In 1925 young Musician Wilton Hebert started studying piano technology with the Nyles Bryant Piano Tuning & Service Course. Following an aprenticeship at Werleins Music Store in New Orleans, Louisiana he began a piano servicing career that spanned over 60 years. Wilton also trained his brother, two sons and several grandsons. Together, the Heberts represent a virtual clan of piano tuners and technicians!
But our musical history goes much further back than that, our family has had a very long tradition of music going back far, into the past.
Two young Hebert brothers, Antoine and Jean-Baptiste arrived in Canada, in 1640 and started families. In 1755, following the conquest of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by the British, French Catholics were driven out of Canada, moving first to Maryland, then to Louisiana where they helped establish a culture and home uniquely French in southern Louisiana.
Among their descendants was Gilbert Hebert, born in 1804, who was a musician and played violin. Gilbert eventually passing his love of music and his violin to his oldest son Emile who passed it to his son Delma. Delma Hebert had 12 children (three died between 1900 and 1905) of which four went on to become professional musicians in the Louisiana Six Orchestra.
The Louisiana Six Orchestra was organized in 1923 and featured Cap Hebert (trumpet), Noah Hebert (piano and bass), Viola Hebert (banjo and guitar), Wilton Hebert (clarinet & saxophone), Coosoon Girouard (trombone) and Leo Girouaurd (drum). The band played throughout the deep south in the 20's and 30's, eventually growing to nine members. The band dissolved in 1941 when members began to be drafted into the military.
After the war the members went into other professions. In the Hebert family Cap Hebert learned to repair TVs and electronics, and Wilton studied piano technology, passing this on to his brother Noah and his sons.
The Hebert music tradition has continued. Wilton's two sons both played music, Preston played guitar and bass in military bands in Europe in the 60's and today plays tuba in community bands in Lafayette and New Iberia, Lloyd studied trombone and piano, getting a degree in music at USL and going on to teach in Louisiana's high schools, then at USC and Pasadena City College in California.
Two of Lloyd's sons studied music, Blaine Hebert played trombone through college and Wardell Hebert plays keyboard, guitar, trumpet and piano.
Other members of the Hebert family have gone on into the music and entertainment industry. Kent Gonsoulin is a local Cajun humorist. Jacque Louvierre is a music publisher and recording engineer. James Dering teaches college music and is a regular performing musician in Texas and Louisiana. More recently Robin and Aijia Guttman, great grand children of Wilton Hebert have begun professional music careers in Southern California. The Hebert Clan now includes musician Andy Grammer.
The Hebert Family
A Tradition of Music
Wilton, Noah and the Louisiana Six Orchestra
1906 – 1997
Wilton Hebert came from a family of farmers and musicians. Starting out as a young man Wilton took up woodwind instruments, mastering clarinet and saxophone, eventually performing professionally with other family members in the Louisiana Six orchestra. In 1925 Wilton Hebert studied the Nyles Bryant Piano Tuning & Service Course. Following an apprenticeship at Werleins Music Store in New Orleans, Louisiana he began a piano servicing career that spanned over 60 years. Wilton also trained his brother Noah, two sons and several grandsons.
1911 – 1987
Noah Hebert was the pianist in the original Louisiana Six band (shown here with his wife Louise). As his family grew he took up piano technology with his brother Wilton. Noah tuned pianos across southern Louisiana from Lake Charles to New Orleans. Noah taught his son Jerry Hebert and a grandson piano technology.
The Louisiana Six Orchestra
The Louisiana Six toured across the deep south through the 20's and 30's, eventually enlarging to become Cap Hebert and His Louisianians Orchestra.
After WW II, and with growing families to feed, the members of the orchestra settled down to more stable careers. Older brother and trumpeter Cap Hebert became an electronics technician. Wilton and his brother Noah took up piano service with Wilton working in the Lafayette and New Iberia area and Noah servicing in more far-flung territories from Lake Charles to New Orleans.
Music continued to be an important part of the lives of all of the Heberts as long as they could hold up their instruments and Wilton tuned and serviced pianos almost into his 90's.