Letter from Theodore Gilbert

Theodore Gilbert & Associates
Designers & Builders of Classic Pipe Organs Comprehensive Rebuilding
Six Ely Road - Wilbraham, Mass. 01095 Telephone (413) 596-9992

April 25, 2006

Dear Mr. Thomas:

Your letter was indeed a surprise and of course, prompted a walk down memory lane. In 1949, I had finished my apprenticeship and was eager to take on small projects. Yours was one of them. How I became aware of your church and with whom I dealt, I don't remember.

Upon trying the organ the first thing that hit me was the loud roar and grinding noise of the blower. I recommended a new machine. The original blower was a "Buffalo Forge Blower" and one might have imagined that there was a forge operating in the basement. Phil Croteau, a N.Y.C. organ man offered me a rather spotless Kinetic blower and I installed it in the basement.

At this point I must rely on memory which tells me that the instrument was installed on the left side of the podium in the front of the church. I seem to remember a finished, or partially finished basement room where I connected the new machine to the old wind conveyance. Had it been a dirt cellar I would have made a fuss, citing the deleterious effects on the organ of sucking up cellar dirt into the mechanism. The new blower was very quiet, although I was concerned about how long it took to get up to speed.

My associate Mr. Lawrence Trupiano tells me he did rebuilding of the Swell chest many years ago, and that there were many other mechanical issues needing attention.

In the 40's and 50's my home was in Bay Shore and at one time I was organist of St. Peters (Old St. Peters) Episcopal Church. I also studied with the organist, Chester Beebe, of St Marks church in Islip, subsequently doing work on the organ there.  About a month ago I enjoyed a day tour of the area and especially Great River, where, as a teenager, I spent untold days and weeks sailing my boat and basking in the ambience of the place. I find that the area has retained the peaceful atmosphere I enjoyed.

I hope this is all helpful to you; write again if I can help in some additional way.


Ted Gilbert

Page Revised:  24 Mar 2012