Oral History -

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Renato Silva has established the Renaer Group in Brazil, which represents a number of South American pro audio companies.

Mark Kiesel is the President of Kiesel Guitars in Escondido, California and the son of Lowell Kiesel, the founder of Carvin Guitars. When his father began making guitars in the 1930s, it was with the Kiesel name. However, he stopped using the family name when he established Carvin Guitars in the 1950s.

Fred Oster was encouraged by his cousin to play the guitar as a youngster, which quickly expanded to include playing the mandolin and the five string banjo. By the time Fred was playing banjo, during the height of the folk music movement of the early 1970s, he was hooked!

Paul Peace holds several patents on the cinema side of professional audio having worked with IMAX on and off for nearly 20 years. One of his many exciting projects was creating the sound for the Back to the Future ride at Universal Studios in Hollywood. He continued to focus on cinema audio when he worked for JBL at which time he worked on sculpted surround sound technology.

Nat Kusano has always been compelled to create and market ideas and products that inspire and encourage people to pick up an instrument and play.

Steve Johnson played saxophone in high school and in college while earning his electrical engineering degree. He was able to apply both passions when he joined the pro audio industry working for companies such as Shure and Harman, and also while serving as CEO of Community Professional Loudspeakers.

Mil Averwater was the founder of Amro Music in Memphis, Tennessee. His grandson, Chip, had the forethought to record his grandfather on audio tape talking about the early days of the store. Chip has donated this interview for the NAMM website to allow us to bridge each generation of Averwater’s who have operated the store.

Marshall Hawkins founded the Idyllwild Arts Jazz Program with the intention of giving young musicians the same kind of individual mentoring that he received while growing up in Washington, D.C., and later from jazz immortals like Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock when he played the standup bass with them.

Bruce Howze is the founder of Community Professional Loudspeakers, which he established in 1968 after being asked to provide sound for such venues as the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. Bruce designed the first midrange sound system and later toured with rock and roll bands to test out his loudspeakers.

Joey Welz was a member of Bill Haley’s Comets as well as Link Wray’s Wray Men. He played piano in the early days of Rockabilly for Bat Records with his own group as well as with The Jay Rockers. While in the Army in Germany in the early 1960s, Joey became a recording engineer for the Armed Forces Radio (AFN) which lead him to meeting the Silver Beatles.