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Vic Firth dies at 85; percussionist made drumsticks and mallets for legions of players

Vic Firth dies at 85; percussionist made drumsticks and mallets for legions of players

When Vic Firth was growing up, he took weekly lessons on piano, trumpet, clarinet, trombone and drums —plus music theory. Only the drums — and the drumsticks — stuck. Firth, who for 50 years was the Boston Symphony Orchestra's principal timpanist, also was one of the world's largest producers of drumsticks. In a factory on the shores of Sebasticook Lake in Maine, he ran a company that turns out 12 million sticks a year — enough to stretch from Disney Hall in Los Angeles to Carnegie Hall in New York, with a side trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Interested in the stories shaping California? Sign up for the free Essential California...

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