20 years ago.
Man that’s hard to fathom.
But I remember the inception of AnderKamp Music. I was working at Ron Cobb Copy Service (along with Aaron Weitekamp) where we printed most of the sheet music for the Christian publishers in town. Ron had been a copyist back to the vellum days and had a printing press with plates to make copies of the music (yes that long ago). He also had a library of a LOT of instrumental music from various publishers that was out of print that he was allowed to sell as one offs.
A customer calls and they tell me they are looking for brass quintet music for their church group. And I tell them the answer that I have always said…”If you’re looking for any instrumental music for churches, you really need to talk to Camp Kirkland (we call him the godfather of church instrumental music). If it’s out there, Camp will know about it.”
“He sent us to you.”
I remember that phrase still clearly today. I immediately thought “Oh man, there’s a niche!”. I talked with my friend and co-worker, Aaron Weitekamp, about it and said “We should create some brass quintet arrangements.” We started the process of thinking of a name for our ‘company’ and for the project title. We played around with a lot of ideas and at some point, the idea of AnderKamp Music came about (Jeff Anderson, Aaron Weitekamp – not really rocket science here). In German, Ander Kampf would mean ‘other struggle’ and Ephesians 6:12 came to mind.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
In my mind, when folks asked what style of music did we do, I could say “That’s not what we are about. We have an ‘other struggle’. We fight against the rulers of the darkness of this world.” We want to provide music for the churches wherever they are or where they are going. Little did I realize just how difficult the ‘worship wars’ that were coming would be.
So we had a name and I had a friend, Harold Brown, create a logo for us. And just as we’re talking about really officially getting things going, Aaron’s wife Julie ended up with an opportunity to pursue her master’s degree at The University of Rhode Island and they were moving up East. We talked about how on earth we could do this in different cities. The logistics of trying to run a start-up company in two different cities seemed impossible. (This was 1998, orders came in via fax and the concept of shipping music via pdf electronically was in its infancy, and ‘remote’ working wasn’t really an option). I had just finished copying a project for Don Marsh and that money was sitting in the bank. I said to Aaron “Do you want me to just own the company and I pay you as an arranger?” Almost immediately a sigh of relief came across his face and he said “Man that would be great!”. But we had the name, and I really liked the German meaning of the name so we kept the name as AnderKamp Music. So, Aaron and I wrote 10 brass quintet arrangements and I took the Don Marsh copy project check I had just received and booked a brass quintet at Classic Recording here in Nashville (Cool Springs) and away we went with The Master’s Brass Quintet Series!
I manufactured a couple thousand cassettes (yep…cassettes). I had a mailing list of churches that had purchased instrumental music and I mailed out a letter with a reply card in it where they could say “Send me the music!” or “Send me the cassette!” And a lot of folks bought the sheet music sight unseen and again, I was off and running!
20 years later and over 2000 churches have ordered music through AnderKamp Music. We’ve sold music to North America, South America, Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia. I think we’re just missing the Arctic Circle and Antartica. Though it’s hard to imagine playing a brass instrument in 40 below weather.
Over the years, we’ve been able to create music for: Brass Quintet, Brass Ensemble (Choir), Woodwind Ensemble, String Ensemble, Big Band, Praise Band, Solo, Duet, Trio, 8 Core Orchestra, Full Symphonic Orchestra, Solo Piano, Concert Band and, of course HORN SECTION!!!
To each and everyone of you that have ever purchased any music from me (and thusly Dana, Karis, Dakota and Dawson), with all my heart I say THANK YOU!!!! It is truly my honor to partner with you and your instrumental groups.
AnderKamp Music’s goal continues to be to provide world-class, yet accessible music for churches, giving instrumentalists the opportunity to use their gifts to glorify God.
I said this in closing in my first letter that I mailed out…God bless you as you teach the body to worship.