Oral History -

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Billy Carson was listed in the Guinness book of world records for growing the largest watermelon ever weighed. And if you think that is something, consider the fact that Billy also worked with Leo Fender in streamlining the Stratocaster electric guitar in the early 1950s. As a country player in Southern California in the late 1940s, Billy became close friends with Leo.

John Carruthers has established himself as a leading expert on guitars and amplifiers as a designer, builder and repairman. Working along side Leo Fender at Music Man, John helped improve the quality of the product line and years later helped establish a series of instruments for Yamaha including their electric bass and acoustic guitar line.

Candido Camero was born in Cuba on April 22, 1921. By the age of four he was already interested in percussive instruments--a field he would revolutionize by blending Latin beats with jazz. Working with other pioneers on the concepts of Latin Jazz, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Candido opened up the endless possibilities of jazz percussion.

William Callaway worked in his father’s music store as a child, sweeping up on weekends and working his way up to president of Thearle Music in San Diego. His father, Harry, was President of NAMM from 1951-1953. William recalled the pride his father had in being involved with the industry that he loved. William ran the store for his father and expanded the sheet music department as well as the rental program within the band instrument department. William developed MS just before his father’s passing in 1976.

Harold Burt was just about 3 years old when a musician from a traveling circus came to his North Carolina town and sold his parents a clarinet for young Harold. His life has been filled with music ever since. In 1950, he established the first high school band in Cary, NC and he served as the program’s first musical director.

Roy Burns played drums for several big names in swing and jazz including Benny Goodman with whom he recorded with during the 1950’s. Roy later provided clinics for Rogers Drums in music stores around the country and published several method books. His association with drum companies resulted in his introduction to NAMM, where Roy became a regular attendee.

Edna Mae Burnam authored the now classic piano training books “A Dozen a Day” to help beginners learn in a fun and meaningful way. Her books have been critical to millions of young pianists around the world for over 60 years. Edna Mae wrote her first song back in 1935 but was more interested in teaching music than penning a top hit.

Evan Brooks became interested in electronic musical instruments during the early days of synthesizer development. He worked on MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controllers for E-MU and other San Francisco Bay Area companies. Soon thereafter, Evan started designing his own technologies and products.

Arnold Broido was an industry treasure! The man had sophistication and charm as abundantly as he had energy and ideas! Having worked in nearly every level of the music publishing industry, Arnold gained the respect of his peers and the confidence of songwriters such as Frank Loesser. After being discharged from the Coast Guard, Arnold found work in the warehouse of Boosey and Hawkes and quickly rose to the ranks of editor. After leaving the company he went to work at EB Marks Music and eventually Frank Music. Eventually, Arnold joined with Theodore Presser in 1969 and in 1972 began serving on the ASCAP Board. Mr. Broido created many standards in the industry, including those related to royalty (he served as ASCAP president) and publishing rights (he also served as MPA president).

John Bowen was an engineer at Sequential Circuits during the early days of the synthesizer boom of the late 1970s. John worked with founder Dave Smith, who later went on to develop the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) specifications. John helped write the MIDI code and went on to design electronic music products and to program music-related software.

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