Posts

Willis Music Chosen for NAMM Top 100 Award

Fender Brad Paisley Signature Telecaster

Brad Paisley Guitar

Coming very soon from Willis/Moeller Music is the Fender Brad Paisley Signature Tele.  Introduced at the Summer NAMM show this guitar should be arriving any day.  We had advanced notice of this launch and are one of the first in line.  Brad is one of the last of the guitar heroes.  He lives and breathes guitars and has one of the best tones on the planet.   I got to play it at the Fender Key Dealer Meeting in Scottsdale and I want one myself.  Plays great, looks great, sounds great, win, win ,win.  Did I mention it’s also affordable?  Unlike most signature guitars, Brad wanted this one to be accessible to his fans, not one locked away in a glass case.  Stop in your nearest Willis or Moeller store and check one out! 

  • Road Worn silver sparkle lacquer finish
  • Spruce top and back, paulownia center
  • Custom Brad Paisley neck shape – thick “V”
  • Paisley cowboy hat on headstock

 

Florence July 2017 Events

Blow it out your amp sale through July 17

Independence Day – Store Closing at 4pm

Worship Musician Night – July 11

NAMM Specials – July 13-15

Open Mic Night – July 19

Create Your Own Discount – July 20-23

Bluegrass Jam – July 21

Taylor New Product Showcase – March 9

Mark your calendar for March 9 at 7pm to be the first to see the the New Products from Taylor Guitars!

Are you a Taylor Guitar fan like us? You will not want to miss this event. We will have all the new Taylor Guitars from the 2017 NAMM show at Willis Music Florence for you to touch and play and take home for your own! Taylor just released a series that you have to play to believe it! We will also have a factory rep on hands to answer all your questions and let you know why Taylor does what they do!

Need more info? Call 859-525-6050 or email deniseb@willismusic.com

Details:

When – March 9, 2017

Time – 7pm

Where – 7567 Mall Rd, Florence, KY, 41042

Cost – FREE

Lexington July Event Calendar

Willis Music was recently named by NAMM as a Top 100 Dealer for 2016! We are honored to be recognized in this way, and so this month we want to celebrate with you our customers!

During July at our Lexington location we have 5 straight weekends of events:

  • July 1-4: Our 4th of July Sale event this year will feature products made right here in the USA! Get 10% OFF the current price of all American made products! This includes Fender guitars, some of which we recently marked down for the summer. That’s an additional savings we are excited to give to you.
  • July 7-10: It’s a summer blowout (the good kind!) on guitars, amplifiers, and pro audio equipment. Don’t miss out on first dibs for the best deals of the summer!
  • July 15: The Yamaha Experience is the event of the year at Willis Music! You will want to be present whether you are a Music Educator or Music Enthusiast.  Click here to learn more!
  • July 21-24: We move our clearance items to the front of the store, so it’s less work for the gear to go home with you! We need to make room for new product, and we want to help you find the perfect purchase!
  • July 28-31: Our annual MAKE YOUR OWN DEAL event is the final opportunity of the summer to find a HUGE DEAL on new or used gear! Everything in the store is on sale. The more items you buy, the better the deals!

July 2016 Calendar

January Calendar of Events

jan 16 eg-page-0

Ryman Auditorium – Feel the Power

Earlier this month, I traveled to Nashville for the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Summer Conference. While there, I had the awesome opportunity to visit the Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman Auditorium is the original Grand Ole Opry. What an experience of great music and history.

History

The Ryman Auditorium is located right in the middle of Nashville, where you can get great barbeque and great music in every 20 steps or so. If you have never been to the Ryman, it is an experience. You might never guess that this building is an amazing concert hall, because it is a repurposed church built in 1892 as The Union Gospel Tabernacle. It seats 6000 after the Confederate Gallery balcony was completed in 1897 for the Confederate Veterans Association. Every seat in the Ryman is still an original pew installed by The Indiana Church Finishing Company. So if you are going to a concert, you may want to take something soft to sit on or purchase a Ryman seat cushion on your way in.

