Chicago Benge #526
One of the most enduring mysteries of Chicago Benge history has been solved.
Legend had it that #526 was sold to a colleague in the Chicago Symphony. I've doubted this
ever since reading an ITG article by Frank Kaderabek* in which he states that #527 was owned
by Frank Holz (a CSO colleague who also doubled on violin, and whose daughter is said to have designed the Benge Staff Logo) and #528 was owned by Ed Masacek (also a CSO colleague; Kaderabek was his student and eventually bought that trumpet, which he still owns). In 1936 that would leave Edward Llewellyn (who died in September 1936 and had his own namesake model of trumpet, the Holton Llewellyn) or Renold Schilke, who, to anyone's knowledge, had never owned #526. Benge told Kaderabek that #525 didn't play well, so that has left the fate of #526 a mystery.
One of Elden Benge's longtime friends was Frank Anglund (1903-1960), who played for the Chicago
Theater in Chicago, and, later, with the NBC Orchestra (also in Chicago). Anglund was a noted
teacher and mouthpiece maker who also became Benge's agent in downtown Chicago. Many players,
such as Betty O'Hara and Chuck Stine, picked out their Benges in Anglund's studio.
Anglund himself owned two Chicagos: #526, purchased in 1936, and #1501, the first (or second)
large bore Benge, purchased in 1946 when Anglund switched from the theater to the orchestra.
Benge thought that Anglund need a new trumpet due to the different playing challenges that his new
job would bring. Following Anglund's death, #1501 was purchased by Anglund's son-in-law, John
Sullivan, who was also a professional trumpeter in Houston, TX. In August 2007 Sullivan sold
#1501 to John Baber. It is currently owned by Wayne Wright.
#526 was willed to Sullivan by his father-in-law. Sullivan has retired from playing, but the horn is
still in the family, as Sullivan gave the horn to Anglund's nephew, Ron Turner, a professional
trumpeter based in Atlanta. In September 2018 Turner sold it to Wright, who acheived his goal of
reuniting the Anglund trumpets!
I had the pleasure of interviewing John Sullivan via telephone on August 9, 2006, May 3, 2007 and
July 5, 2007.
It seems that the receiver and leadpipe of #526 may have been replaced along the way; I welcome
opinions from those who may recognize the design. The original bell was certainly replaced, which is not a surprise, as many early Chicagos, when brought in to Elden Benge for repairs, left with a new bell.
* This information was confirmed in telephone interviews with Mr. Kaderabek
in February 2006 and February 2007.
Chicago Benge #1501
Note the "L" stamped just above the "Benge" stamp.
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