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Warb-a-palooza!: Warburton Music Celebrates Factory Grand Opening and 44 Years in Business

by Denyce Neilson • in
  • Features
  • February 2018
• Created: February 16, 2018

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On February 22 and 23, there’s going to be a party in Titusville, Florida: Warb-a-palooza!

The two-day event will celebrate the grand opening of Warburton Music’s new factory in Titusville. The events will kick off with a concert at the Astronaut High School Theater and will feature music of all styles, including the high school jazz ensemble and performances by Warburton artists from all over the country. The following day, Warburton’s 12-person staff will host an open house and offer tours of the new factory.

In this 12,000-square-foot space, the company will continue to manufacture their complete line of mouthpieces for trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet, cornet, French horn, trombone, tuba, accessories for brass and woodwind, and their own line of trumpets, coronets, and flugelhorns.

Warburton Music will also be celebrating their 44th year in business. In 1974, in Toronto, Canada, 24-year-old Terry Warburton opened a music store and began manufacturing his own mouthpieces. Then in 1980, Terry moved his business to Florida. Since then, Warburton Music has continued to grow, and along with his staff, the very hands-on founder has continued to develop and design Warburton products. As Product and Education coordinator Kim Aubuchon states, “Everything we make is touched by Terry at some point in the production process. He assembles and makes every one of our instruments.

He makes every trumpet, flugelhorn, and coronet. He is the only one who builds the instruments, and he likes it that way.”

Terry’s tenacity may be what has given Warburton Music its longevity. In 2005, the company headquarters and manufacturing center were housed in a building attached to Warburton home. In June of that year, the Warburton factory, along with Terry’s home, burned to the ground. Nearly everything was lost – machines, tools, and inventory. The cause of the fire was never clearly determined, but most likely came from an electrical source, possibly an air conditioner in the rear of the factory. To make matters worse, being in a rural area of Florida, there were no water hydrants on site, and the fire department had to call for a water truck. This loss of time certainly hindered the fire fighters’ ability to battle the combustion and allowed for the blaze to spread and incinerate the entire structure and all of its contents. Warburton wanted to run back in and grab some possessions, but most likely for the best, he was not allowed to. One of the only things spared from flames was their stamping machine, used to stamp the Warburton name and instrument model on most of their products. With the loss of his home, factory, and inventory, Terry picked up and started over. He relocated to Oviedo, Florida and began to rebuild Warburton Music, his factory, and inventory.

Following the 2005 fire, Warburton Music held a fundraiser concert to help the business get back on its feet. It took years to rebuild, but finally, as Kim Aubuchon tells it, “About six or seven years ago, the business started expanding. Things were picking up, and the business really started to recover from the fire. Since then, we’ve moved the locations several times. Our last space, which we were leasing, was 8,000 square feet. Around that time, business was continuing to pick up. Our lease was running out, and we were outgrowing the space, so we started searching for new locations. We finally found the new building. It’s on the same road, about two to three miles away from the previous location.”

Warburton Music has played a location hopscotch of sorts, which makes the grand opening of their new factory even more special. Unlike previous locations, Warburton Music is no longer a renter – they were able to purchase the property and now, for the first time since 2005, have a place to call home. Additionally, the new building sits on three acres of land, allowing for expansion in the future. They’ve already revamped the front area of the building for a showroom. Aubuchon notes, “We’ve been getting the office spaces arranged, along with the main factory building and all of the machines situated. A thousand pounds of machinery isn’t easy to move around. Once you set it down, if you want to move it, you can’t just scoot it over a bit.

It’s been very exciting – a lot of work, but very exciting. It’s been so neat to walk into an empty building and make it what you want it to be and look like. In our previous location, we started with an empty building, but it wasn’t ours. We couldn’t make a lot of permanent changes like we can now.”

The move was completed and the doors were opened on January 1, 2018. Things seem to be looking up, and speaking of the industry in general, Kim says, “There have been changes in the industry. There were the top companies based in Indiana and Ohio – The Bach Corporation, of course, and then Yamaha came in and became a major player, Schilke in Chicago, all of the big manufacturers.

Over the years, we’ve seen smaller, more one-on-one manufacturers pop up, at least in the trumpet world. Things have become more and more diversified. It used to be that everyone wanted to play a Bach or a Schilke, et cetera, but now you see players who are much more willing to try something new and go with smaller, more localized manufacturer like Warburton because they like what we’re doing. It’s about the product and the sense of family within the company.” They may manufacture locally, in a single location, but Warburton products and dealers can be found in just about all 50 states and locations all over the world. The company also offers products through their online store, warburtonstore.com, and eBay.

Aubuchon received a bachelor’s degree in music, with a minor in jazz, at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. She plays and has studied the trumpet for over 20 years and still performs in the St. Louis area. She’s been with Warburton for three years now, but says that most of the employees are long-time veterans, “In the early days it was just Terry and Ken, but then things started to grow and that changed.” The Titmus who she refers to is Ken Titmus, Warburton’s

vice president, who has been with the company for over 30 years. Titmus, a trumpet player himself, is the inventor of the P.E.T.E., Personal Embouchure Training Exerciser, a tool to exercise and help develop strength in the lips, facial muscles, and tongue, needed to play a wind instrument.

Ken also developed a backbore that bears his initials, KT. Kim and Ken are not the only musicians on staff at the Warburton factory – all are. The relatively small staff includes some very seasoned players.

The fundraiser that followed the 2005 fire helped Warburton Music get back on its feet, and the grand opening concert is, in some way, a thank you. “It’s the other way around this time,” Aubuchon says, “The grand opening celebration is also a way to show everyone our appreciation, how we’ve grown over the last 12 years and finally made it back.” Warburton Music has arrived, again! They’re enjoying their new digs and are looking forward to celebrating this milestone – with a Warb-a-palooza of a party.

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