The Ryman has had many speakers, such as Teddy Rossevelt, Helen Keller, and Charlie Chapman. Harry Houdini and Will Rogers have also performed at the Ryman. The Grand Ole Opry officially moved to the Ryman in 1943.

My Experience

The concert I attended was Hot Rize and the Gibson Brothers. I have to say after walking in I was like a child in a daze on Christmas morning, because I knew I was going to see and feel something special. It was almost like sensory overload. The Gibson Brothers performed first and when the sound came on it was like, WOW. The sound was so smooth and clear. I could here every note of every instrument as clear as sitting in my living room. I know The Gibson Brothers are a great traditional Bluegrass band but there is something magical about the sound in the Ryman. It’s almost like it has a soul of its own.

During intermission I got up and walked around and found my way up to the stage and looked around at the sound equipment (Kind of geeky that way) and when I turned around and looked back at the pews I couldn’t imagine what the artist emotions were like because of how I felt as an audience member.

The other great thing about the Ryman is everyone in the audience is happy and just as overwhelmed as you are. I met an awesome man from Canada that wore an American Flag bandanna on his belt loop. This was his second time to the Ryman this year. He had to come back and bring his son because of the first experience he had with his wife. If that doesn’t explain the magic, what does?

Hot Rize was the second band that played. They also had a great sound and are great musicians. They are not a traditional Bluegrass Band, but nonetheless unbelievable and a joy to listen to and watch.

What I noticed from both bands was they were so honored to play in the same place their role models had played. They were just as taken in by the nostalgia as I was, which drew me in to be part of the show rather than just an audience member watching a show. I think the music could have been less than amazing and I still would have had an unbelievable time.

If you have a chance to go to Nashville, make The Ryman Auditorium a must stop. Take in a little music history and feel the power. Words of telling someone can not explain the feeling.

Keep Playing,
Bill

Magical Moments

I’ve met some interesting and famous people in my life and this one for me was truly magical. Henry Z. Steinway represented to me one of the most honored and outstanding brands the world has ever known. He carried the family name of a product that is universally recognized as the finest, period.

The year was 2007 and while attending the NAMM convention in Anaheim, I had the opportunity to travel to Carlsbad, CA to attend the dedication of the Steinway Gallery at the NAMM Museum of Making Music. (If you are ever in the area, Carlsbad is just north of San Diego and it’s a wonderful museum.) At that meeting I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Henry Z. Steinway. We had a chance to discuss his early days in the business and what being a ‘Steinway’ meant to him. Henry was born in New York in 1915 and while he was the great-grandson of the founder Henry Engelhard Steinway he didn’t necessarily have an interest or desire to enter the family business. He graduated from Harvard College and thought ‘maybe I’ll give this piano thing a try’. As he spoke about this time in his life I was reminded of my growing up in the family business (Willis) yet not really sure what I wanted to do with my life. He started on the shop floor doing whatever needed to be done and ended up working in various departments. As he worked, his passion developed all the way to the recognition he received in 2007. In November of 2007, he received the National Medal of Arts presented by President George W. Bush. Henry credited his time with the Steinway skilled craftsman in his early years as more valuable than any amount of study he would have done.

I think one of the more interesting periods in his life was during WWII. As the war broke out, Henry became a factory manager. In 1942, his career was paused as he was drafted and assigned to work on Governor’s Island at the Army’s Counter-Intelligence Corps headquarters. That’s when he met his wife Polly. After the war, he returned to Steinway and Sons and became president in 1955.

As I sat and listened to Henry, I felt like I was experiencing a slice of American/World history first hand. I sensed a wisdom that comes from years of experiences, both good and bad. He was gracious and although there were many people at the opening, when he spoke with me he was totally tuned into our conversation, which I greatly admired. Henry Z. Steinway is missed but his spirit and passion live with me.

One interesting side note is that we were in the museum that Henry was a founding member of and served as its first president. See and hear Henry in a clip from his historical interview at the museum. Notice his extreme humility. Click here to see information about Henry Steinway on the NAMM page.

