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Ken Fuller
Spokane, WA
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Ken Fuller was born in Seattle, Washington and started piano study at age four with his mother who was a graduate of the Findlay Music Conservatory in Findlay, Ohio. At age five he began studies with Ms. Margeurite Hood, a prominent teacher at the time. On trips to town he would beg to stop and listen to a blind man playing accordion in front of the Penney’s store. Ken became fascinated with the accordion and started studies with Walter Schelp. He was auditioned to appear on a talent show at the Florence Theatre, located under the Smith Tower and he won by playing patriotic numbers. Ken appeared on another talent show at the Palomar Theatre, won, and was asked to remain as a weekly appearing artist. This led to a steady spot on the “Uncle Frank's Children’s Hour over KOMO Radio and also the “Dam Bar Program” sponsored by the Thompson Candy Co. over KOL Radio.
By age seven Ken was appearing several times a week on radio and for clubs. He was accepted for studies with Frank Iaccolucci, one of the top accordionists in the nation and continued piano with William Coburn, a known composer of the day.
Ken was invited to join a USO troupe to entertain servicemen at the various military installations. He amassed several thousand hours of service over the next decade.
Ken listened to the theatre organ played at noon at the Rhodes Department Store and was smitten with the sound, however the Hammond was affordable and it became the compromise. Mother and teachers had classical plans but Ken was enamored with Jazz and the music of the day, so piano was dropped in favor of the accordion. Ken would leave the radio on all night and learned all the contemporary songs of the day. As time went on, with a little help from a false ID, he played with the Bob Harvey Orchestra at the Trianon Ballroom; Jackie Souders Orchestra and appeared with the Late Louis Armstrong at the Palomar Theatre. He appeared in concert with Anthony Galla-Rinni at the Women’s Century Theatre and the following year with Charles Magnante.
Upon graduation from high school Ken was recruited by the late Larry Laprise of the Sun Valley Trio and went to Sun Valley as accordionist and arranger. In 1957, he moved to the Inland Empire and taught and played, appearing with Eddy Peabody, the Banjo King and started a sales career with Music City Spokane selling organs and pianos. Ken was hired to accompany Norma Zimmer at the Spokane Opera House and opened for Sonny & Cher at the Great Falls Fair. In 1958 he married his wife Carol who was a member of the First Nazarene church and they asked him to take over the organ responsibilities until they could secure an organist. In 1973 the church purchased the famous Seattle Liberty Theatre organ from Pacific Lutheran University and his life long dream came true as he is principal organist and the church is refurbishing the wonderful Wurlitzer under the direction of Clint Meadway and Russ Evans.

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