Oral History -

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Robin Galison is the founder and president of The Music Gift Company located in Boca Raton, Florida. The company began as a division of the Edwin F. Kalmus Music Publishers, which her husband’s family started. The publishing company was founded in 1926 by Edwin Kalmus originally as the United States Agent for Universal which was owned by Edwin’s brother, Alfred Kalmus.

Alex Ordonez was eight years old when he began playing the piano. He was the first in his family to play music and was encouraged by his parents. Although he later focused his time on sports, Alex somehow knew his love of music would be part of his future.

Sigrun Jantzen has been playing piano and cello since her childhood and holds a Ph.D. in History of Fine Arts. She has also worked for a book publisher which focuses on classical music books. In 2012, Sigrun was hired as the Head of Sales by G. Henle Publishers in Germany.

Lauri Knapton is the founder of Knapton Musik Knotes in Janesville, Wisconsin. The store, which was established in 2000, provides musical instruments, lessons, and a long list of community outreach programs such as Rock Camp and Uke Circles. Lauri has been passionate about music since she began taking violin lessons at the age of four.

Brian Shepard provided a meaningful review on the history of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) during his NAMM Oral History interview. Brian outlined the early years of the organization having been formed by the music publishing icon Theodore Presser in 1876.

Matt Keiser was strongly encouraged to play music as a child, after all his father is composer and music publisher, Lauren Keiser! Matt played bass in high school and began taking a strong interest in his father’s career as a leader in the music publishing industry.

Masato Horibe is proud of the origins of his company, which date back to 1917 when Mr. Niimi opened a small store in Japan. He first began selling phonograph needles and later brought into the harmonica.

Carlos Medina is the owner of Medina and Magma Music in Argentina. His passion for music traces back to his grandfather who played guitar in a local band. In fact, much of the business’ success has involved the family element. For example, he worked with his father for many years and is proud that his own children are involved and that he gets to work with them each day.

Chuck Neitzel joined Deering Banjo in January 1979 having previously been a woodworker with antique furniture. Chuck also brought with him a deep respect and passion for bluegrass music, which he had followed and played since he was a young man.

Ron Blair was the original bassist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, bringing to the group his understanding of the blues and his skills on the electric bass. The band was formed in 1976 and Ron stayed on until 1982 when he took a twenty-year hiatus. He returned to the band in 2002 and stayed on until Tom Petty’s untimely death in 2017.