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Thread: Chris Thile in London Interview

  1. #26
    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Here's a not-so-great scan of another image of the orchestra that was apparently part of one of the early Gibson catalogs. From it I don't think we learn anything. Most interesting part of this is that there is someone in the Loar community that thinks their instrument also came out of this orchestra which would then account for all three Loars in the other photo that was a part of this interview. This is supported by someone well known to the community that has similar information separate from this interview. Over the weekend I had conversations with the granddaughter of the Semisch Loar owner and after showing the photo to her elderly mother I'm afraid we didn't get a firm identification, but are now following a couple of other names of people in the photo, a married couple. All interesting. No telling where this ends but I'm having fun with it. Also beginning to pick up the possibility there was an orchestra in Augusta, Kansas, which is maybe 15 miles from there. This being an area that had (and still has) a fairly major oil industry it's not surprising that some of the best instruments Gibson had available at the time might have ended up here. And then there's Wichita just down the road. No telling what the mandolin/guitar orchestra scene there may have held.

    If only we could find the original sales logs of the instruments from this period, but it's doubtful they still exist.
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  2. #27
    Gilchrist (pick) Owner! jasona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Great interview for sure--thanks for asking the questions we mandoholics would appreciate!

    Also I am fascinated by this historical turn of events and am looking forward to leaning more as Scott digs it up!
    Jason Anderson

    "...while a great mandolin is a wonderful treat, I would venture to say that there is always more each of us can do with the tools we have available at hand. The biggest limiting factors belong to us not the instruments." Paul Glasse

    Stumbling Towards Competence

  3. #28
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    Yes, nice job Dan and Scott.

    Having listened to an advance copy of the CD, I can confirm that the production does indeed mark a very big change for the P-Bros. As Chris points out, the first recordings were about capturing the well-honed acoustic sound of the band. The new disc is unlike anything I've heard before, and very unlike the experience of hearing the band live in recent years. It took me a few listenings just to adjust my expectations, but I'm diggin' it now.
    I got the vinyl at the first show of this tour in Milwaukee ... stunning production values.....

  4. #29
    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

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    His name is Virgil Bisagno.

    He's pictured above in this news article holding the mandolin now owned by Chris Thile. The photo on the left is the original photo Chris provided for this interview. The photo on the right is from the 1925 El Dorado yearbook. I have several pictures of him from 1925 and one from 1924. I first noticed him in the 1924 yearbook and was pretty convinced I'd found him but once I saw the Senior pictures, no doubt.

    I'm in El Dorado, Kansas at a coffee shop after spending a good part of the afternoon at the Butler County Historical Society researching Fisher's Gibson Mandolin Orchestra of El Dorado. I have a gig here tonight at a small concert hall so took the opportunity to come down early to do this research. Special thanks to the two ladies at the museum who spent a couple of hours assisting me. Pretty exciting to put a name to a face that'd been haunting me for some time. I probably won't post more pix today as the coffee shop is about to close. El Dorado isn't New York City or L.A. 5:00 p.m. in this town is closing time.

    A bit about Virgil: president of the Library Club his senior year, Treasure of the French Club his junior year. Apparently did not partake in any sports or other clubs at school. He married Zelda Emma Crommet, November 5, 1927, also a senior the same year. She appears to be in the Library club as well his senior year. Interestingly, in scanning the orchestra picture, there's one young girl that looks strikingly like her and she's seated directly in front of him. More on her but not now. He was born November 27, 1907 and died March 6, 2006 in Siskiyou, California (Siskiyou is a county I've now been told).

    Found advertisements for Howard Fisher in some phone books, various addresses for his studio and home, none of which exist now. The address for his Gibson studio is now a vacant lot, not surprisingly.

    More on this later. Dug up a bunch of other information about Virgil, his wife and the Fisher orchestra but don't have time to share it right this moment. Too much to process.
    Last edited by Scott Tichenor; Feb-23-2013 at 7:01pm.

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  6. #30
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

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    This is an advertisement for Fisher's studio from a town directory. Found two different home addresses for him and the studio address but those locations had all been demolished and replaced by pretty modern newer structures clearly not from the same time period for the residences. The studio was an empty lot. Was hoping of course to find the home the orchestra picture was taken in front of but assumed it to be long gone and it was.

