by Jenny Van Pelt, Lorenz Corporation
This fall I had the chance to talk with Richard Rejino about his experiences in the print music industry and with RPMDA:
JV: What brought you to RPMDA?
RR: I had always heard about RPMDA when I first started working in print music retail as an employee. After I became an owner, my first RPMDA Convention was in Dallas in 1992. Having never been to an industry convention before, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the sessions, exhibits, and meeting so many fellow retailers and publishers. Yet, it was clear that those first conventions impressed upon me the closeness and collegiality that is such an important part of RPMDA. It was exciting to be a part of it and to know that there were others to whom I could reach out for help and advice.
JV: What are your biggest takeaways from working in the print music industry?
RR: The thirty-plus years I spent working in the print music industry brought me many opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. On a basic retail level, I learned about how important relationships are between you and your customer. I learned that great customer service, strong relationships and a dedication to being great at what you do are timeless and indestructible defenses against the inevitable changes that we often fear. On a personal level, I cherish the people and the friends I made and have to this day. I was honored to serve on the RPMDA board and as President, and later the NAMM Board. These experiences helped me grow as an individual, and they connected me to the industry in a way that only deepened my appreciation for how fortunate we are that what we do makes the world a better place. That is why I always encourage people to be involved in their association. The rewards are multi-layered.
JV: What are you excited about working on now?
Even though I left the print music industry a few years ago to work for Madeleine Crouch & Co., I am happy to say that I am still connected to music as Executive Director for RPMDA and the National Piano Foundation. I also work with other associations who are not in the music industry but who have expanded my experiences. I’m always learning something new at work and each day offers something different. I’m lucky that I enjoy what I do and that I have continued to grow and surprise myself.
JV: What’s your earliest musical memory?
I think one of my earliest memories is sitting at the piano in my parents’ living room when I was six or seven and singing back the notes I played, then adding words to make up a song. I’m sure it was horrid and atonal, but I remember the feeling it gave me. After that, it was my oldest sister, who took piano lessons when she was young, became a school teacher, then became a nun, and went back to college to get a degree in piano and voice, who inspired me. I remember watching her in awe as she played a Schubert impromptu when she came home to visit. I knew when I was 13 that I was going to major in music and where I would go to college. It all worked out.
JV: Where might we find you when you’re not at the office?
My greatest passions in life are music, photography, and writing. At any given time, I’m doing one and thinking of the others when I’m away from work. Aside from that, I have always loved running. It clears my mind, keeps me active, and gives me precious time alone to listen to myself breathe. I love good wine and cooking with Mona, my wife. Our greatest compliment is to hear our daughter and son say they enjoy eating at our house because it’s as good or better than eating out!