Sousa Archives Opens 2015 with the Sights and Sounds of its Newly Restored Deagan 4728 Marimba-Xylophone

Images taken of the original condition of the Sousa Archives’ Deagan 4728 marimba-xylophone on February 20, 2014 (lower left) through the restoration process, final reconstruction with Andres Bautista and Gabriel Arellano (upper left), and performance on the newly restored instrument by Chris Simon and Andres Bautista on October 22, 2014 (upper right).

The Sousa Archives’ c. 1914 Deagan marimba-xylophone was restored in 2014 by Andres Bautista and Gilberto Serna (not pictured) of Century Mallet which is housed in the J. C. Deagan factory building located in Chicago.  While there is little information on the provenance of this instrument prior to its donation to the University of Illinois Bands sometime during the 1980s, it has remained integral part of the Sousa Archives’ collections.  The restoration of this unusual five-octave instrument was made possible through the generous support of the University Library’s Conservation Department, and the initial planning, implementation, and completion of this work occurred between February and October 2014.  The images in this collage briefly highlight the nine-month restoration journey of our Deagan 4728 beginning with the documentation of its poorly deteriorated condition (the original nickel-plated resonators, rack, and rails had been painted a dark navy blue by someone during the 1980s) [pictured lower left] through the cleaning and repair of the resonators by Andres Bautista [pictured lower right] and the restoration of the original rosewood keys by Gilberto Serna, master tuner for the Deagan company and whose Deagan company teacher was the one who originally cut and tuned the keys to our instrument.  The fully restored instrument returned to the Sousa Archives in late September and was re-assembled by Bautista and one of his assistants in October [pictured upper left] in preparation for a special lecture on the history of the Deagan company and its creation of the Deagan 4728 instrument line.  At the end of his presentation Bautista was joined by Chicago percussionist, Scott Simon, in a short performance of several musical selections to highlight the hundredth anniversary of the Sousa Archives’ newly restored Deagan marimba-xylophone.  Listen to the lovely sounds of George Hamilton Green’s Arabian Minute Dance performed by Scott Simon and Andres Bautista on October 22, 2014.

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