Watch this space
We will add things from time to time, and since many of them are important musical events, you may find it worthwhile reading. It will be periodically updated.
It may be long, rambling and disjunct, but after 50 years in business we have seen and made some history in music. Some will be delighted to find nuggets here. I have put this section off, not wanting to be rambling, but dozens of people keep asking me to record these stories. (They keep asking me to write a book!) Some of the stories will be under a button "STORIES" that I will start soon. One story is so historically important it has it's own button about how Ron McNair had approached me to help him put the first instrument (there had been a small harmonica before) in space!! That was in 1984. See the "SAX IN SPACE" button.
When I asked Ron why he chose me to work with him, he said to me: "You knew more than anyone else."
KURT HEISIG MUSIC: est. 1968
Established April 1968 AT 383 Delmas Avenue San Jose, Ca. (13 years)
Moved to a temporary Saratoga Avenue office in West San Jose the first 4 months of 1981
1981 TO 2010 14428c & b Big Basin Way on the back of the _____, then Barclays, then Wells Fargo Bank. We had three different banks as landlords!! (29 years)
Simultaneously we were at 1045 Water St. Santa Cruz from Oct 1983 Until 2010, (27 years)
Monterey 2010 -2011 at 856 Lighthouse Ave, above Cannery Row.
Pacific Grove 2011 to May 2012 at 301 Grand Av.
Now at 512 Polk St, Monterey, Ca 3940 Since May 2012.
In April of 1968 I was a student at San Jose State College. I was determined to be "the best high school band director in the United Sates!" In order to do that, and since I wanted to teach out in the country away from cities, I determined that I had better learn as much about the industry as possible so that my studentswould have the best instruments, mouthpieces, reeds, etc. I would learn the industry and train the local music store what to carry.
I had learned this concept from a fellow bandmate in high school, Bob Hanlon, whom I am grateful to to this day! Bob had also talked me into taking lessons from Al Anthony, who had been lead Alto with the Stan Kenton Band.
I had heard about the great University of Michigan Band Director William Revelli and how he studied "all the instruments" with members of the Chicago Symphony (What about Sax?) and would stop the band, walk into the band and play a students instrument -- ANY PART!! - and say "Now, that's how I want you to play it!" Because of this, and Hanlon's influence, I was a double major on sax and clarinet and working up pieces on alto, baritone and soprano saxes. (SELMER MK VI'S OF COURSE!!!!) I worked on tenor later when I bought one of those too. I wrked on Bb, A, C, Eb, Alto and Bass Clarinet. I alternated semesters on flute and oboe and studied trumpet at home with my roommate some. (SEE MORE BELOW)
AT SJSU I was an enthusiastic member and officer in MENC and we would invite new teachers to return and tell us of their experiences.
We heard all of these horror stories of how they were not allowed to discipline problem students and could not have controlled rehearsals because they were not allowed to value the other kids right to an education by throwing the problem kid out. HE HAD A "RIGHT" TO AN EDUCATION!
(So the good kids didn't ????)
I decided to continue with the store, in order to help as many students and teachers as possible, and teach college. I WOULD PROVIDE THE GOOD INSTRUMENTS TO ALL THE TEACHER'S STUDENTS!! I taught at BETHANY BIBLE COLLEGE and UC SANTA CRUZ. Many of my students have also recieved credit at several other colleges too and a SUNY college and a California college asked me to be Department Chair.
THE STORE WAS NOW ESTABLISHED AND WOULD BE MY PRIMARY VEHICLE FOR DOING WHAT I COULD DO TO HELP OTHERS. EVERYBODIES STUDENTS AND ALL THE PROS I COULD REACH (SEE BUTTON "SOME OF OUR CUSTOMERS").
FINALLY, I GAVE UP AT (NOW) SJSU AFTER 10 YEARS AND TOOK A DEGREE (LOTS OF EXTRA UNITS!!). I JUST DIDN'T GET ALL I WANTED IN AN EDUCATION. I WAS PLAYING THE SAXES, CLARINETS, FLUTE, OBOE AND TRUMPET PROFESSIONALLY, BUT WANTED MORE. THEY DIDN'T HAVE IT, SO I TOOK THE "WALLPAPER" AND MOVED ON. (TO CARL LEACH, CLAUDE GORDON, OBSERVATION OF JOE ALLARD, A MASTER CLASS WITH HARVEY PITTEL, ALVIN CROMWELL AND A LOT OF TIME WITH STEVE ADELSTEIN. OTHERS TOO, SUCH AS DENNIS McHATTON AND RALPH MORGAN RETIRED CHIEF WOODWIND DESIGNER WITH SELMER USA. 26 YEARS MENTORED BY RALPH.)
WHILE AT STATE I HAD HAD MY STORE OPEN FOR 7 YEARS. AT A PRIVATE MEETING WITH THE CHAIR I HELPED CLEMENT HUTCHINSON BECOME BAND DIRECTOR (HE NEVER KNEW THAT GIB WALTERS AND I - A STUDENT - HAD PICKED HIM IN A PRIVATE MEETING.)
