Oral History -

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Ray Ayotte was born in Millardville Canada where as a youngster he began playing drums for rock bands he formed with schoolmates. Throughout his early playing days, Ray made little adjustments to his kit and learned that other players enjoyed the changes and sounds he could make. He dreamed of one day making his own drum set.

Byron Autrey loved to tell you everything you needed to know about how a trumpet works, and I mean everything! Byron studied the craft of trumpet design for decades, having been a player all of his life.  

Jerry Ash recalls his father, Sam Ash, giving him a pocket full of change and sending him off on the subway to New York City to pick up the sheet music orders from the publishers. With nickels for the subway rides and some string for wrapping the bundles, Jerry set off.

Paul Ash had great memories of his father, Sam Ash, the founder of Sam Ash Music in New York. Paul enjoyed the years he worked with his father and credited him for his knowledge of the music products business. Paul also learned his philosophy of customer care from his father, which he developed during his long career in the store.

Bernice Ash began working at the Sam Ash Music Store in New York City in 1947, one year before marrying the founder’s eldest son, Jerry. Bernice and Jerry continued the tradition of keeping the retail store in the Ash family. Bernice is widely recognized as one of the pioneers of the development of the sheet music department, which included purchasing and inventory.

Vivian Artley’s brother formed the Artley Flute Company in Elkhart, IN, during the 1930s.  With an innovation that allowed the instrument to be made cheaper, Artley became a successful product for school band programs as well as a well-established and noted professional line of products.  Vivian’s brother, Hube, and their cousin Don went into business together developing a bran

Shiro Arai was the founder of Aria Guitars, a Japanese electric guitar company that gained great international success in the wake of the Beatles invasion—both in America and Japan.  Mr. Arai was an early pioneer of Japanese/American commerce, developing one dealer base that represented both countries.  When Mr.

R.C. Allen was a guitar luthier that used the style of his many friends of the era in the early 1950s in Southern California when guitar innovators were reshaping the instrument and grooming it for a new birth. RC was building his own unique instruments when Leo Fender and Lowell Kiesel of Carvin were also just starting out.

Van Alexander co-wrote “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” with Ella Fitzgerald while both worked in the Chick Webb Orchestra back in 1938. The success of that song led to a job as arranger for Webb as well as Benny Goodman and Paul Whiteman and super stardom for Ella. Van formed his own band during the wonderful swing era but gave it up to work in the movies when Bing Crosby offered him a job in 1948.

Henry Adler helped define the percussion industry with his music publishing company, drum shop and method books.  His amazing life in music began as a drummer during the big band era.  His many gigs and one nighters gained the attention of a friend who encouraged Henry to open a drum studio and music studio in the heart of New York City.  The Henry Adler Music Store near Time S

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