Jupiter Band Instruments’ Tabor Stamper
Jupiter Band Instruments, Inc. has been growing rapidly over the past few years and just recently released a new line of professional instruments that’s already meeting with positive reaction. Even in a tough economic time, Tabor Stamper, Jupiter’s president, is very pleased with the company’s position and is excited about the future. Recently, MMR sat down with Stamper to get a better handle on Jupiter’s growth as a company, their newest products, and what the future holds.
MMR: Tell us about the new XO line of instruments. What’s happening on this professional level for Jupiter?
Tabor Stamper: We are very excited about our XO line of professional instruments. During 2010, the complete XO line of brass instruments will include three Bb trumpet models, new C and piccolo trumpets, a superb flugelhorn and, later, a new D/Eb trumpet. In addition, we have a new series of bass trombones to join our straight and rotor tenors in both dependent and independent designs.
These instruments have been carefully designed and tested over the last several years. We have utilized trumpet designers and craftspeople from around the world and leaned heavily on some of the finest professional players to bring our designs to a level rarely approached by builders today. One example is Roger Ingram. Roger is a great player and his lead playing with Harry Connick Jr. and others will give our entire XO trumpet line more exposure, but we have other top players that are equally supportive of the entire line of trumpets, trombones, euphonium and tubas. As these models become available next year, the enthusiasm and interest in XO will be clearly evident.
MMR: I understand that Jupiter is very involved with the Drum and Bugle Corp. scene. Are there any new developments within your Marching band line of instruments?
TS: Our Quantum project for marching band has been very aggressive, encompassing the entire outdoor ensemble. As a result, the Quantum line of marching instruments is coming into its own quite nicely. This group of instruments is a joint effort between designers at Jupiter who have focused on marching brass and those at Mapex and Majestic for marching drums, timpani and mallet instruments. The marching brass line was designed as an ensemble, rather than individual instruments, adding sonority and power to the resulting sound. The key to the marching drums is the rich tone of the specially constructed shells. Our players in both DCI (Drum Corps International) and WGI (Winter Guard International) corps have commented on the full and vibrant tone and they love how the drums really “sing.” Our work with both DCI and WGI corps has shown that these instruments perform very well and are designed for the long haul. The front percussion ensemble is a natural growth from concert percussion and the Majestic concert drums and mallet instruments are providing the quality and value needed in today’s competitive marching environment.
MMR: Jupiter has expanded in recent years, in both size and scope. How are you adapting to this growth?
TS: Dealers will begin seeing more evidence of our true corporate identity, KHS America. As you know, Jupiter wind instruments are only one part of what we provide to the music world. Majestic concert percussion is rapidly making its place in the marketplace, and Mapex drums have long been a respected name. Altus flutes are among the finest in professional, handmade flutes. We believe it is inaccurate to simply place all of these brands under the Jupiter name. Instead, each will be marketed on its own unique merits and managed under the KHS umbrella. KHS America is a wholly owned subsidiary of KHS International, with manufacturing facilities all over the world for Jupiter wind instruments, Majestic concert percussion, Mapex drums and professional level Altus flutes, crafted in Japan.
MMR: With facilities all over the world, how does KHS America effectively maintain quality control?
TS: One of our greatest assets is that we own and control our own research, design, and manufacturing facilities. These facilities are wholly committed to our KHS brands. They are also quite flexible in accommodating and achieving a high level of craftsmanship and quality. The company has instilled a culture of improvement in every facet of design and manufacturing. Even when the quality of our instruments appears to be excellent, we see our manufacturing team always examining how to improve even more. Because our facilities are ISO 9001 certified, we have excellent control over quality in all areas.
MMR: It’s been a challenging year or so for all, to say the least. What can dealers expect from KHS America in 2010?
TS: Among our strengths as a growing company is our ability to pattern our business in harmony with our dealers’ needs. We are able to match our programs more closely with our dealers’ buying patterns and assist them in promoting to schools and individuals, as well as providing them consistent and profitable rental instruments for band. Unlike some manufacturers that have simply given up all logic in this difficult economy, we are privileged to have the support of many dealers, both large and small, who appreciate our common sense approach and willingness to adapt to their needs.
MMR: What does the immediate future hold for KHS America?
TS: We believe that the year 2010 will be a Majestic year. Majestic timpani have been available in Europe for some time, but now, with the introduction of the complete line of concert percussion, from timpani and concert drums to concert and marching mallet instruments, Majestic will play a major role on the stages of America’s finest ensembles and will become a staple for dealers who want to serve their schools with the most up-to-date, high-value instruments.
This coming year, dealers will see the results of our worldwide efforts. Our newest professional products are the foundation. New, more active efforts with key artists and educators, as well as recommitted promotional efforts will drive demand. Of course, our standard instruments will continue to support student achievement with a warranty that is good through high school graduation, and our background and harmony instruments continue to support today’s finest school bands.
Overall, KHS America is dedicated to music performance and education, providing high quality wind and percussion instruments of exceptional value at all performance levels. We do this in partnership with our loyal dealers, working hard to make sure they can serve their customers while making a fair profit. It takes all of us to get the job done.