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Johnson, Mike (ed.) / Leblanc Bell : A newsletter for music retailers, educators, employees and friends of G. Leblanc Corporation
(May 6, 1996)

Vito's views,   p. 2

Page 2

"America and the world have come to
understand that music has the power to
enrich our very humanity.
Leblanc's history is that
of promoting the benefits
of music to the world
by Vito Pascucci
Chairman, G. Leblanc Corporation
PDG, G. Leblanc S.A
Over 50 years ago, Lon Leblanc felt
it was his duty to ask his father to ap-
prove his selection for the leader of
their prospective American enterprise.
As you may know, they chose an Ameri-
can private first class soldier in his early
20s, a repair technician for the Glenn
Miller Air Force Band. To have enjoyed
this good fortune all stems from my
appreciation and respect for music and
for all those engaged in making music.
lon Leblanc said he had been look-
ing for a partner for 25 years, and his
final decision struck me as unusual
because of my young age. What great
courage the Leblanc family had to put
their trust in an American soldier with
almost zero net worth-a young man
who had not known that the ultimate
decision was between one of the
wealthiest men in the country, Mr.
John Jacob Astor, and me. Mr. Astor
was at that time married to Gertrude
Gretsch of Gretsch & Brenner,
Leblanc's American distributor since
the early '20s. This made Mr. Leblanc's
choice of a young man from Kenosha,
Wisconsin, all the more courageous.
The Leblancs knew I had very little
capital, but Mr. Leblanc said, "We don't
need money, as we intend to start small
and grow. What we need is your imagi-
Special edition
Welcome to our special 50th-
anniversary edition of the Leblanc
Bell, a 32-page double issue. On
the pages that follow, we'll indulge
in a bit of introspection and retro-
spection, marking this important
corporate milestone. We trust you
will find our musings of interest.
-Mike Johnson
Managing Editor
nation and youth." It was difficult to
believe what I was hearing, but this
was the start of a great father-and-son
story between Mr. Leblanc and myself,
a story that would culminate in ful-
fillment of a seemingly impossible
dream-to form a musical instrument
company with the name Leblanc in
Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1946.
Ieon Leblanc often told me stories
of how important quality and value are
in musical instruments. In those days,
there were many instruments that were
not constructed well, difficult to play
in tune and almost impossible to keep
in regulation. Leblanc and Noblet had
built their reputations on the superior
intonation and mechanical qualities of
their instruments, which stayed in
proper regulation for their buyers-
both students and performers.
The Leblanc and Noblet trade names
were well known in some areas of the
United States, but hardly at all in oth-
ers, making Leblanc's American start
agonizingly slow. IUon Leblanc re-
minded me that in his experience, when
a family works only for money, they
never seem able to meet their expecta-
tions. He often said that material re-
wards will come in proportion to the
contributions a manufacturer and dis-
tributor makes.
Even then, he was irritated by the
"fictitious domain" of the clarinet
world, where meaningless intangibles
sometimes take precedence over the
intrinsic values that make one instru-
ment superior to another.
Although we did not always agree, I
came to love the Leblanc family, and
our differences surely arose from the
fact that I did not always understand
their philosophy. Nonetheless, Ion
and I built a magnificent business with
our instruments, based on family
values and backed up with superior
quality and value for both the dealer
and the consumer.
When Leblanc America's sales vol-
ume grew sufficiently, I was able to
join the Young Presidents Organiza-
tion, which at that time had 800 mem-
bers throughout the U.S. and the
world. Today there are over 1800. With
that organization, I received much of
my business training, which I then
passed on to our dealers in what we
called our Dealers Sales School. I am
still very proud of the alumni of that
family of dealers.
It would be impossible to speak of
Leblanc's early contribution to music
without mentioning several key em-
ployees. When Ernie Moore was hired
to start our educational department,
he was magnificent in his ability to
inspire young band directors and mu-
sicians. When the eminent Lucien
Cailliet joined us, he brought a new
level of musicianship. Then we added
Jim Neilson, whose contributions were
also legendary.
Don McCathren and Mark Azzolina
made further contributions to the de-
velopment of the clarinet choir. Bill
Gower worked to bring together the
needs of dealers as well as educators,
prompting an exchange of ideas that
helped us build new interdependent
friendships between teachers, musi-
cians, dealers and manufacturers.
As the world works toward an im-
proved standard of living, the need for
music becomes more important to hu-
manity. I am extremely proud of the
great accomplishments the American
music industry has already made in
establishing music as one of the most
important elements of our society.
Making music is an activity proven to
have great beneficial effects on our
mental well-being in this ever more
complex, fast-paced world.
It seems, at last, that America and
the world have come to understand that
the learning of music, the making of
music and the performing of music
have the power to enrich our very hu-
manity. 0

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