I do remember telling him as we finished that Willis would one day represent Steinway with great honor. Happily, we were able to reach that goal three years ago. Steinway and Sons is a valued partner and we look forward to representing them in this region for many years to come.

Kevin Cranley

An Insider’s Account of This Year’s NAMM Show

winter namm 2015I just attended my 35th January NAMM show. Yes, my first one was at 21 years old. For those of you who are unaware of NAMM, it’s the trade association of the $17 billion dollar music products industry. NAMM began in 1901 making it 2 years younger than Willis Music.

Our yearly pilgrimage to NAMM is always a welcome retreat from our cold winters. We go to sunny Anaheim and this year the weather was fantastic. I travel with 3 buyers from Willis (Paul, Bill and Mike) and my wife Debbi. Our buyers spend most of their time visiting vendors like Yamaha, Fender, Steinway, Hal Leonard and hundreds more; placing orders and learning about new products. My time at NAMM is involved with meetings with some of our larger vendors along with meetings with each of our foreign sub-publishers. As many of you know Willis owns a catalog of educational piano music with names like John Thompson, Edna Mae Burnam and William Gillock. Those publications and more are in great demand in other countries so I use the NAMM show to meet with our partners representing the countries of Japan, China, England, Australia, South Africa and other parts of Europe. In some cases working with translators which I always find interesting. Our John Thompson Piano Course is now printed in 17 languages.

That’s a bit about our main jobs at the show but there is much more. For me, the show is a reunion of some of my best friends. I was fortunate to be asked to serve on the executive committee of NAMM for 8 years which ended in 2013. My final 2 years I was the Chairman of NAMM and traveled around the world meeting so many great people. I love reconnecting with all of them each year at the NAMM show. In a later edition I’ll write about some of our most memorable experiences during that time. For me, this year’s highlight was the annual Yamaha concert. They hold a concert every other year or so in DisneyLand at the Hyperion Theater. The artists are unbelievable. This year’s highlight for Debbi and me was Jamie Cullum. If you don’t know Jamie, do yourself a favor and check him out. Also performing were The Piano Guys, James Blunt, Jonathan Butler, Bob James, Colbie Caillat, Nathan East and others. The MC was Sinbad and he was a riot. The show was 3 1/2 hours long and was amazing. Jonathan Butler was the surprise for us; such an amazing voice. And Colbie Caillat has such a clear distinctive voice, she was really good too.

One last thing, check out this video of The Piano Guys at a retirement home. Watch the change in the residents as the Piano Guys perform, it’s amazing. The benefits of music in action.

Paul (one of the Willis buyers) attended a concert put on by Vandoren called VandoJam. Several Grammy winning Jazz artists really killed it. It featured Paquito D’Rivera, Eric Marienthal, and Jerry Vivino, with special guests Felix Peikli and Farnell Newton. That is one of the most exciting things about the show. Artists are everywhere and each company tries to provide the best performances you will ever hear. You can be walking the halls and see Jason Mraz, John Mayer or even Stevie Wonder. I was fortunate enough to meet Stevie last year. I remember one year when Stevie Wonder just started playing in the Yamaha booth; not planned… just spontaneous artistry at it’s best.

Make today a musical day.

Kevin Cranley

Would You Like to Help Advocate for School Music?

KC Goes to DC for Advocacy

Capitol dome in spring

From http://www.house.gov/content/features/2014dome/ Image from the Architect of the Capitol

Want your voice heard about music advocacy? Have a solution or idea on supporting music in the schools? Not sure that your voice is being heard? Let Kevin “carry your tune” to Washington!

“NAMM’s annual Advocacy Fly-In gives NAMM Members the opportunity to advocate to their Members of Congress for policy and funding to support music and arts education. This advocacy effort includes one day of preparation at the Kennedy Center and another day of personal meetings with representatives and other influencers. Sessions are preceded by an issues briefing and training, after which NAMM Members hit the halls of the U.S. Capitol and Congressional office buildings to lobby their representatives about the importance of music education and needed changes to assure access for music learning. During the trip NAMM Members are also trained on developing state-level advocacy efforts for music and arts education that they can take back to their communities in time for school budget season.”

