In 1964, Robert E. L. Kahle left a job with Air Products and Chemicals to follow his dream of opening a band instrument repair service. Kahle’s Instrument Repair Service was started in the basement of the family home in Emmaus, but soon moved to a storefront that supplied music, accessories and provided music lessons on most instruments to residents of the Lehigh Valley. In addition, we repaired musical instruments of all types, as well as rented and sold new instruments. Working in this family business environment and his love of music, gave Bob Kahle a foundation to pursue a career as a piano technician.
While attending Emmaus High School, Bob played clarinet and saxophone in the marching band, bassoon in the symphonic wind ensemble and piano in the “Esquires” stage band. Following graduation, he attended Penn State University where he received a BA degree in Applied Music.
Returning to Emmaus to assist with the family business, Bob Kahle began taking responsibility for purchasing and maintaining the music inventory, as well as piano tuning and repairing. In 1981, he moved to Long Island to apprentice for a year at the Dante Piano Rebuilding Company in Ronkonkoma, New York. There he learned the craft of piano restoration, which includes pin block replacement, soundboard and bridge repairs, hammer installation, key recovering and action, and damper regulation.
Upon completion of that apprenticeship, Bob Kahle returned to the Lehigh Valley. He relocated the shop from Emmaus to Allentown where he worked closely with piano technician Thomas R. Heinze, the owner of Titlow’s Music Store on the Hamilton Mall. In addition to working with his own customers, Bob assisted with moving pianos, as well as repairing and rebuilding pianos for Titlow’s Music Store.
Following the closing of Titlow’s in 1999, Bob Kahle returned to Emmaus and established his piano business at it’s present location, which was the site of his father’s musical instrument repair service.