A Joyful Legacy of Music

"Where words fail, music speaks." - Hans Christian Andersen


by Chloe Quimby, Sara Vogt - July 3, 2015

“Life is like a piano; the white keys represent happiness and the black show sadness.  But as you go through life’s journey, remember that the black keys also create music.” ~ Author Unknown

Last year, for the first time, Thomas Putnam of Hamilton Gibson brought pianos to Wellsboro’s Main Street. Many talented individuals came together to make this possible for our community. The process began with the donation of the pianos, continued through their restoration and decoration, and finally concluded with their placement on the street. Hometown residents and visitors alike took advantage of sitting down to play a tune. Now, once again, these pianos will give us all an opportunity to celebrate the people and the music of our community.

On this occasion last year, WHP spoke to Thomas Putnam himself, and one of the artists, Mary Wise, to learn more about this musical venture. This year, we had the opportunity to speak with the man behind the scenes, David Driskell, whose work tuning these wonderful, old instruments has brought them back to life. David, himself an accomplished musician, holds a degree in clarinet performance from the University of Colorado. He also demonstrated his musical skills on the pianos in the Warehouse, showing us the different sounds they create. Additionally, he related the history of the Doylemarx piano (to be located in front of Dunham’s) and its beginnings with Martin Doyle Marks.*

(Learn more about the Doylemarx piano in this video.)

David further discussed the nature of our community’s love of music–for both the listener and the musician. He also touched on how we as a community can honor Katie Brennan by continuing her legacy of loving and serving others. Katie went home to her Lord on June 25th, 2015. For over twenty years Katie was involved with many local organizations, such as Hamilton Gibson as choir director, Trinity Lutheran Church as the elementary music teacher, and St. Paul’s Catholic Church as the organist and cantor. As music teacher, Katie taught the children at Trinity Lutheran School songs that helped teach them how to live. Her love of God, love of life, and love of others blessed all who knew her. As Katie would remind us, J.O.Y. is a great acronym to remember how to prioritize our lives–Jesus, Others, and You–putting Christ first and foremost, and others above yourself. Katie exemplified this lifestyle, leaving family and friends an admirable legacy.

The six unique pianos will be placed on Main Street for your playing and listening enjoyment beginning the week of July 6th. As Ronald Reagan said, “Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.”

Piano locations are as follows: 
Gulbransen, Chicago 1925 (Player piano with mechanism removed)
Features: “Play me I’m Yours” painted across its front
Location: Indigo Wireless

Estey, New York 1918
Features: Grand Canyon Picture painted on its front
Location: Penn Wells Hotel

Sterling Co. Derby Connecticut, 1898
Features: Painted leaves and vines, “Play me I’m Yours” on ivories
Location: Ginn & Vickory

Doylemarx, D. S. Andrus & Co. 1916 (Sold from Elmira store, 309 E. Water St.)
Features: Painted blue with birds
Location: Dunhams

Vollmer, Chicago 1920
Features: Painted black and white
Location: Timeless Destination

Baldwin Spinet 1950s
Features: Painted with bright colors
Location: C&N Bank

*Marks began in 1893 by delivering pianos to Tioga County residents out of the back of his wagon! For more information about M. Doyle Marks please go to http://www.joycetice.com/business/doylemarx.htm

For more information about David Driskell you may visit www.sadiegreensales.com


Writing: Chloe Quimby, Sara Vogt


Produced by Vogt Media

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