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The West Music Blog
The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and worldwide customers.

The West Music Blog

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Extraordinary Associate of the Month July 2016: Ryan Seaba
By West Music Company
8/26/2016 8:00:00 AM  
We are happy to announce Ryan Seaba as our West Music July 2016 Associate of the Month! Ryan’s hard work this past summer has not gone unnoticed.

As a Customer Service Representative in our General Music department, Ryan works with our customers on a daily basis. His recent follow-through on an order caught the attention of the customer. Ryan was processing web orders and noticed back-toback duplicate orders by the same customer. He reached out to the customer to verify and followed up with tracking information. He received the following response: “Thank you for contacting me Ryan. No, it was unintentional and I appreciate that you cancelled the second order. I will remember this kindness. The gathering drum arrived today and we love it! We’re using it in our dance studio and I’m confident that it will bring a lot of smile. Thank you for your excellent customer service!”
Dionne, Happy Customer

Ryan has also recently begun recording our monthly Messages on Hold, for both the General Music division and our retail locations. He has worked back and forth between IT and the Marketing department to understand his new responsibilities. “Since Ryan assumed the role of “Voice of West Music” last month, and now handles recording our Message on Hold, he has executed his role over and above, by not only recording beautiful voiceovers from the scripts, but adding his own originally composed music covering many different genres. Thanks Ryan for your terrific and unique contribution to your role as Voice of West Music!”
As told by Lisa Lafler,
Director of Marketing

Congratulations, Ryan! Keep up the fantastic work andthank you for all you do.

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Tags: extraordinary associate of the month, ryan seaba, customer service
Categories: Company Culture, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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Cedar Rapids Gazette Celebrates 75 Years of West Music!
By West Music Company
8/16/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Check out our recent piece published this past weekend in the Cedar Rapids Gazette - a celebration of all things West Music and our rich 75 year history. We thank you, our loyal customers, for 75 great years and look forward to 75 more!

Celebrating West Music - making music for 75 years!

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Tags: 75, gazette, west music, celebrate, anniversary, about us, article
Categories: Company Culture
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Extraordinary Associate of the Month April 2016: Cathi Dorr
By West Music Company
5/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Kathy Duncan calls her Taz, like the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes! In Rod Pierson’s words, this must be in reference to “her Tasmanian she-devil work ethic and how she efficiently flies about the store in a cyclone of customer service activity.” She talks fast, walks fast, and is here to work! But when necessary, she can stop on a dime and make time for product training or helping out a customer in the store. Of course I’m talking about Cathi Dorr! Her year so far has been AMAZING!

Sales aside, it is really hard to say what she does better...Selling? Or baking? She randomly brings in baked goods for the team ‘just because she felt like baking.’ Everything she brings is remarkable. She will say it is because she is Italian, but the truth is, she has serious talent.

She serves with integrity to all of her customers and has built a community of educators that trust her, some of which have been working with her for decades! I can’t tell you how many people I meet who are graduating high school and beyond who cite Cathi as their inspiration to start playing music, to become a music educator, or as the person who helped them find the professional instrument that they play on today.

Cathi is an indispensable part of our musical community! Thank you Cathi for all you do!

As told by Leif Rehnberg,
West Music Quad Cities
Store Manager

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Tags: cathi dorr, education, sales
Categories: Company Culture, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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West Music Honors Vendors at 2016 Annual Celebration
By West Music Company
3/16/2016 3:30:00 PM  
Coralville, IA - March 16, 2016 –  West Music is proud to announce the recipients of their 2016 Vendor Recognition Awards: Vendor of the Year - The Music People, Vendor Representative of the Year - Danny Smolenski from Alfred Music, and Business Partner of the Year - Music Education Consultants.  These awards were presented at the West Music Annual Celebration in February 2016.

“The Annual Celebration is the one time of the year where we are able to gather all of the West Music associates from every department and division. It is a truly meaningful time where we celebrate our accomplishments from the last year and look forward to the next as well as have a little fun. This Annual Celebration was especially meaningful, as we kicked off celebrating our 75th anniversary. We took a moment to look back at how far we’ve come and to celebrate the vendor and associates that have made everything possible.  All of our awards are nominated and determined by West Music associates, truly reflecting the hard work and recognized contributions everyone has made. These award winners have truly gone above and beyond in their commitment and efforts when they work with us and our associates.” said Ryan West, Senior Vice President of West Music.

                                                                                                                                     Vendor of the Year

The Vendor of the Year Award was presented to The Music People by Kyle Ware, West Music Combo Merchandise Manager. This award is given to the vendor or supplier who aligns themselves as a partner and resource for West Music as both companies look to fulfill their missions and values in the workplace. Sharon Hennessey, CEO, accepted the award on behalf of The Music People. Ware works closely with The Music People on a on a number of projects, including merchandising, pricing, and fulfillment on a number of unique products. Ware said of The Music People,

"The Music People continue to find solutions at incredible prices for West Music. They are easy to work with and get us great product at a great price. Communication is fast and efficient, and their distribution side is expanding so much that they are covering more and more products. The Music People are simply, a pleasure to work with.”

