Oral History -
Al Smith discovered the harmonica when he was just three years old and hasn’t been without one since he got his first a few years later. He played with others in his neighborhood while growing up, and soon learned of multiple keys – which led him to acquiring a good number of harmonicas!
George Hergen grew up during the folk boom in New York of the mid 1960s and fell in love with the luthiers of guitars and banjos as well as some of the colorful dealers in his area. He became friends with the legendary builder Jimmy D’Aquisto, and Stanley Jay, whose music store on Staten Island sold some of the most incredible instruments George had ever seen.
Boots Randolph was a legendary saxophonist who redefined what the instrument's role was in both rock and roll and country music.
Dana Messina was always intrigued by all the machinery in factories thanks to his engineering background, but his business skills are what lead to his success at both Selmer and Steinway. Dana was able to help streamline the business while never compromising on the quality of the product at both companies.
Jim Foldvary was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and was exposed to music at young age since his father was a violinist. Jim took up the guitar with some of his friends and remembers playing shows and school dances when he was younger.
Ed Rider grew up playing guitar and writing songs, and later played trombone in the school band. After serving in the United States Army and also playing in the Army Band, Ed found a music wholesale job working for Southland Music. This job later evolved into Ed working as a rep having his own territory.
David Rushworth started in the family business, Rushworth's Music House, in 1966 when he was in his early twenties after leaving University. David quickly moved up through the ranks from junior salesman to manager, selling transistor radios and pianos. Eventually, he became director of the company when his father retired.
Jimmie Vaughan took time from his 2020 tour schedule for his NAMM Oral History interview during which he spoke about his early days as a musician. Jimmie recounted his Uncles playing music while he was growing up as well as some of his influences including bluesman Freddie King who would later become a personal friend.
Rosa Gil del Bosque was the only female founder of Amigos de la Guitarra de Valencia, an organization dedicated to presenting concerts that showcase the classical guitar in and around Valencia, Spain.
Beverly Noga learned all she knows from her mother about the music business. Helen Noga was one of the owners of the Blackhawk Club and the Downbeat Club in San Francisco, California, who later became the woman who discovered Johnny Mathis and brought him to the height of his career. Later, Beverly worked with them in publicity and promotion.