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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)

Fan mail,   pp. 16-20

Page 19

Herman's band, and he fast became
known as the most versatile trombon-
ist in jazz. Born in Mobile, Alabama,
Urban Clifford Green began playing
at age 12 on a trombone inherited from
his two older brothers. He enlisted in
the big-band ranks at age 17 and rose
swiftly to Herman's top-ranked band.
He later set up residence in New York
and began a successful freelance and
studio career, appearing and record-
ing with such industry giants as Frank
Sinatra and Barbra Streisand. The
modest and soft-spoken trombone leg-
end continues to be much in demand,
traveling to engagements around the
world from his home in Delaware
Water Gap, Pennsylvania.
Cheers to G. Leblanc Corporation for
your first 50years of excellence in manu-
facturing musical instruments.
It was an exciting time for me in the
early days of the development of my
Martin TR4501 trombone. My friend,
Sandy Sandberg, then a representative
of the company, con-
tacted me about pro-
ducing an "Urbie
Green" model trom-
bone. He arranged a
trip to Kenosha,
where I met Vito Pas-
cucci. Vito was very
receptive to any
ideas I had about
the design of this new trombone.
This was the beginning of a series
of visits to Kenosha. There, I was for-
tunate to work closely with master
craftsman Joe Gillespie. My visits to
Kenosha continued until the final prod-
uct was ready. What a gratifying feel-
ing it was for me to see my vision of an
ideal trombone become a reality. My
TR4501 and I are still together after
several trips around the globe.
Best wishes to Leblanc for contin-
ued success in the next 50 years, and
thank you for the trombone that I still
enjoy playing today.
Urbie Green
Howard Klug
The complete clarinetist
Leblanc France 1190S Opus clarinet
Howard Klug's breadth of experience
in all areas of music, from teaching to
performing, qualify him as one of the
country's most well-rounded clarinet-
ists. He is currently professor of clari-
net and chairman of the woodwind
department at the Indiana University
School of Music. As a performer,
Howard is involved with a number of
orchestras and chamber groups, includ-
ing Chicago's Grant Park Symphony,
the Chicago Symphony, the Indianapo-
lis Chamber Orchestra, and the U.S.
Air Force Band and Symphony Orches-
tra. In addition, Mr. Klug has written
dozens of articles on clarinet pedagogy
for The Clarinet, official publication
of the International Clarinet Associa-
tion, which he served as president from
1992 through 1994.
Congratulations to G. Leblanc Corpo-
ration on this great 50-year milestone.
The clarinet world has much to be
thankful for due to
Vito Pascucci's acqui-
sition of the parent
Leblanc company in
France in 1989. For
the first time, clari-
nets specifically de-
signed by and for
American clarinet-
ists have been cre-
ated, and their impact on the industry
continues to grow. As a result of the
energy and vision with which the com-
pany decided to reinvent its lines of
clarinets and accessories in the last few
years, we have been given competitive
products to please the consumer and
challenge the rest of the industry.
In this era of diminished risk-tak-
ing, I applaud Vito and Leon Pascucci
and the rest of the Leblanc family for
their great contributions to our art. The
American clarinetist's simple desire to
make music with more responsive, flex-
ible equipment has finally been ad-
dressed, and the willingness of those
in Kenosha to listen to our requests
has been refreshing.
With the long history of the origi-
nal French company, Ets. D. Noblet
has a distinguished heritage. Vito
Pascucci's efforts to alter the scope and
direction of the modern G. Leblanc
Corporation has been appreciated by
musicians and teachers worldwide. I
congratulate the Leblanc family on the
first 50 years of its dynamic company
and I look forward to our continuing
friendship in the future.
With all best wishes,
Howard Klug
Ethel Merker
Holton's feisty diva of the horn
Holton HI 75 Merker-Matic French horn
A 50-year career has led Ethel Merker
to realms not experienced by many
other hornists of her generation, in-
cluding stints as assistant horn to Phil
Farkas with the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra, to Motown recording ses-
sions with the Jackson Five-and ev-
erything in between. Born and raised
in Chicago, Ethel received a full schol-
arship to the Northwestern University
School of Music, carrying a full course
load while holding down first chair of
the NBC broadcast orchestra, the job
that launched her career. A close friend
of Farkas, she accompanied him on
many of his trips to the Holton factory
to act as impartial judge of his French-
horn prototypes. The experience came
in handy years later, in 1995, when she
co-designed her own namesake horn,
the remarkable "Merker-Matic." Today,
Ethel's main focus is on teaching, be-
stowing on students her remarkable
breadth of experience. She still records,
performs and conducts chamber and
brass ensembles.
Believe it or not, Vito Pascucci and I
go back almost 50 years. In the late
1940s, I was rehearsing with the NBC
Radio Orchestra in Chicago-my new
gig at the time-when Vito and IUon
Leblanc stopped by the studio with
some new woodwinds for the guys.
Since I was the only woman in the
crowd packing a French horn, Vito took
notice. He said something like, "One
day we'll be making a horn for you." I
don't recall if I figured that it was a
throwaway line for the only lady in the
band or a promise for the future. To-
day it's clear it was a promise for the
future. It said a lot
about his vision, his
genius and his drive
to build horns that
drew on the ideas
and experience of
the   artists who
played them. Vito
Pascucci has passion
that goes beyond
music and business and directly to cap-
turing the soul of the sound through
innovative ideas and engineering.
Over the years, I've spent many
hours with Vito, his designers and en-
gineers, often in the company of great
French horn players like Philip Farkas
and Barry Tuckwell, all contributing
our thoughts to the development of
new products. They are times filled
with warmth, humor, the push-and-pull
of making a product better, and always
the presence of Vito's passion for mak-
ing only the best musical instruments.
I love and admire this man for his
commitment to music of all kinds and
continued on page 20

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