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Drumstick maker Everett 'Vic' Firth dies at 85
July 27, 2015 22:14 GMT

BOSTON (AP) -- A longtime timpanist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra who launched a successful drumstick company bearing his name has died. Everett "Vic" Firth was 85.

A company spokesman said Firth died Sunday in Boston.

Firth grew up in Sanford, Maine, and joined the Boston Symphony in 1952. Drumsticks and mallets started as a sideline, with Firth making them for himself and students at the New England Conservatory. Eventually, he rescued a 65,000-square-foot plant in Newport from bankruptcy and began making them in Maine.

The company said Firth's "boundless passion for music and musicians" drove his decisions but another guiding principle was having fun. He once told The Associated Press, "Anything I've ever done, if it wasn't fun, I didn't do it."