthner family who entrusted Roger with the position of Managing Director of the Bluthner UK store. During his career in the piano industry, Roger has also served on the boards and committees aimed to enrich the arts and the industry.
Vanetta Wilson was the fourth generation owner of her family’s music business. Chesbro Music began in 1911 as a music retailer and expanded over the years to become one of the largest music wholesalers in the country. Since taking on the Hoshino line of products in the 1970s, the company has focused on wholesale distribution – although they still have two retail locations.
Mac Wilson grew up in a musical home as both of his parents were singers. In middle school he learned the guitar and even earned a little money playing around town. Mac continued to play throughout high school and college. In 1974, Mac met Danny Gatton and soon began taking lessons from Danny. The two developed a long lasting friendship. Over the years Mac also managed a
Don Wilson is a founding member of the instrumental rock band, The Ventures! He formed the band with his friend Bob Bogle. Shortly after their first hit, “Walk Don’t Run,” Nokie Edwards, who was also interviewed for the NAMM Oral History program, joined the band.
Don Wilson always enjoyed being around music, as a player, teacher, retailer, and as an award-winning baton twirler. He opened his music store in 1956 with the dream of running his business, raising his family, and staying close to the music he loved. In 2006, he reflected that his dreams did come true.
Shelley Wilson and her husband, Greg Murdaugh, opened the Piano Craft store in 1999. The store, which is located in Springfield MO, has a family feel whenever you visit, which may be due in large part to the mom and pop approach Greg and Shelley have towards their customers and staff.
Robert Wilson formed his first rock and roll band when he was 14. He played the blues for a living while creating a large list of friends, many of whom encouraged him to sell them instruments. The rest, as they say, is history. Rob is very active in UK and US trades of musical instruments.
Keith Wilson helped design and manufacture the famed SM57 and SM58 microphones for Shure back in the early 1960s. As an engineer, Keith later came up with the idea of creating a system for vocalists, with mixer, amplifier and a microphone that could cover the range of the human voice. The system soon became one of the company’s most successful.
Gerald Wilson was among the great arrangers of jazz, beginning back in the swing era when he worked for the famed Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. He established a distinctive style rich in melodic phrases and tasty rhythms, which stood out among the most stylish jazz arrangements. The impressive list of those artists he worked with is equaled only to that of the list of those who loved and respected him as a gentleman and as a musician.