Oral History -

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George Bishop had the idea of bringing the Canadian music industry together in 1971. With the help of some friends, the Musical Instrument Association of Canada (MIAC) was established not only to provide an annual trade show but to provide music advocacy throughout the country.

Charles Bickel was working on the bench at Selmer when George Bundy decided to try a different plastic emulsion for his idea of a plastic clarinet. The first try was not successful. Mr. Bickel recalled the look in Bundy’s eyes when the first Resonate clarinet was tested, “We all started to clap and cheer.” The product saved the Depression-weary company and, because of its low cost, allowed many families on tight budgets to still afford music for their children. Charles worked his way up to president of Selmer before his retirement in the 1970s.

Richard Bennett served many roles during his long career in music, perhaps most notably as the sales rep for Wurlitzer towards the end of the 1960s. His involvement in retail and his philosophy on customer service have had a lasting effect on his success and the success of the dealers he would call on.

Ray Benedetto and Gene Garb were interviewed together in connection with the 50th anniversary of NEMC (National Educational Music Company) at the NAMM show in 2007. Ray, the president and founder, has worked closely with Garb, the vice president, for 47 years. Together they outlined the original goals of NEMC of Mountainside, NJ.

Harry Begian was one of the most respected band directors in the United States. Serving at the high school and college levels for over 45 years, Dr. Begian conducted his first band while he was in his teens.

Mike Battle invented the Echoplex, the pioneering electric effects device, which played a vital role in the early development of the rock and roll sound. The Echoplex was famously used by Sun Records founder Sam Phillips who used the echo effect on several of Elvis Presley’s first recordings (“Blue Moon” and “Mystery Train” showcase this sound beautifully).

Chuck Barnhouse is the third generation to own and operate the C. L. Barnhouse Publishing Company. His grandfather established the firm in 1886 and over the years the company has commissioned a rather impressive list of composers to create band and orchestral music. Among their most noted are composers, James Swearingen, Alfred Reed and Frank Mantooth.

Rod Baltimore has been a music retailer in New York for over 40 years. Much of that time was spent on the famed 48th street music central. Working with brass and woodwinds, Rod has maintained one of the most sought after repair shops in the state and often does work for customers outside the state and country.

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.  

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