                                                                                                                     Vendor Representative of the Year

The Vendor Representative of the Year Award was presented to Mr. Danny Smolenski of Alfred Music, by Marcia Fuller, West Music Print Music and Special Order Merchandise Manager. The Vendor Representative of the Year recognizes the individual who works closely with the West Music team, providing training, tools, and the resources necessary to exceed their customers’ needs. An effective vendor representative is thought of as a member of the West Music team, and has a clear vision when working together as true partners, expanding the existing market by actively promoting products and participation in music. Fuller said of Mr. Smolenski,

"Danny is a great rep who is enthusiastic about his job and you can hear how genuinely excited he is to share Alfred information with us. He regularly contacts us to see if there is anything he can do for us to help promote products or if we have any questions for him. Danny is on top of our orders, assuring that we get them quickly and that our customers get what they need as soon as possible, making us look great in the process. Danny makes sure we receive the best deal possible on Alfred products,; he’ll even send a sample copy of a product to a teacher who is helping to promote any Alfred product.  Whether the music is for an honor choir, a convention, our catalog, or a customer, Danny is always willing to go the extra mile for us, all in an effort for us to best serve our customers. In all, Danny just goes “above and beyond” for us – from calling on a regular basis, to keeping us updated on new products, to helping us get product to our customers, to visiting us in person, he is awesome. Danny is a true asset to Alfred Music and he exemplifies our West Music core values – he plays well with others, he is willing to seek out and try new promotional opportunities while making sure all parties get a “good deal”, he is passionate about his products, he serves with integrity, and it’s obvious from working with him that building and maintaining meaningful relationships is at the heart of what he does.”

                                                                                                                            Business Partner of the Year

Finally, the award of Business Partner of the Year was presented to Music Education Consultants, based in Las Vegas, Nevada and the award was accepted by Marcia and Keith Neel. Well-known for their commitment to program expansion and innovation, Music Education Consultants is recognized as a leader in the music industry for their creative approaches to music curriculum design and implementation. West Music President and CEO, Robin Walenta, spoke highly of Music Education Consultants:

“Marcia Neel served as the Supervisor of the Secondary Music Education Program of the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 1994 through 2007. As her legacy, she will be known for creating one of the most successful standards-based Mariachi Programs in the country. Instituted in 2002 this program has grown from 4 instructors and 250 students to now being staffed with twenty-three (23) full-time, licensed mariachi educators teaching over 3,500 students daily. It was because of her success with this program that she and I met. She was presenting a band recruitment and retention session at NASMD in March 2009 on behalf of the Music Achievement Council. During her presentation she showed a video of a Mariachi performance in Clarke County and I remember being amazed by the audience participation during the concert. The auditorium was packed and not one audience member was sitting, they were standing and singing along with the students as they performed. I said to myself - I need to learn more! It was at the Midwest Convention the following December that Marcia and I had a chance to sit down and dream about the future of school music programs and discover what we could do to remove all barriers for participation.

Keith Neel is the stage manager to the team. Behind the scenes he quietly goes about making sure every event goes off without a hitch. When West Music is at one of their sponsored events, Keith has worked with the event center staff to assure our products and presentations are top notch. When we arrive, Keith has already set up our booths with stunning displays. Keith is also the master chef of the team, famous for his prime rib, he keeps the team well feed with his creative culinary talents.

It has been an incredible journey, as we continue to educate administrators, directors, and community members in towns across the country on the importance of School Music Mariachi. Music Education Consultants work tirelessly to bring more students to music-making through hands-on, high quality experiences provided by a sequential curriculum that focuses on achievement. Their greatest joy is to see young people excelling as a result of becoming engaged in these types of life-changing music education programs.

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Tags: Vendor, award, The Music People, Danny Smolenski, Alfred Music, Music Education Consultants, Sharon Hennessey, Marcia and Keith Neel
Categories: Company Culture
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Meet Our Repair Team - Tim Oldre: West Music Cedar Falls
By West Music Company
3/2/2016 3:19:00 PM  

Tim Oldre is a Band and Orchestra Instrument Repair Specialist at the West Music Cedar Falls location. He's a 2005 graduate from Northwestern College with a Bachelor degree in music. Tim is also a 2006 graduate from Minnesota State Technical College with a degree in instrument repair. Tim repairs band instruments in Cedar Falls with an emphasis on brass instruments. As a trombone and tuba player, Tim has kept active in the community playing his horns. Tim is also active in his church helping with the sound system.

If you have an instrument in need of repair, contact Tim at West Music Cedar Falls by calling 800.248.7004 or 319.277.1000!