    Like the "Threaded Instruments" reference. Interesting.

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  8. #31
    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

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    Another picture of Virgil as President of the Library Club. He's in the center with light sweater and tie. Believe the girl top right in the back row may be his future wife. There's a better photo I have of her from the yearbook and as already stated I believe she may be in the orchestra seated in front of her. Inconclusive though, speculation.

    Also found reference today to the Semisch family, owners of the Loar recently discovered near where I live and in the possession of Mass Street Music in Lawrence, KS for awhile before being sold. Something on my to-do list to pursue further at a later time.

    The museum is in the process of getting a new microfilm reader so won't be available for another two weeks so that's a future project and where I think I'll ultimately find the original photo and hopefully the names of all members of the orchestra which is my ultimate goal.

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  10. #32

    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    What a great project, Scott! I can almost feel the unique eye-strain of a day at the microfilm reader!
    BradKlein
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    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    What a great project, Scott! I can almost feel the unique eye-strain of a day at the microfilm reader!
    Brad, didn't spend a single moment looking over microfilm. The museum doesn't have a reader at the moment but has new ones arriving in two weeks. Got lucky on my own finding him in the yearbook. All of the dots connected on this one. I'll head back down in a few weeks once the new tools are in place. I'd bet good money right now that photo of the orchestra appeared in the paper and I'm hoping the names of the members were included. Still have quite a bit of information but may hold onto it for awhile.

  12. #34
    Gilchrist (pick) Owner! jasona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Well done Scott!
    Jason Anderson

    "...while a great mandolin is a wonderful treat, I would venture to say that there is always more each of us can do with the tools we have available at hand. The biggest limiting factors belong to us not the instruments." Paul Glasse

    Stumbling Towards Competence

  13. #35
    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Quote Originally Posted by jasona View Post
    Well done Scott!
    Man I really do love this kind of history,well done and keep it up because with a little knowledge these instruments can do even more talking.and well who don't like that!

  14. #36
    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Here's the Senior photo of Zelda Crommet, Virgil's wife to be. The yearbook had small quotes about each senior, hers was:

    Zelda Crommett, the lucky girl,
    Has hair she doesn't have to curl.

    It was 1925 mind you...

    I think there's a possibility she is in the orchestra sitting just in front of Virgil but I'm far less certain of that. Also have another photo I think is her in the Library Club of which he was the president. No surprise if they married they were following each other around the school activities.

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  15. #37
    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    A photo of the local town directory showing Fisher's entry which doesn't particularly tell us anything new.

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  16. #38
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Wonderful, Scott. It is very exciting to attach the people and their history to the instruments we love. I have been lucky to have that experience with a few of mine. Keep up the good work.
    Jim

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  17. #39
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Oh man, this stuff is great.

    I hated history in school. It was all just this stuff that happened in books. No connection to me.

    In school I used to work on my math homework during history class, or read other small books held inside the huge history book. The ARRL license manual was a regular.

    But if this kind of history were alluded to, if I played mandolin at the time and got into where it came from and who owned it, I might never have become an engineer.
    Indulge responsibly!

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  18. #40

    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    There was a mando-maniac named Tichenor
    Whose website all the eight-string pickers did adore
    Thile scored a Feb. 18, not one but two, now that’s a scene
    Mandolin Café’s the place if you are into Loar!
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    And Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Ft. Worth Blues

  19. #41
    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Still one of our favorite interviews for the "surprise" that happened ultimately after the article was published and I discovered the name of Thile's original mandolin owner with new photos I got to show him that course he (and no one else) had seen since the 1920s.

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  21. #42
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    So cool.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  22. #43
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Noting today's anniversary of this 2012 interview with Chris that Dan Beimborn made happen. Still enjoying the memory of digging through the 1920s El Dorado, KS high school yearbook looking for the name of the original owner of his Loar and seeing pictures of this young guy that looked an awful lot like the picture that came with the mandolin when he purchased it. And then, the Senior picture that sealed the deal.

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  24. #44
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    Default Re: Chris Thile in London Interview

    Noting today's anniversary of this interview that ultimately led to us discovering the name of the original owner of Chris Thile's Gibson mandolin.

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