Remembering Sandy Feldstein
“When I first joined Alfred in the early 1950s, it was a very small music publisher employing only five people. I knew we would have to expand rapidly if the company, and myself, were to survive. After 18 or 19 years of steady growth, Alfred was then ready to expand beyond guitar and keyboard publications. I felt we could be successful by starting a band, orchestra, and choral catalog. We did have some success, but I knew we would need someone with more expertise than I had in those areas. As I scanned the trade and educational magazines, I kept seeing the name Sandy Feldstein. I knew nothing about him, but I had nothing to lose by arranging a meeting.
“When we first met at our offices in Port Washington, New York, we talked for over an hour and it was immediately clear he was our man. I told him what we were looking for and agreed to a second meeting. At the second meeting, Sandy said he would actually like to have a larger role at Alfred — and I agreed with him. Soon we reached an agreement and Sandy started working for Alfred.
“For the next 20 years together, Alfred experienced unprecedented growth and became a serious contender among educational music publishers. Sandy not only expanded our areas of publishing with his own and other composers’ publications, but he brought people into our industry who later became major executives. It’s been about 17 years since Sandy left and we still employ two people, John O’Reilly and Dave Black, who he originally hired.
“Sandy was ambitious, smart, knowledgeable, and very, very witty. Our time together was priceless, and Alfred and I owe much to Sandy for his huge contributions. We laughed a lot, cried a little when we parted, but he will never be forgotten. His contributions to the music business cannot be truly calculated and he leaves a void that will not soon be filled.”
president, Alfred Publishing
“Much of what I have learned as a music executive, an advocate for music education, and as member of the music products industry I learned from Sandy. When I was at Pearl Drums and we were starting to build our marching and concert division to get into the educational market, he was very encouraging. He urged me to volunteer with industry groups and to network with and learn from some of the legends of the industry. When the opportunity to go to work for NAMM came along, he helped me weigh my choices. When NAMM engaged in an aggressive campaign to support music education, it was Sandy who helped guide our work. When Save the Music was started he was the first person I called on to serve on the board of trustees. The model Save the Music uses today to restore music programs is the very same model Sandy helped design back in 1998 when the original model was struggling. When I started Music for All, Sandy was right there with a guiding hand, a wise word, and an encouraging way. There is not enough space in this magazine for all the Sandy stories I have!”
founder, Music For All
”With Sandy’s passing I have lost a co-author, a wonderful mentor, and friend. When I started at Alfred Publishing in 1985, Sandy took me under his wing. He taught me so much about the percussion world, the publishing business, and how to treat people with respect. He was one of the most even-tempered people I’ve ever known. I always marveled at his ability to remain calm and positive under the most stressful situations.
“I was very fortunate to have co-written seven books with Sandy, most notably Alfred’s Drum Method and Alfred’s Beginning Drumset Method. I learned so much from him during the writing of those books and his tenure at Alfred. What is most impressive is that Sandy didn’t need me to co-write those books. He was already a highly respected author, perfectly capable of writing those books on his own. He, however, wanted to give me that opportunity …
“With the acquisition of Warner Bros. Publications in 2005, Alfred acquired most of the other percussion catalogs Sandy had written for over the years … At the 2005 PAS convention, Sandy stopped by the Alfred booth, looked at the tremendous number of percussion books on display and said, ‘I feel like I’m looking at my whole life’s work in front of me.’ In a way, that statement was right.”
editor-in-chief, school & church publications, Alfred Publishing
“Sandy was the rare combination of musician, businessman, and musical entrepreneur. He was a friend that I was honored to call a friend. He was one of a kind.”
CEO, Vic Firth Inc.
“All of us at NAMM had the pleasure of working with Sandy throughout many years on various projects, both affecting the music products industry and music education. He was extremely bright, had a wonderful wit about him, and also had a knack of keeping us on track when the topic might take a wrong turn. One of his favorite comments was how much money he made working with five notes! Ah, what an infectious smile he had!
“He was truly a, ‘one-of-a-kind’ guy. He has left an important space that will never be filled.
Larry R. Linkin
president emeritus, NAMM
“Sandy and I were very close. I was best man at his wedding. We worked on many instructional methods together and he wrote a lot of charts for me.
“Sandy was the best! He was good at everything he did and was always down to earth. He was a great help to many in the music business, including me. I can’t imagine him not being here.”
“Over my career in the music industry, I had the opportunity to work with many fine, some outstanding, individuals and a few exceptional individuals.
“Sandy was clearly on the list of exceptional people. He was the culmination of superb intelligence, sensitivity, and understanding that came together with a unique sense of balance of what was fair and achievable. He did it all with a sense of humility and humor.
I was very fortunate to have known him and have the opportunity to work with him. The industry, the world of music education, and I especially will remember and miss him.”
ex-president, Conn-Selmer, Inc.
“Sandy Feldstein was a very classy guy. He had a handshake and a smile for everyone and he always looked good. As competitors and friends over the years, we appreciated Sandy’s great passion for music, particularly music education. His energetic style and fun personality will be missed by us all.”
CEO, Hal Leonard Corp.
“With his profane humor, laser wit, and great love of the field of music, Sandy was a visionary and someone who made things happen. At NABIM, AMC, NAMM or any of the ‘alphabet organizations’ to which he either headed or contributed, Sandy brought a unique energy, enthusiasm, and intelligence. How I survived being friends with him as well as his college cohort, Bob Scheiwiller, I don’t know, but am all the happier for having known and worked with him.”
former CEO, G. Leblanc Corp.