Letters from Vito
Foreword by Paul R. Coats:
Mr. Vito Pascucci is CEO and co-founder (with Leon Leblanc) of G. Leblanc Corp of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Leblanc has brought us Leblanc and Noblet Clarinets, Holton brass, Martin Saxophones, Yanagisawa Saxophones, and of course, the instruments with which many of us started our musical careers, the Vitos! Here are excerpts from his letters:
Soon after the war I met Mr. Strasser, the remaining owner of Strasser, Marigaux and Lemaire. They were very successful with their Marigaux oboe. It was made in Paris in the early days; now in La Couture Boussey where we have our Leblanc/Noblet factory.
Yves Rilba recently retired. That seems to be the goal of all Frenchmen–to retire as soon as possible–Yves is 60 years old. He has done a wonderful job for SML. It’s interesting that they moved to La Couture in 1975 when they bought the Malerne business. Mr. Malerne was a Noblet foreman in 1904. He played clarinet in the La Couture Municipal Band and Mr. Georges Leblanc was the director. Mr. Leblanc would complain that Mr. Malerne’s intonation was not good and after he started his own factory it got even worse! Because they were good friends, Mr. Malerne enjoyed upsetting Mr. Leblanc and this was one of their ways of having fun.
The SML company was sold to Seeberg, a Chicago juke-box manufacturer. I negotiated with the principals of that company for four months hoping to acquire it, and it did not work out. What a small world this is.
Hopefully some year we will again resume the production of the Leblanc System saxophone and that we will be able to produce the type of sound you enjoy and found in the old SML saxophone.
Leblanc owned the Beaugnier Saxophone Company of Mantes. They manufactured the complete family of saxes but their production was very, very small. Their factory was located across the street from the Selmer factory in Mantes. Mr. Beaugnier made wonderful instruments, but unfortunately their cost of production was so high that eventually Mr. Leblanc closed the plant. We still have all the tooling, but labor costs would be too high.
Georges Leblanc’s son, Leon, and I were partners. He will be 99 years old in November. He was married last year for the first time to his lady friend of 40 years. The French newspapers made a big story out of the fact that it took him 40 years to make up his mind. Mrs. Leblanc is a very, very intelligent lady and I am so pleased they act like 20-year-old newlyweds. It is possible because Mr. Leblanc started his musical career playing the soprano sax.
Leon and Mary marrying at such advanced ages for each of them is interesting, and certainly is ending bachelorhood at age 98 years young! They are doing well and Mr. Leblanc has agreed to begin work on a new model soprano clarinet, the LL100 for his 100th year.
Kindest personal regards.