EVERY FEW WEEKS I WAS SELLING A BENGE OR SCHILKE TRUMPET TO ONE OF CLEM'S PLAYERS, TOM CROWN MUTES, R13 CLARINETS, ETC. CLEM THANKED ME PROFUSELY FOR HELPING HIM WITH HIS BAND, WHICH I WAS FIRST ALTO SAX IN.
IN 1968 WHEN I STARTED THE STORE I BOUGHT $20 WHOLESALE WORTH OF VANDOREN REEDS AND A $30 BUSINESS LICENSE! A SMALL STEP. I WAS 20 YEARS OLD.
I SOLD 2 OR 3 OF A FAMOUS NAME OF TRUMPET, BUT MY TRUMPET FRIENDS TOLD ME THERE WERE BETTER INSTRUMENTS. I CALLED THE BENGE COMPANY AND THEY TOLD ME THEY ALREADY HAD AN AGENT IN THE SAN FRANCISCO AREA - LEO DeMERS WHO HAD BEEN IN THE SHIPSTAD AND JOHNSON ICE FOLLIES SECTION. (TO BE AN AGENT FOR BENGE YOU HAD TO BE A FAMOUS TRUMPET PLAYER, A CERTIFIED OLD GUY, AND HAVE BEEN A FRIEND OF THE LATE DONALD BENGE WHO HAD BEEN FIRST TRUMPET IN THE CHICAGO SYMPHONY. I WAS 20 AND NOT KNOWN AS A GREAT TRUMPET PLAYER.) I TOLD THE BENGE COMPANY THAT MR DeMERS WAS IN OAKLAND AND SAN FRANCISCO AND SAN JOSE WAS A LONG WAY AWAY.
THEY CALLED MR DeMERS AND ASKED HIM IF THAT WAS OKAY? "YEAH. LET THE KID HAVE IT."
IN THOSE DAYS TO BE A LEGAL ADULT AND SIGN CONTRACTS GUYS HAD TO BE 21 (NIXON CHANGED THAT A FEW YEARS LATER.) WOMEN WERE ADULTS AT 18, MEN AT 21. THIS WAS BEFORE EQUALITY.
BOY DID I SELL BENGES! I ALSO CONTACTED THE SCHILKE COMPANY IN CHICAGO. BENGE AND SCHILKE HAD BEEN BEST FRIENDS IN CHICAGO AND BOTH, AT DIFFERENT TIMES, HAD PLAYED FIRST TRUMPET IN THE CHICAGO SYMPHONY. PRETTY SOON I WAS SELLING BENGE AND SCHILKE TRUMPETS. I HAVE LETTERS IN MY STORE ON DISPLAY FROM THE BENGE COMPANY FROM 1970 WHEN I SAS ONLY 21 GIVING ME A SECOND TERRITORY - THE MONTEREY BAY AREA. FROM MY OLD SAN JOSE STORE I SOLD BENGE, SCHILKE AND LATER CALICCHIO TRUMPETS TO MOST OF THE TRUMPET SECTION AT SJSU, AND TO LOTS OF PROS DOWN AS FAR AS MONTEREY.
I WOULD IMPOSE ON MY ROOMMATE'S TRUMPET TEACHER AT SAN JOSE STATE, CHRIS BOGIOS, FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY, TO TEST EACH TRUMPET I GOT IN. I WOULD TEST THEM AND THEN BRING A 4 TRUMPET CASE OF BENGE TRUMPETS AND A 4 TRUMPET CASE OF SCHILKE TRUMPETS TO CHRIS TO TRY. WHEN HIS AND MY OPINIONS FINALLY WERE CONSISTANT I STOPPED BOTHERING HIM. I DON'T THINK HE MINDED TRYING DOZENS OF WORLD CLASS TRUMPETS!!!!!
(THIS TESTING TURNED OUT TO BE VERY IMPORTANT FOR ALL THE DECADES OF OUR STORE AND IS TODAY THE KEY TO WHY HEISIG INSTRUMENTS ARE SO GOOD - MORE LATER.)
I DROVE DOWN TO LA TO TOUR THE BENGE FACTORY AT 1122 W BURBANK BOULEVARD (IN OLD CHICKEN SHEDS!!) LATER MY ROOMMATE, DIETER SCHLAEPFER, AND I DROVE DOWN TO MEET MR CALICCHIO AND ORDER TRUMPETS. (Go to youtube and watch "The last trumpet maker". It is a cocumentary of Dominick in two parts!!!) I WILL START A BUTTON "STORIES" AND BOY WAS DOMINICK CALICCHIO A WONDERFUL CHARACTER!!!! WE WERE COLLEGE KIDS AND HE WAS SO NICE TO US.
HE TREATED US LIKE WE WERE SOME BIG ESTABLISHED OLD STORE. BUT THEN AGAIN,
I WAS SELLING DOZENS AND DOZENS OF PRO HORNS. TOP PROS WERE BUYING FROM US.
WE WERE A MAJOR WEST COAST DEALER.
THEN WE MET CLAUDE GORDON. ---to be continued.
Kurt Heisig Music
512 Polk St
Monterey, California 93940
Phone: (831) 920-1883