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Karl Wright (1896-1981)
Butte, Montana
 
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Organist Karl Wright at the console of the American Master organ in the Rialto Theatre, Butte Montana c.1925. Photo, courtesy Ron McDonald
 
The following information is from the Speculator, Journal of Butte and Southwest Montana History. Winter 1985 Volume 2, number 1:
 
Karl Wright, pianist and teacher, came to Butte as a small child in 1905. He studied with a Butte teacher, but like Fisher Thompson in his early youth, he had such musical genius he taught himself. Later Karl studied with two outstanding teachers, Ralph Raugh of Billings, and Elsa MacPherson of Butte.
 
In '23, Karl began playing organ at the old Ansonia and American Theatres, and in 1925 started playing organ at the Rialto. After the advent of sound pictures, he worked at the Fox Theatre playing for Fanchon and Marco vaudeville. Extremely versatile and possessing great wit and personality, he played at Meaderville's famous Rocky Mountain Cafe for a number of years to the great delight of the patrons. Karl was in constant demand for dance reviews and road shows. In fact, he was perhaps the last musician in Butte qualified to take charge of the music for the traveling road shows. Organist for fifty years at the Immaculate Conception Church, he gave a concert in May of '81 just before his last illness. He was eighty-five at the time. Karl produced many artistic students throughout the years, including Phyllis Stout Storer, Pauline Murphy and Jim Driscoll.


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