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French Joins jj Babbitt Co. as Director of Engineering

Victoria Wasylak • People • September 3, 2020

Chris French has joined the jj Babbitt Company’s team of professional craftsmen and women as director of engineering, according to an announcement by Steve Rorie, president. French will work directly with Rorie and Jim Green, vice president of manufacturing, in the areas of process quality and control, product quality and consistency, technology adaptation and new product design.

“I’ve worked directly with Chris intermittently since the mid 90’s,” Rorie said. “I believe he fits perfectly with our plans to develop and selectively introduce new technology while preserving and further perfecting the core elements of craftsmanship that are the hallmark of jj Babbitt’s iconic brands.”

French brings a wide array of skills to jj Babbitt. Most recently, he held positions with The Selmer Company as well as Eastman Winds, Gemeinhardt, Altus, and Powell Flutes. Prior to that, he lived in Los Angeles where he was a regular performing musician with major movie and recording studios. He played in Broadway shows and for many touring headliners, including Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra Jr., and Henry Mancini. French also started a woodwind repair service and customization company, C. French Woodwinds, in Van Nuys, California, where he quickly drew a following of high-level professional players from all over North America. His music industry career includes orchestra positions with Mexico City and Filarmonica de Toluca as well as guest appearances in Los Angeles, New York, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Orleans, and Indiana. He holds both Bachelor and Masters’ of Music degrees from The Juilliard School in New York City.

In addition to his new role with jj Babbitt, French holds adjunct faculty positions teaching woodwind performance at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana University at South Bend, and St Mary’s College, all located in South Bend, Indiana and at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. French also specializes in the development and construction of specialized tooling as well as rebuilding and restoring classic automobiles such as his two Model A’s and his 1966 Mustang.

Celebrating its 100th year in 2019, the jj Babbitt Company, Inc. has produced millions of clarinet and saxophone mouthpieces in Elkhart, Indiana and is legendary throughout the world for superior craftsmanship and quality control, as well as exceptional value. Mouthpiece variations are sold exclusively through music distributors under the brand names Otto Link, Meyer, jj Babbitt, Wolfe Tayne, Guy Hawkins, Portnoy, and Hite.

Custom mouthpieces with private labeling are also available. The principal OEM supplier to the world’s largest instrument manufacturers, jj Babbitt-made mouthpieces are played by musicians ranging in skill from school children to some of the world’s most famous professionals.

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