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Some quick facts about Cannonball Musical Instruments:

  • Established in 1996.
  • Founders: Tevis and Sheryl Laukat.
  • 25 Employees in the Salt Lake City, Utah Facility and hundreds more commissioned in other countries, including 2 Cannonball factories in Taiwan.
  • Originators of the “Big Bell®” for saxophone as well as many other innovative music industry designs.
  • Own about 30 trademarks and patents.
  • Manufacture Saxophones, Trumpets, Clarinets and Flutes.
  • Passionate about creating the finest musical instruments for even the most discriminating professionals, and also full lines including for beginning musicians.
  • Acoustically Customize our instruments (much more than regulating tone holes or providing smooth-working valves)
  • Believe in teaming with your local music store, creating the optimum opportunity for you to personally play the instruments, and receive hands-on local support.

CEO Sheryl Laukat tells a little bit about the history of Cannonball...

Tevis and Sheryl Laukat
"Tevis & I met in 1982. I had a B.S. degree in Music Education and at that time I was a Jr. High Band Director. Tevis was sponsored by the local music store to visit my band classes as a guest clinician. We both loved the saxophone. It was my major instrument in college and Tevis was a professional musician, playing all the doubles, but especially the saxophone. He had a B.S. degree in music performance. We soon married, and later were blessed with three amazing children.

The beginnings of Cannonball – It started in the kitchen!

Tevis and I both played on valued vintage saxophones. But in 1995 a newer saxophone came into our hands. The trouble was, it didn't play or sound very good. Tevis regulated it and it improved, but the sound and pitch were still lacking. For fun, we began to experiment with the horn, altering the air flow and changing the acoustical properties of the instrument. We were amazed at what happened! Through divine inspiration we soon became very good at altering the pitch of any note we wanted, and changing the tone quality of the instrument. If we wanted clearer altissimo we could do it. If we wanted more lows, or focus we could do it. For months, we spent day after day in our kitchen just experimenting and playing with the acoustics. Before long, it was nearly impossible to tell the difference in sound between our valued vintage horns and this new horn and the pitch surpassed our vintage horns. We were jumping up and down with excitement! We knew we really had something! We were so excited that eventually we risked everything and mortgaged our home to pursue our new adventure!

We first needed to find a place to make our saxophones.

Cannonball factories in Taiwan
Our research about manufacturers led us to Taiwan in 1995, where we visited every manufacturer we could find. There were many! We finally settled on a young manufacturer that we could see had great talent, capability, and who was also willing to do whatever we asked him. This was very important to us as we wanted to have our own instrument made from scratch. From nearly nothing we built the factory up together and formed "Cannonball". Since then we have expanded and moved to our now 2 Cannonball factories. We decided to have fun with this name by using ideas and motifs from the Medieval Period.

After several years of manufacturing saxophones we expanded our acoustical experience with additional instruments.

We also have partners in different areas of the world who we commission to build our instruments to our exacting designs and specifications. Many of our brass instruments are made in the United States, as well as a large portion of the materials used to make our flutes.

Cannonball Facility in Sandy, Utah

Cannonball facility in Sandy, Utah.
After our horns are assembled and finished, they are shipped to Cannonball's 12,000 square foot facility in Sandy, Utah - 15 miles outside of Salt Lake City. It is in Utah that the most important part of Cannonball happens. It is here that we hand customize each instrument. Each woodwind is re-regulated and checked for a perfect seal, among other technical duties. Each trumpet is checked for perfect working order. Then, one of our professional musicians/master acoustical technicians play the horn and customize it to ensure it has great body, resonance, and focus. This is why Cannonballs sing! We ensure a high level of quality control and is the reason that Cannonballs are so consistent in playability and workmanship. This is also where all of our hand-engraving is done on professional saxophones. You really can say that every Cannonball is a "Custom Instrument" as they have all truly been hand customized. A Cannonball never leaves Salt Lake City until it surpasses all expectations and is so fun to play it is hard to put down. Our professional players / acoustical adjusters often comment, "I wish we didn't have to sell this one! I want to take it home for myself."