Kevin Cranley, Willis Music Company President, will be traveling to Washington D.C. with NAMM members on May 18, 2014 to fight for the right of Music Education.

Follow Kevin and Tweet your questions/comments/concerns about Music Advocacy through…

Twitter: @cranleyk #musiced #willismusic

Follow Willis Music on Twitter: @WillisMusicCo #willismusic

Follow Willis Music on Facebook: www.facebook.com/WillisMusicCompany

Use the share buttons below to share this post and spread the word!

Kevin Cranley Meets Senator at NAMM Fly-In

Willis Music President meets with Senator Mitch McConnell as part of NAMM Fly-In

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – On March 26-28, Willis Music President and Owner, Kevin Cranley, took part in the NAMM Fly-In 2013 in Washington, D.C., and met with Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. NAMM, or the National Association of Music Merchants, organizes the annual Advocacy Fly-In on behalf of school music education programs in public schools, to promote the benefits that playing music can have for children and teens, and to assure that federal education policy and funding advance access to music learning for all children. Approximately 30 members of NAMM met with various members of the U.S. Congress and Senate.

Cranley, who was elected among 9,000 members and is currently serving a 2-year-term as NAMM Chairman, was joined by artists Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bernie Williams, former NY Yankee and Latin Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist – both of whom are strong advocates of music education.

This is the first time that Cranley was able to meet with Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.

“This was the first time I met Senator McConnell and I was most impressed with his insight into our concerns and his willingness to support music and the arts as we move forward,” said Cranley. “I expressed the need for Congress to work together to reauthorize the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) formally called ‘No Child Left Behind’. It has been 6 years since it has been scheduled for re-authorized.

Cranley left the meeting feeling very hopeful and positive about his discussion with the senator.

“I have been going to Washington each year for several years now and this was the first time I walked away with hope that re-authorization can happen. I do not know what is causing this renewed energy, but our entire group felt an improved atmosphere concerning compromise and progress. Hopefully we will now see results,” he said.

In addition, Cranley feels that the re-authorization also needs to add clarity concerning how funds can be used.

“Federal funds as spelled out in Titles 1 and 2 can be used at the discretion of local districts as they determine how to best educate their students,” he explained. “However, there is a misconception that these funds cannot be used for music and the arts. That is simply not true and needs to be clarified in the re-authorization.”

According to a Harris Poll, school principals report higher graduation rates in schools with robust music and art programs than do those without programs (90.2% as compared to 72.9%). In addition, those that rate their programs as “excellent” or “very good” have an even higher graduation rate (90.9%). Schools that have music programs have significantly higher attendance rates than do those without programs (93.3% as compared to 84.9%).

NAMM’s annual Advocacy Fly-In gives NAMM Members the opportunity to advocate to their Members of Congress for policy and funding to support music and arts education. This advocacy effort includes one day of preparation at the Kennedy Center and another day of personal meetings with representatives and other influencers. Sessions are preceded by an issues briefing and training, after which NAMM Members hit the halls of the U.S. Capitol and Congressional office buildings to lobby their representatives about the importance of music education and needed changes to assure access for music learning. During the trip NAMM Members are also trained on developing state-level advocacy efforts for music and arts education that they can take back to their communities in time for school budget season.

About NAMM
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. NAMM’s activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,000 Member companies located in more than 87 countries. For more information about NAMM or the proven benefits of making music, interested parties can visit www.namm.org, call 800.767.NAMM (6266).

About Willis Music
The Willis Music Company was founded in 1899. We are the one-stop shop for all things musical. Willis Music is the premier publisher of teaching methods, including John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano – the most widely used piano methods in the world. The Willis Music publishing catalog contains more than 5,000 titles. There are currently six locations in Cincinnati and Kentucky. Willis Music is also the regional representative for Steinway & Sons pianos in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton. For more information, visit www.willismusic.com or call 859-283-2050.

