2021 Feature Peekskill History Reflections

A fellow craftsman discovers one man’s reason to be

Paul Laubin, oboe & English horn maker/manufacture portrait holding his hand-crafted oboe in his shop.

Peekskill photographer Joseph Squillante recalls his visit to the oboe workshop of Paul Laubin who died March 1. 

In search of all the special goings on in Peekskill for a photography exhibit at the Field Library, I was invited by Meredith Laubin to photograph her husband the distinguished Paul Laubin in his shop. Upon entering I found an old-world-style craftsman making oboes and English horns right here in our town that day in 2019.

Seeing this old-world-style craftsman at work, I was transported to another time and place. But no, it was happening here and now. Amidst all of the tools, benches, welding materials and more, I was greeted by an overwhelming sense of warmth and openness to share in a sincerity and calm brought about by one man’s reason to be. Paul was carrying on a tradition of world-renowned instrument makers and his own family’s tradition as well.

Paul was pleased to share in the work he was doing that day all the while explaining how oboes were made. He was most gracious in allowing me to enter his world and to have his portrait created. We spent time touring the shop.  I will always remember when he opened one of his many tool drawers to expose over fifty drill bits to my astounded eyes… and I asked “where in the world did you find these bits,” his humble response said with a smile was, “I make them.”

Peekskill is history alive and Paul Laubin’s life here was a testament to that. He has added to our rich and diverse story, and I am grateful. Thank you Paul.

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