OAKLAND — A concert to pay tribute to longtime musician and teacher Gerry Wright is planned for Sunday at the J. Duke Albanese Performing Arts Center at Messalonskee High School.

Gerry Wright Courtesy photo

Wright, who was 89 when he died Oct. 1 at his home in Winslow, was known throughout New England for his musical talents and 71-year career as a pianist and teacher.

The concert, organized by Messalonskee teacher Andy Forster, is planned for 2 to 4 p.m. and is to include music by the Al Corey Band, under the direction of Brian Nadeau. Special guests are to include Chris Neville on piano, Darmon Meader on tenor saxophone and Steve Fotter on guitar. Meader and Fotter are also expected to sing.

Wright played for many years with the band and had planned to perform with it in November.

The concert is free and open to the public, although donations will be accepted for the Gerry L. Wright Summer Camp Scholarship, care of the Messalonskee High School Music Department.

Wright taught from 1970 to 1998 in School Administrative District 47, which later became Regional School Unit 18, based in Oakland, and then taught in the gifted and talented program in Waterville and the choral music program in Fairfield.


Wright taught piano and vocals at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield from 2005 to 2018, after which he continued to perform and accompany other musicians. He also played the piano occasionally at what is now the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, for 27 years.

Wright began working at Al Corey’s Music Center in Waterville in 1962 as a store clerk and later became part of Corey’s band.

He met musician Fred Petra in 1952 and played with the Fred Petra Band in New England and Canada for more than 40 years. He also played with his longtime friend and fellow musician Don Doane and his Portland band.

Wright was a pianist for the Tony Bruno Orchestra of Boston. He played at the world’s fairs in New York and Montreal, and appeared with stars, including Elvis Presley, the Lennon Sisters, Vaughn Monroe, Brenda Lee and Dizzy Gillespie.

He also performed years ago at the Lakewood Theater in Madison for shows featuring celebrities that included Phyllis Diller, Milton Berle, Della Reese, Ann Corio and Jim Bailey.

He was the Shrine Circus organist for 30 years, played at the Skowhegan State Fair and other fairs and taught piano at University of Maine at Augusta and choir at the University of Maine at Farmington.

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