Sheryl Laukat, CEO

Personal Saxophone: Big Bell Stone Series Lacquered Alto

Sheryl was raised in Utah. Saxophones were played by her family and extended family so she kept up the tradition. (Her mother still played and performed with her saxophone at age 78.) Sheryl graduated from Weber State University with a degree in Music Education and an emphasis in saxophone. She was the band director at Millcreek Jr. High School in Bountiful, Utah. Sheryl donated her time for over 11 years as the pianist and arranger of the International Children's Choir which performed for visiting ambassadors, royalty, and religious leaders from all over the world. She currently serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors of the choir. Sheryl also serves on the National Advisory Committee for Weber State University and was honored as a Distinguished Alumni 2010.

What does Sheryl do at Cannonball? She oversees all operations. While managing instrument production, she enjoys frequent communication with our partners in Taiwan, Germany and China. She also heads International Distribution. The marketing aspect of Cannonball is one of her favorite fortes, as is talking with musicians and dealers. When she can find a spare moment, she loves to write and arrange music. She has written a few pieces especially for Cannonball’s own saxophonists, Tevis Laukat, Randal Clark, and Ryan Lillywhite to perform. You can see the performances on our Videos Page. Above all, Sheryl loves happy customers.

Tevis Laukat, President

Personal Saxophones: Vintage Reborn: Dark Amber Lacquer Alto, Dark Amber Lacquer Soprano Big Bell Stone Series: Raven Tenor, Raven Bari

Tevis was raised in beautiful Sacramento, California. He started playing clarinet at a young age and he quickly added the saxophone and flute. As a junior in high school, he was invited to play with the Consumnes River College Jazz Band. He later attended Brigham Young University where he mastered all of the woodwinds and graduated with a music performance degree. During college, he was awarded outstanding soloist in several jazz festivals. As lead tenor sax player, he toured Hungary and Romania with BYU's Synthesis Jazz Band, which was the very first non-communist musical group allowed in each of those countries. After graduating, he had a successful career as a professional woodwind doubler in both Utah and California. He played in the Concord Pavilion with the Mills Brothers, Barry Manilow, Tom Jones, Johnny Mathis and the Spinners. He also played for the Donny and Marie Television Show, Ray Charles, Bob Hope, the Utah Symphony, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, just to name a few. He played in live musicals for 20 years in Salt Lake City's Pioneer Memorial Theater and Sacramento's Music Circus, which often included New York original casts. Besides live performances he has recorded for television, radio commercials, CD's, and many major motion pictures.

What does Tevis do at Cannonball? He oversees and participates in hand acoustical customization of the horns. He also creates, experiments with and tests new ideas. Communication is his talent and it is a great pleasure for him to communicate with musicians and dealers. His dealer area concentrates on USA and Canada but he enjoys being involved with all Cannonball dealers and distributors worldwide. He provides laughter for the staff by using his kid-like enthusiasm for life, good food, cars, and especially great musical instruments!

Dr. Randal Clark

Saxophone Development, Acoustical Expert,
Director of Media and Education

Personal Saxophones: Big Bell Stone Series: A5 "Mad Meg" Alto, T5 "Mad Meg Tenor.
Vintage Reborn: Dark Amber Lacquer Alto, S5-SB (Black nickel with Silver Keys)

Dr. Randal Clark plays and acoustically customizes most of the Alto and Soprano saxophones. Randal holds a DMA in Conducting with an emphasis in Saxophone Performance from the University of Utah. He also holds a Master of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Utah with an emphasis in Saxophone Performance. Randal is also a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Utah teaching saxophone. In addition to working for Cannonball, he is a full-time high school band, orchestra, and jazz band teacher where ensembles have consistently taken top marks at the state assessments. He has been teaching high school band and orchestra for 18 years. Randal plays principal alto saxophone in the Utah Wind Symphony, one of the premiere wind bands in the country and was featured as a soprano saxophone soloist for the northwest premiere of David Maslanka's Symphony No.9 (3rd mvt). Randal performed along with The Utah Wind Symphony at the 2014 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. He is the conductor of the Utah Wind Symphony Youth Ensemble, an elite wind ensemble made up of the best wind musicians in the state of Utah. He is the conductor of the Canyons Symphony Orchestra, an honors orchestra involving students from all over the Salt Lake Valley. He has appeared at the Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival, the Park City International Jazz Festival, and the Benny Golson Jazz Festival as a featured performer. He has performed with artists such as: Gerald Albright, Winston Byrd, Don Menza, Carl Allen, Gordon Goodwin, Eric Darius, Elan Trotman, Keith Anderson, Gianni Vancini, The Cannonball Band, and many more. Randal is in demand as a guest soloist, clinician, conductor, and adjudicator. Randal loves to golf, loves fast cars, and is a home theater geek! We are happy to have such a wonderful saxophonist and educator on the Cannonball Team.

