Thursday, April 24, 2008
George H. does it again...Remembering Vito Pascucci
George Hesselberg leaves the greatest comments. Dr Mike told me that I should call myself into my office, tell myself how disappointed I am in me, fire my amateur ass and let a real professional like George drive the Wisconsinology truck. Here's George's comments concerning my Bunny Berigan post. Read.
"If I might add one more Wisconsin guy with a horn, though he switched from coronet to clarinet (from a 2003 column):
Vito Pascucci, a coronet player in the Kenosha High School band, taught himself how to fix instruments, joined the army in 1943, taking along his repair kit. He ended up working as a repairman for the Army Air Corps Band, led by a trombonist named Glenn Miller. Ordered to a just-liberated Paris, Pascucci was sent ahead to arrange for Miller to visit the musical instrument manufacturers in and around the city. While waiting for Miller to show up in Paris, he received word that the famous bandleader's plane had crashed over the English Channel.
He kept the appointments anyway, and one was with G. Leblanc Cie. According to the company history, he was welcomed into the Leblanc family, and, after the war, Leblanc offered Pascucci a chance to head the company in America.
Leblanc picked New York. Pascucci held out for Kenosha, where eventually a shop was created. Two workers were hired to take apart instruments sent from France. Those instruments were climatized and reassembled, then sold to a growing national network. Profits grew. A clarinet factory opened in Kenosha, other companies were bought out, other instruments added. Vito Pascucci is still in Kenosha, and his company can make a grade-school band clarinet that sells for a few hundred dollars, or a symphony concert-quality Leblanc rosewood clarinet, for $6,365."
I'd like to add that southeast Wisconsin is a hotbed of instrument manufacturing,
it's the home of "brass alley", a formerly endless row of brass instrument makers, and the Baldoni Accordion Company - America's premiere accordion manufacturer and the subject of a future post.
Dr. Mike, a former Madison resident, is a long time George Hesselberg reader. Mike can be found reading all the major state papers and the Wall Street Journal every morning, usually by 11:30 am, at various valley bars and diners.
Vito Pascucci passed away in 2003. Here's an obit of sorts...
Vito Pascucci, founder and chairman of the Kenosha, Wisconsin-based G. LEBLANC CORPORATION, passed away on Monday, August 18th, 2003 after a long period of declining health. He was 80 years old.
Born on Oct. 12, 1922 in Kenosha, Vito first learned music as a trumpet student. He went on to play with the Glenn Miller Army Air Corps Band during World War II. Returning from the war, Vito co-founded the G. Leblanc Corporation in America in 1946. He turned his original one-man shop into a nine-brand corporation employing some 450 people and serving a world market from two continents. G. Leblanc is currently the source for both the Vito and Sankyo brands of flutes and piccolos in the USA.
In recognition of his lifelong contributions to music education, Vito was awarded honorary doctorates from six universities. He served six terms as president of the National Association of Band Instrument Manufacturers.