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Rachel Schwam
Puckett and Wallace
FYS: Modern Wake Forest: A Living History
March 4, 2016
A Pipe Organ’s Place at Wake Forest
Musical instruments have more value than just creating beautiful sounds and songs; for
Wake Forest College, the pipe organ signified the beginning of a new era in Winston-Salem
under Dr. Harold Tribble. The process of bringing the pipe organ in and finding someone to
perform a recital on it for the opening of the new campus was extensive yet personal. The plans
to open the new campus surfaced in 1955, and with that came the need for the pipe organ as soon
as possible. Dr. Tribble’s correspondence with Mr. William E. Pilcher, Jr., a sales representative
for a pipe organ building group, M.P. Möller, Inc., and Professor Thane McDonald, a professor
in the music department at Wake Forest, demonstrates the relationships Tribble had with each of
them. The letters themselves mostly emphasize the meticulous work put into the important
occasion of opening the Reynolda Campus later in October 1956.
Through conversational and concise language, the familiarity between writers and
recipients of the letters is revealed and in many ways is symbolic of the Wake Forest community
as a whole. Most of the correspondence between the three men was cordial in nature, yet Dr.
Tribble referred to Mr. Pilcher as “Bill” and Mr. McDonald as “Thane.” Bill and Thane still
called the president “Dr. Tribble” out of respect, but the content shows that both had close
relationships with Dr. Tribble. This intimacy had a role in the planning process, for it appears to
have made it easier. On June 7, 1955, Pilcher wrote about his visit with his wife and daughter to
Wake Forest, lamenting how his daughter Camille “will have to be satisfied elsewhere” due to
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