The “Custom Batons” company started nearly 35 years ago in Charles Olson’s basement. At the time, conductors everywhere were accustomed to using any old stick as a baton. Mr. Olson wanted a better conducting baton for his own use and since no one made a really fine baton yet, he decided to make one for himself. After years of tinkering and perfecting the design and construction of conducting batons, Mr. Olson developed a reputation as the best baton craftsman around.
Starting with his colleagues and fellow directors, word spread that Mr. Olson was building batons like no one had ever seen before. The batons were well balanced, beautiful, and custom designed. The fine quality and excellent design of these batons drew customers first locally, then expanded regionally and even internationally.
Having conducted wind ensembles for years, Mr. Olson developed a reputation as an excellent conductor as well as an excellent baton craftsman. Fellow conductors in colleges everywhere started to trust that Charles Olson was the authority on fine conducting batons. Today, many colleges and universities all over the United States place regular orders with Mr. Olson and depend on Custom Batons as their supplier of fine batons. Every year, new music education students start school and need to buy their first batons. Music professors who want to start their students out right, require them to purchase an “Olson” baton. Once these students have tried their custom baton, they become customers for life.
Today, there is a much broader selection of conducting batons compared to 35 years ago, but nothing quite compares to an “Olson” baton. In 2006, Mr. Olson "passed the baton" on to his understudy, Chris Blount. At that point, Chris took on the ownership and responsibility of Custom Batons. Chris builds all of the custom baton orders, but Mr. Olson still makes a number of batons for the college conducting class orders.