Oral History -

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Veronika Gruber was musically trained as a child but did not think of a career in music until she met her husband, Hans, in college. He was a jazz fan who found it difficult to find music for his band, so he began distributing American publications in Germany. In 1978, the Advanced Music Company was formed.

Arthur Griggs will make you smile when you hear him talk about the two loves of his life, his wife and the music industry. Sitting in his easy chair, next to the fireplace, in his Glencoe, IL home, the 93 year old spoke with passion and pride.

Don Griffin is the founder and president of West LA Music in Los Angeles, CA. Don’s background in music and customer service made his store the idea stop for many of the rock and studio musicians in southern California. Don was one of the very first music retailers to break into the pro audio and lighting fields as early as the late 1960s. Don served as the president of the NAMM Board of Directors from 1987-1989.

Fred Gretsch embraces the great history of our industry like no other. Perhaps for good reason, his family has played a vital role in the development of the industry for over 120 years. With remarkable stories of family members, innovative products and great marketing ideas, Fred outlined a few of the most historical moments in his company’s history.

Dinah Gretsch is Vice President to her husband Fred’s presidency of the Gretsch Company. Her role in the company has been very significant due to her knowledge of licensing and other contract agreements, which has been a large part of the company’s growth over the past decade.

Hershel Green spent much of his career in the piano and organ field, working as salesman, technician, and tuner. Along the way, he gained respect from travelers and dealers alike. As a side hobby, Hershel collects Hammond clocks and the items regarding the history of the man who made those clocks and went on to create the Hammond Organ Company, Mr. Laurens Hammond.

Bob Gray is often called the "Music Man" for a good reason. Over his long career, Bob sold something like 10,000 pianos! Even during his NAMM interview, it was clear that he was a passionate salesman who enjoyed his career very much.

Vince Grantano was a fixture among traveling piano representatives. He traveled the entire United States for several companies over the years to bring new products to retailers. His most notable job was with the Winter Piano Company where he worked for several decades. Vince joined the National Piano Traveler’s Association in the 1950s, during a time when several of the old timers could talk about the golden age of the piano in the early 1900s.

Larry Goldstein, currently a vice president at Westheimer Music, has a passion for the history of the music industry. Larry was able to provide a terrific perspective to our interview collection by recounting the early days of the Guild Guitar Company as well as the great wholesalers of our past such as C. Bruno, Coast and Targ & Dinner.

Hugh Goldsmith was hired by the Mason-Risch Piano Company of Canada when he was still a teenager in 1937. Times were difficult during the depression era and into the war years when Hugh enlisted into the Canadian Air Force. After the war he returned to the industry and worked as a traveling sales rep for nearly 30 years as well as a retailer and piano manufacture.