Ryan Lillywhite

Professional Saxophonist, Acoustical Expert,
Parts Manager, International Representative

Personal Saxophones: Vintage Reborn: Dark Amber Laquer Alto, Brute Tenor
Big Bell Stone Series: Black with Silver Keys Tenor

Ryan plays and acoustically customizes most of the Tenor and Baritone saxophones. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in business management and a minor in music. As the lead tenor sax player for three years in BYU's top jazz band, Synthesis, he toured with the band and was a frequently featured soloist. Ryan has performed with numerous ensembles throughout Utah including the Utah Symphony. He performs and records regularly and has taught saxophone and clarinet lessons. He can be heard on a number of soundtracks and CDs. An innovative musician, he has won awards in organ and piano competitions and played ukulele for a Tahitian dance team. Ryan is also fluent in French and Tahitian and volunteers his time to interpret these languages for worldwide conferences. He has had extensive training and experience in instrument repair, facilitating his roles as parts manager and contributor to the design of Cannonball instruments.

Daron Bradford

Professional Clarinet, Flute, and Woodwind Artist
Head Clarinet Acoustical Customizer

Personal Clarinet: Piacere

Daron Bradford, our main acoustical expert, was the principal clarinetist for the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra and played for the Donny and Marie Osmond TV show. He currently plays solo performances on clarinet, saxophone, and celtic instruments with the Utah Symphony and the Orchestra at Temple Square. Daron is a faculty member at Brigham Young University School of Music teaching saxophone and clarinet, and is also a first-call recording artist and freelance musician on all woodwinds. Local and national composers use him on all of the flute family, both in traditional and non-traditional playing techniques. His teachers were David Randall (BYU), Martin Zwick (Utah Symphony), Leon Russianoff (NYC), Robert Marcellus and Fred Hemke (Northwestern University).

Ryan Laukat

Professional Trumpeter, Acoustical Expert, Master Engraver

Personal Trumpets:

Ryan plays and acoustically customizes all of the Cannonball trumpets. He is a lifelong musician and has played trumpet at the University of Utah in the Jazz Band and Wind Symphony, as well as in community orchestras, musicals, and events. He is a current member of the Utah Wind Symphony, and has performed many times as a guest artist with the International Children's Choir. He is also a professional artist/illustrator; he works as the head of hand engraving at Cannonball and is part of the advertising team. His art is featured on many Cannonball products and advertisements. The new Lynx brace design is Ryan's original creation. He is also a freelance illustrator and specializes in books, board games, portraits, and advertisements. He is fluent in Spanish. He is also a trained saxophone and clarinet technician and runs all laser engraving at the Salt Lake City facility.

Cannonball's Salt Lake City, Utah Staff

The most important thing about Cannonball is the acoustical customizing that we do to every horn. Yes our horns are beautiful, yes our horns are well made, but we also want them to play great. That's why we have specially trained and talented acoustical adjusters to work on each of our horns.

Cannonball's saxophone adjusters work on each sax until they are satisfied that the horn has fluent altissimo, rich lows, even timbre, full-bodied sound, and in-line overtones. Every trumpet is prepared to slot well and play with clarity and full, acoustic resonance. Each clarinet hand-finished for intonation, full throat tones, warmth, vibrancy and projection. And all flutes are individually adjusted for a responsive lip plate with optimal air flow and a full, rich, and resonant sound.

Our goal is for you to feel the same exhilaration as we do when you play. We want you to say, "I can't put this horn down!"

Copyright © 2016 - Cannonball Musical Instruments