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We're located just off the Beltline Highway, Exit 259 Todd Drive. 2200 West Beltline Highway, Madison, WI 53713 - Just east of American.
Ward-Brodt Music Company (WB) was founded in March of 1927 by Cecil D. Brodt and T. Lane Ward, two salespeople who worked for the Hook Bros. Piano Company of Madison, WI.
Mr. Ward passed on in 1951 at which time Charles M. Faulhaber of Sheboygan, WI purchased the business using accordions and band instruments as a down payment. His wife, Janet, joined the company as print music manager one week after arriving in Madison and is still active in the business. Charles passed on in 1969 at which time Janet became president. Their son, Michael, joined the firm in Sept. 1973 after a stint in The United States Army Band, Washington DC. He became president in 1983 and principal owner in 1992.
The store had three locations on a Madison main shopping street, State Street, until 1954 when it moved to 315 N. Henry St, just off State Street. That location was rather famous with a 14 lane bowling alley above, a popular tavern next door, and a barber shop. By the time WB moved to its current Music Mall location on the heavily traveled South Beltline, it had taken over the bowling alley space in the late 70s. The tavern remains to this day, the original store is now a video rental facility, and the upstairs is occupied by the State of Wisconsin Public Defenders.
The Company purchased the assets and location of the Hook Bros. company in 1928. In 1957, WB expanded into a branch store in the small western Wisconsin City of Dodgeville. That store was closed in 1991. In 1978, the company purchased the assets of Johnson House of Music, one of the very early Yamaha piano dealerships, on Madison's far west side. Those stores merged with the Henry Street location to form the 31,000 sq. foot Ward-Brodt Music Mall in 1983.
From its inception, WB has been focused on music education and the relationship with the music educator associations. WB briefly was a publisher of music with Brodt doing some of the composing and arranging. The constant foundation of the business has been school music education.
WB has had great times and hard times. From reading the old corporate minute book, it is easy to see that the depression and WWII were toughest eras. The early years produced owner's dividends of 10%, then nothing for many years. By the end of WWII, Ward's health began to fail as did the synergy for the business. Faulhaber brought determination and the a kind of school music owner who cultivated one of the country's best school music dealerships with full service of rentals, repairs, accessories and print music. He became one of the founders of the National Association of School Music Dealers (NASMD), an early member of the Scull sharing groups, and served many years on the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) board and as its secretary.
When Michael joined the firm in 1973, new energy and vision of expansion of space and facilities came on board. The guitar department grew to be the largest sales department, additional road personnel were added, and the company re-entered the home keyboard business for the third time. The company was fortunate to have been virtually out of debt when high interest rates came in the 70's and was able to ride the economic expansion of the 80's and 90's. The 1983 Music Mall was one of the industry's first superstores that gained immediate industry attention and has been used as a model for others.
Since 2005, culture, distribution channels, internet technology, and new competition have forced WB to radically change its business model and to downsize its size, sales, product segments, and number of associates. The model today is focused on school music service, school instrument rentals, repair service and supporting products.
WB's success is due to its people and WB has advanced the careers of some of the industry's best representatives within its company and for industry components throughout the country. WB's mission statement remains the same:
To distribute quality products, employ professionals & provide after-sale service & support to those who make music, in such a manner that we are recognized as a "good citizen" within our community and industry.
WB continues to develop quality training programs to assist their associates in growing into better citizens and professionals; and for those customers who choose to travel to our front doors, a friendly and comfortable retail environment.
COMMUNITY NEWS & EVENTS: What's new? Click here to see
Please make note of the following items. • The swing and concert band rehearsals this week ( May 29) will be at Indian Mound Middle School. Times will remain the same. The reason that we are moving is that there is a high school band concert that night. •...
Remember that next Wednesday's rehearsals are at Indian Mound Middle School. The schedule is; 5:00 -- Sectional rehearsal 6:00 -- Concert band rehearsal There is no Swing band The concert at Olbrich Gardens is on Sunday, May 12 at 2:00. Please be ready to warm-up at 1:15. Dress up and...
The Swing Band played in a program honoring Lau and Bea for their philanthropic work. Set up in the "Missing Man" formation …I wonder who forgot about traffic on the beltline? Otherwise we sounded pretty good.
Here's the Play List For the Bethel Bash Gospel Blues Bye, Bye Blackbird Star Dust Teach Me Tonight Work Song Samba Ti Kaye One Special Moment Harlem Nocturne Blue Moon Birdland Beneath An Orange Moon Blue Skies Just The Way You Are Night Train Emily It’s Only A Paper...
Swing Band; Thanks to all of you that played at Oak Park Place. It was greatly appreciated by all of the residents. One lady told me that she learned to dance to In The Mood. Please make sure the following dates are on your calendar. If you have any conflicts...
Concert Band Members; Here is our schedule for the next couple of months. Please contact me with any questions. Glenn Wed., May 1 -- regular rehearsal schedule Wed., May 8 -- rehearsal at Indian Mound Middle School IMMS is at 6330 Exchange St. Go past the High School on Farwell...
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