This Press Release is from the desk of Christy Schutte, Public Relations Manager – Willis Music Company.

Kevin Cranley, NAMM Chairman & Willis Music President, in Russia for new Trade Show

Inaugural NAMM Musikmesse Russia Show

NAMM [joined] Messe Frankfurt, producers of Musikmesse and Music China, to co-produce two new trade shows in Russia. Both organizations are working to grow new markets and encourage professional development and music education in the region.

The new shows, NAMM Musikmesse Russia and Prolight + Sound NAMM Russia, [took] place in Moscow’s Expo Centre May 16–19, 2012. NAMM Musikmesse Russia [focused] on the musical instrument sector, while the Prolight + Sound NAMM show concurrently [represented] pro audio, lighting and event technology.”

Kevin Cranley talks about his experience…

Kevin: “I had the opportunity to present at the NAMM Musikmesse Russia Show. Working with a translator provides a unique challenge to presenting but the translator was great and the audience was responsive.  This was the first year that the convention was in Moscow and the attendance exceeded our targets.  I look forward to attending and presenting in Moscow again next year.”

Kevin: “Here I am with some of the NAMM team (From left to right: Kevin, Dominique, Joe, Betty and Dan) on the Moskva River.  The City of Moscow was named after the river. Directly across from the river is Gorky Park, which was made famous in the US by the 1983 movie based on the novel of the same name.  As you might be able to tell from this picture, the weather was great and unusually warm for mid May; it was in the mid 80’s.  ”

Kevin: “…In front of the ‘Russian White House’, of course that’s not the real name but it is what the people we spoke to call it.  The english translation of the name of the building is, ‘House of the Government of the Russian Federation.’ It can also be the home of the Russian President, who can choose there or the Kremlin to live.  The building sits on the Krasnopresnenskaya embankment on the Moskva River.  Here I am with Joe, NAMM President and Betty, NAMM Director of International Affairs.”

For more information about this show, click HERE

For more information about NAMM, click HERE

For more information about Willis Music, click HERE

Kevin Cranley: Willis Music President, NAMM Chairman & Music Education Advocate

Kevin Cranley visits Washington D.C.

“NAMM and a group of it’s members venture yearly to Washington to meet directly with our Congressman and their staffs.  It’s vitally important that we keep access to music in our schools for all children.  Research consistently shows that children involved in a music program do better with their studies, are more motivated, work better in teams and develop their imaginations and creativity.  Simply put music participation leads to a more fulfilling and happier life.  This year we were very fortunate to be joined by musicians Bernie Williams (former NY Yankee great) and Scott Grimes (actor from ER, Band of Brothers and Robin Hood)”

-Kevin

Kevin, Former Secretary of Education Richard Riley, Executive Director of the National School Board Association Dr. Anne Bryant

 

Joe Lamond, President of NAMM, Former Secretary of Education Richard Riley, and Kevin

Kevin and Hall of Fame NY Yankee Bernie Williams outside Representative Geoff Davis' Office

 

Kevin and Actor/Musician Scott Grimes (ER, Band of Brothers, and Robin Hood)

 

Willis Music President Kevin Cranley in Frankfurt, Germany

The Frankfurt Musikmesse and Pro Light & Sound Expo “… is the world’s most international fair for musical instruments, sheet music, music production and marketing, and has been the foremost meeting place for the musical-instrument industry for over 25 years.”

Willis Music President and NAMM Chairman Kevin Cranley talks about his current travels:

“One of the benefits of being the Chairman of NAMM is the interesting travel.  Musikmesse is the largest music show in Europe.  The weather has been fantastic, mid 60’s and blue sky’s.  We have met with many interesting people and Betty Haywood and I were interviewed by a Polish Internet News crew.  Saturday I leave for New York and the MTNA convention.  We have Willis composers Naoko Ikeda and Eric Baumgartner presenting on Monday and then I leave on a train for Washington DC to lobby for music in the schools.”

-Kevin