Supplier Scene

Located in the rural Illinois town of Carlinville, Blackburn College serves six hundred undergraduates. Its unique work program keeps costs low and campus community involvement high by employing students in a range of non-traditional student jobs under the direction of professionals, for nine of the campus's sixteen buildings. A recent $3 million upgrade to the 430-seat Bothwell Auditorium continued that tradition, with the student construction crew providing much of the labor. Amid a range of new infrastructure is a new sound reinforcement system centered on Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers.

"The old system was original to the building, which was constructed in the 1970s," explained Ryan Winstead, sales design consultant with Advanced Audio and Lighting Systems (AALS) of Peoria, Illinois. "Their tech staff had a hard time making things sound good, and they had an especially hard time keeping stage mics from feeding back during theater productions. Part of our upgrade included a new Yamaha QL5-65 console, which scales functionality to the expertise of the operator. Accommodating different proficiencies was an important part of the upgrade."

Read more: Blackburn College Revamps Auditorium with Danley


NAMM has honored John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd. in Leeds with the Milestone Award for 50 years of service in the music products industry. The award recognizes retailers and manufacturers who have succeeded over the years through best practices and strong community standing to reach a landmark anniversary.

“2015 sees a very different commercial landscape to when John Skewes and his wife Madge started the business from a standing start 1965, but the basics remain constant,” says managing director Dennis Drumm ”Provide great customer service, offer saleable, well designed, profitable products, be prudent, follow through on promises, and be reliable, honest and trustworthy”.

Read more: JHS Honored with Milestone Award


NAMM members will take the nation’s capital by storm, May 18-21, 2015, making the case that all children deserve comprehensive school music education programs. Leaders of the music product industry, artists and other industry influencers will meet with their Senators and Members of Congress to forward legislation that advances access to music education for all children. Current NAMM members may register for the annual D.C. Fly-In, now through April 17.

Read more: Join NAMM’s Music Education Advocacy Efforts on Capitol Hill


Musikmesse in Frankfurt will be the venue for a unique spectacle on April 18, 2015: the organisers plan to bring together 1,000 drummers and break the record for the world’s biggest drum ensemble. The aim is for all participants to maintain the same rhythm for five minutes, as officially laid down by the Committee of Guinness World Records Ltd. If successful, everyone who comes to Frankfurt with his or her drum kit on the Saturday of the fair will be able to leave in the evening as a world-record holder.

Read more: World-record Attempt at Musikmesse 2015: 1,000 Drummers Wanted

Trade Regrets

Richard O’Donnell passed away on January 15, 2015.

O’Donnell was vice president of Yamaha Corporation of America at a very historic time in the company’s growth and development during the 1970s. He worked on several projects including managing the operations for the Everett Piano Plant in Michigan, which Yamaha purchased to expand its piano manufacturing. O’Donnell later oversaw the Georgia manufacturing plants for Yamaha and witnessed first-hand the growth of the company within the American market.

Read more: Trade Regrets: Richard O’Donnell

Trade Regrets

On February 12th, NAMM’s Dan Del Fiorentino sent the following regarding the passing of Fritz Kollitz, founder of Fritz Kollitz Fine Tone Woods:

Without a doubt, one of my favorite components of an interview is gathering in-depth details of a given topic from a passionate expert of the various segments of our industry. Never was there such a profound example of this than when I interviewed Fritz Kollitz!  What clearly came through within his interview was his passion.  He made the subject of tonewood compelling and interesting because of his knowledge and because he clearly cared about providing the best products possible for his customers. Just listening to him explain the process of drying wood for musical instruments becomes of interest because of his dedication to the topic. And he was a very kind person who supported his son, Oliver, when he turned the company over to retire.  He remained in a supportive role until his passing on February 11.

Read more: Trade Regrets: Fritz Kollitz

Trade Regrets

We recently received the following message from NAMM’s Dan Del Fiorentino:

At the time of DW Caffey's NAMM Oral History interview in 2012, he had been tuning pianos for just over 72 years!  This fact is made all the more amazing considering DW was blind.  

Read more: Trade Regrets: DW Caffey

Trade Regrets

Bill Tregoe passed away on February 25th. Throughout his 35-year career as a sales rep for CG Conn and later King Musical Instruments, Tregoe drove an estimated 1,300,000-plus miles.

Read more: Trade Regrets: Bill Tregoe

Trade Regrets

Bob See founded See Factor, a pioneering and innovative pro-lighting and pro-sound service. See’s career began when Bill Graham opened up the Fillmore East in the late 1960s. Bob cut his teeth in the lighting field as it was new to everyone. Many of the methods for lighting he created in those early days have become standards within the industry. Over the years See and his team worked with top musicians and performers around the world and expanded their services to include pro-sound in the early 1980s.

Read more: Trade Regrets: Bob See

Supplier Scene

The Music Producers Guild hosted their 7th Annual Awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in London. With a host of industry stalwarts, grammy-award winning producers, and engineers in attendance, the show also featured live performances from top producer and former Eurythmics star Dave Stewart who picked up the MPG’s 'Outstanding Contribution to UK Music Award'.

Austrian microphone manufacturers LEWITT Audio in conjunction with UK and Eire distributors John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd., were proud to sponsor the ‘International Producer of the Year Award’ to a shortlist that included Dan Auerbach, Pharrell Williams, and T-Bone Burnet. The award was presented to Dave Arnold on behalf of Dan Auerbach, who was unfortunately unable to attend, by compere Tom Robinson and JHS executive director of sales and marketing Alan Smith.

Read more: JHS & LEWITT sponsor ‘International Producer Of The Year Award’

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