Milwaukie music stands debut at White House

by: ELLEN SPITALERI Sherrey and Bob Meyer of Milwaukie with their Greek lyre music stand. Noteworthy Music Stands provided 35 of of the specially designed stands for the Marine Corps band to use at a recent White House state dinner.

Sure, they had to jump through a bunch of hoops, and cut through miles of red tape, but eventually the stars aligned and Milwaukie residents Bob and Sherrey Meyer signed a government contract to supply the Marine Corps band with 35 specially designed music stands.

The stands were delivered to the band on June 1 and made their debut at the Germany State Dinner at the White House honoring Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The next day, June 8, when the couple received a photograph from the Washington Post showing President Obama delivering a speech in front of those very same music stands - it was a bit of a thrill.

'When I saw the photo, I knew why the specific motif they wanted for the stands was the Greek lyre - the seatbacks of chairs the audience was sitting on had the same motif, and the stands are permanently stored at the White House,' Bob Meyer noted.

The stands will be used by both the Marine Corps band and the National Symphony Orchestra, he added.

Noteworthy Stands

Meyer did not start out designing stands for such prestigious groups - he began on a much more prosaic level, designing an aesthetically pleasing stand for himself.

When he decided to look around for a community band to play with, after 40 years of not playing, he dragged out his old music stand and did not like the looks of it.

Using his background in product and industrial design, Meyer made an attractive stand for himself and then for his brother. Naturally, as soon as his fellow musicians saw the stands, they started telling him he should sell them.

To make a long story short, the couple filed the paperwork in 2004 and Noteworthy Music Stands was in business.

Bob Meyer designs the stands using Computer Assisted Design techniques; he then sends the design to ASAP Metal Fabricating Company in Yakima, Wash., and the 'desk' of the stand is cut out of a sheet of aluminum one-tenth of an inch thick using a laser cutting machine.

The base and upright shaft of the stands come from another Yakima company, Manhasset, which has been making music stands for decades.

'The desk on the stand is wider, and the lip is deeper, so the stand holds larger scores and more music,' Sherrey Meyer said.

She added that she built the Noteworthy Stands website and does most of the writing for the promotional materials. She also noted she is the 'Vanna White' of the company at music exhibits, demonstrating how to use the stands.

It helps, of course, that both are musicians: Bob plays the euphonium, also known as the baritone horn, in the East County Community Orchestra and the Portland Metro Concert Band; Sherrey has been playing the piano since she was 6 but recently realized a lifelong dream when she began taking flute lessons.

Product design

Most of the company's customers are fellow band members, although business really picks up at Christmas when people buy the music stands to give as gifts to their loved ones.

What really sets the stands apart, however, is their design.

'There are 23 different images, 19 of which feature musical instruments; the other four are the butterfly, the Celtic cross, the peacock and the treble clef,' Bob said.

Of course, he does custom designs, like the Greek lyre that that he came up with for the Marine Corps band.

As for the future of the business, Bob said that it is gratifying that people buy the stands because of his designs, but noted that he knows he's not going to get rich from the business because he picked a group of people to market to who don't have a lot of money.

He added, 'Even though we are not making loads of money, we are having a great time,' while Sherrey added that it is noteworthy that a small Oregon business was party to a business deal that led to the White House.

Visit to see a complete product list of music stands available, including photos of each of the designs and a price list, and to contact Bob and Sherrey Meyer.