Officially charted in December 1953, Kendor Music was the brainchild of three instrumental music teachers who recognized the need for student-level stage band publications. Founders Les Chappell, Art Dedrick and Bob Hudson taught in the Western New York communities of Kenmore, Delevan, and East Aurora respectively, the combination of which accounts for the company name. During its first year Kendor was only an evening-and-weekend enterprise for the staff of six--the three partners and their wives. Music was collated manually in Bob Hudson's basement and the first four Prom Series arrangements were ready for release early in 1954: Moonlight Waltz, Prom Jump, Liebestraum, and Finale medley. The single-page brochure announcing these earliest Kendor publications was addressed by hand and mailed to all the schools listed in the New York State School Music Association directory at the time.

In those days no other publisher was producing student-level stage band music. While plenty of 'stock' charts were available, they were generally too difficult for school bands. Along with his public school teaching experience, Art Dedrick had played trombone with and arranged for the famous Vaughn Monroe band in the 1940's. So when he penned those first Prom Series arrangements, Art included all of the appealing elements of professional charts carefully tailored for the abilities of young school jazz musicians.

Over the years Kendor has released thousands of works and has been responsible for introducing to the worldwide jazz education community the music of many award-winning, professional writers including Thad Jones, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Sammy Nestico, Jeff Jarvis, Bob Mintzer, John Fedchock, Frank Mantooth, Maria Schneider and others. Aside from jazz, the Kendor catalog has also gained international prominence in the other key areas of school programs by presenting quality editions for concert bands, string and full orchestras, instrumental soloists and chamber groups. Several critically-acclaimed books on jazz improvisation, composing and arranging, and performance also carry the Kendor name.

In 1992 Kendor became the first educational music publisher to offer teachers the money-saving option of purchasing extra score and part components from their solo and ensemble editions, rather than requiring them to buy an entire publication if all they really needed was perhaps an extra piano score for adjudication or a single part to replace one that had been lost or damaged. The response of teachers and retailers alike to this innovative policy was unanimously positive, and later the same year Kendor received the prestigious “Publisher of the Year’ award from the multi-national Retail Print Music Dealers Association.

Today, in addition to maintaining its own high standards of publishing excellence, Kendor also serves as exclusive distributor for Doug Beach Music, another catalog with an outstanding reputation in the jazz education field. Under the experienced supervision of Craig Cornwall (President) and Jeff Jarvis (CEO), Kendor’s future in the publishing industry is promising indeed.