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Tags: Tim oldre, repair, cedar falls, trombone, tuba, brass, Minnesota State Technical College,
Categories: West Music Cedar Falls, Company Culture
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Meet Our Repair Team - Tom Bielefeldt: West Music Marion
By West Music Company
2/18/2016 10:00:00 AM  

Tom Bielefeldt is a Fretted and Stringed Instrument Repair Specialist at the West Music Marion location. He performs both repairs and setups at all levels, and specializes in banjos (4-,5-, and 6-string), mandolins, ukuleles, and the entire string orchestral family (violin, viola, cello, and bass). He's certified for warranty on Yamaha, Gibson/Epiphone, Martin, Taylor, Fender/Squier, Jackson, Charvel, Gretsch, Paul Reed Smith, and many, many more. He's also certified for the Buzz Feiten Tuning System retrofitter and set-up station. In addition, he's certified on Yamaha, Steinway, Baldwin, Kawai, and Young Chang piano cabinet repair. Tom has a degree in Commercial Music with a Jazz Guitar Performance emphasis, and repair/luthier school training. He's been doing this work professionally since 1985 and for friends and family since 1978. With the help of his dad, he built his first guitar in 1978.

If you have an instrument in need of repair, contact Tom at West Music Marion by calling 800.373.9101 or 319.377.9100!

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Tags: Tom Bielefeldt, marion, repair, maintenance, guitar, bass, strings, mandolin, ukulele, orchastra
Categories: West Music Marion, Company Culture
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Extraordinary Associate of the Month January 2016: Milo Mettler
By West Music Company
2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Milo is incredibly dedicated and hardworking. He has been repairing band instruments here at Kephart-West Music Decorah since 1977. His attention to detail and skills have earned him well deserved respect in the area. Recently he was referred to as ‘Milo the Magician’ by a local band director for keeping his school instruments in good working order! Milo is efficient and runs a great one man shop. His quiet, soft spoken manner makes customers feel at ease when leaving their instruments in his care.

Congratulations, Milo, and thanks for all you do!

- As told Ann Kephart, Kephart-West Music Decorah Store Manager

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Tags: milo mettler, repair, kephart, decorah,
Categories: Company Culture, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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Extraordinary Associate of the Month December 2015: Stacy Schnathorst
By West Music Company
2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Stacy Schnathorst was designated as Project Manager for the coordination and project oversight of the Navision - MODULA - Vertical Lifts (VLMs) for the Fulfillment Center. Stacy developed a detailed project plan and provided oversight of inventory data and development of test case scenarios for IT integration and resource planning for the VLM project. Stacy collaborated with the Sikich IT team, their engineers and West Music’s IT personnel to ensure integration requirements were well understood by all parties. He coordinated and led all slotting activities along with re-classing of over 3,500 SKUs during one of West Music’s busiest months with ZERO disruption to the customer. After installation, Stacy coordinated testing and training materials along with issue resolution management to ensure a successful implementation.

Stacy did an outstanding job of project oversight through all stages of installation. The VLMs are working beautifully. According to Kevin Futrell of Sikich, our loading success rate was 99%. That means that of every 100 items we attempted to load, 99 fit in the assigned VLM compartment size. This is the highest success rate Sikich has experienced in six years of installing VLMs.

Outstanding job, Stacy!

- As told by Mike Riley, Fulfillment Director of Operations/Vice President

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Tags: Stacy schnathorst, fulfillment, MODULA, vertical Lifts, Sikich
Categories: Company Culture, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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West Music Honored with Retail Excellence Award
By West Music Company
12/17/2015 8:30:00 AM  

West Music, with headquarters in Coralville, IA was recently awarded a Retail Excellence award from Music, Inc. Each year, Music Inc’s Excellence Awards honors 10 retailers and 10 suppliers who go above and beyond in their businesses over the last year. Voted on by their peers, these winners are responsible for advancing the entire music products industry. To view the entire article, please visit musicincmag.com.

With seven retail locations in eastern Iowa and western Illinois and multiple e-commerce websites, West Music prides itself on being a complete music source whose products and services support lifelong music makers.  Such relationship-building with customers, suppliers, and associates is at the core of the company’s philosophy as it heads into its 75th year of doing business. West Music was founded in 1941 and currently employs 210 associates across all business units. 

“We are honored to receive this recognition from Music, Inc and from our peers. Our focus is on our customers’ experience and we want to be there for them from their very first musical experience. Additionally, we want to be there to help them as they become an intermediate and professional level musician. We are proud of our associates for all their hard work that goes into making our business as customer-centric as possible.”  says Robin Walenta, West Music President and CEO.

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Tags: Retail Excellence, Music, Inc, musicincmag.com, e-commerce, customer centric
Categories: Company Culture, Press Releases
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Extraordinary Associate of the Month September 2015: Dennis Boyd
By West Music Company
11/1/2015 8:01:00 AM  
To borrow a frequently used post-season baseball term, Dennis Boyd has once again, “knocked it out of the park”!

As our longest standing Educational Sales Representative,  Dennis recently crafted a comprehensive “Tips for Success” manual to share his experiences and advice with our Road Sales staff. This manual will serve as a foundation for in school sales training for years to come.

Most recently in September 2015, he topped his previous monthly record by generating over $114,000 in sales - thats a lot of cork grease and drum sticks!

It is often said we’re measured by the company we keep and I speak for everyone in the Road Sales Department when I say Dennis,
“Atta boy”!

Congratulations, Dennis, and thanks for all you do!
 
- As told by Rod Pierson, Director of Educational Sales

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Tags: Dennis Boyd, Educational Sales Representative, Tips for Success, Road Sales
Categories: Company Culture, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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