Bernie Vance


Oral History Information

Interview Date
Birth Date
Deceased Date
Job Title
Company Name
Vance Music

Bernie Vance played the saxophone in a number of big bands during the swing era. He was drafted and served during World War II, only to come home and find that musical tastes had changed. The big band era was over so Bernie turned to what he knew best, his horn. If he couldn’t play it for a living, he would teach and sell. In 1946, the Vance Music Store opened in Bloomington, IN. However, the first year was a difficult one for the store (like so many others in his same situation). Bernie needed to learn about overhead and taxes, which he learned fast. The following year, Bernie was asked by Bill Gard to assist in the creation of a booklet that would be sent to NAMM members who were having the same difficulties he once faced. The eight page brochure was entitled “Training GI’s for Music Stores” and became one of the association’s noted publications.