Press Release – MENC: The National Association for Music Education Welcomes J. W. Pepper & Son Inc. as First "Elite" Corporate Member

MENC: The National Association for Music Education Welcomes J. W. Pepper & Son Inc. as First “Elite” Corporate Member   Family-Owned Company “Makes Sure Kids Have Music to Read”   RESTON, VA (March 1, 2007) — MENC: The National Association for Music Education announced that J. W. Pepper & Son Inc., a premiere sheet music supplier for more than 130 years, is MENC’s first “Elite” corporate member, meaning the company has made a significant commitment to supporting music education through MENC. “We are honored to be the first Elite corporate member of MENC, as we feel the continued growth of music in our schools is a shared goal between our organizations,” said Kathy Fernandes, vice president of marketing for J. W. Pepper & Son Inc. In addition to Elite corporate membership in MENC, “Pepper is a corporate member of virtually every state MENC organization in the country,” she continued. “We regularly attend state conferences, often sponsoring internet courts and reading sessions.” “MENC is pleased to welcome Pepper to Elite corporate membership status, and we appreciate their commitment to furthering music education through their membership,” said John J. Mahlmann, MENC executive director. “Our long association with this fine company includes working with them to create the first internet bulletin board for music educators, before MENC even had a Web site. We look forward to collaborating on many initiatives to advance the study and learning of music in school.” Pepper’s history is an American family-owned business story. “We’re completely home-grown. Our employees live here. Our history is here, and our future is here,” said Fernandes. With 15 stores across the United States, Pepper combines friendly, “hometown” service with the speed and efficiency of a modern national organization. Company founder James Welsh Pepper began publishing music journals from his family’s small print shop in Philadelphia in 1876. After his death in 1919, the presidency was turned over to his son, Howard E. Pepper, under whose direction the company continued to publish new titles through 1924. In 1941 a group of businessmen, headed by Harold W. Burtch, purchased the company. By 1943, the company was run entirely by the Burtch family, which retains ownership today. By concentrating on mail-order advertising, the Pepper catalogs by the early 1950s had become a primary print music source for educators. In the early 1960s, Dean Burtch, Harold’s son, assumed leadership of the company and has since been joined by his sons Greg Burtch, current president, and Glenn Burtch, vice president of branch operations and research and development. Pepper’s innovations and accomplishments through the years include developments in instrument patents, publishing, and technology. In 1986, the company implemented a new computer based program called Pepper Cares (Computer Assisted Research). This program was one of the most innovative advances Pepper has made in the music industry offering a way to assist customers in locating music to fit their needs. In 1989, Pepper developed the Pepper National Music Network, the first computer network designed for use by music directors, including a bulletin board for MENC members that enabled music directors to place orders, search for music, and communicate with other directors. In 1995, Pepper created the Pepper Music Network, the precursor of their Web site “We firmly believe that music has a positive impact on our culture and support music education to that end,” said Fernandes. “Pepper wants to make sure kids, and adults, have music to read. ” For more information on J. W. Pepper & Son Inc., visit

MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the world’s largest arts education organization, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. More than 130,000 members represent all levels of teaching from preschool to graduate school. Since 1907, MENC has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive, and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. MENC’s activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education. ###