MILWAUKEE - Hal Leonard Corporation has purchased Shawnee Press, Inc., one of the premier publishers of choral and instrumental music. Shawnee is based in Nashville and since 1989 had been operating as an independent subsidiary of Music Sales Corporation, the US publishing arm of the Music Sales Group. News of the acquisition came today from Hal Leonard Chairman and CEO Keith Mardak, and Robert Wise, Chairman and Managing Director of the Music Sales Group.
The history of Shawnee Press dates back to the late 1930s, when renowned bandleader and choral master Fred Waring and some of his friends from their famous singing group The Pennsylvanians formed the music publishing company Words and Music, Inc. in New York. As the group's radio popularity grew, choir directors began requesting copies of Waring's unique arrangements. The first choral arrangement became available in 1939.
In 1947, Waring relocated the company near his home in Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA, and renamed it Shawnee Press. Waring succumbed to a stroke in 1984, and his widow directed the company until 1989, when she sold it to the Music Sales Group, a global music publishing company based in London. In 2005, Music Sales relocated Shawnee Press to Nashville's Music Row.
Waring's philosophy and choral techniques still permeate the company he founded, not to mention his commitment to excellence. Shawnee Press is well respected today for both the quality and variety of sacred and secular music it produces for schools and churches. Its divisions include Concert Works Unlimited, GlorySound, Harold Flammer Music, Margun Music, Mark Foster Music, and Wide World Music. Among the company's many talented writers and arrangers are Joseph Martin, Jill and Michael Gallina, Don Besig and Nancy Price.
Mardak comments on the acquisition, "The Shawnee name is synonymous with quality. The addition of these publications and their formidable stable of writers will serve as a perfect complement to our current choral operations."