It Lives! J. C. Deagan’s Marimba Xylophone Returns to the Sousa Archives on October 22, 2014

J. C. Deagan 4728 Marimba-Xylophone

The Sousa Archives’ c. 1914 Deagan marimba-xylophone has been restored and returned to the University of Illinois’ Center for American Music.   Join Andres Bautista, tuner and Deagan instrument conservator, in a noon-time discussion at the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, room 240 Harding Band Building, of his recent restoration of this instrument and the history of the Deagan music company.  After his presentation he will be joined by Chicago percussionist Scott Simon in a performance of music duets performed on the newly restored instrument.

John Calhoun Deagan produced his first scientifically designed and perfectly tuned glockenspiel in 1880, and began a lengthy career as a master builder of musical bells and other percussion instruments in St. Louis, Missouri. By 1897, he had moved his company to Chicago, and for the next fifteen years Deagan steadily introduced a variety of new percussion instruments such as steel marimbaphones, aluminum chimes, tuned metal bamboos and cowbells, musical coins and rattles, as well as flat top orchestra bells, Parsifal, and roundtop bells. By 1916 the Deagan catalog listed over six hundred distinct instruments including fifty models of marimbaphone, marimba-xylophone and nabimbas which could be scaled up to five octaves. One of the largest of these mallet instruments was the Deagan 4728 xylorimba that was produced between 1910 and 1924.

For further information on this special lecture and performance contact the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at either 217-333-4577 or (

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