Where the “Shoogy-Shoo” Resides

The basement receiving room at the Archives is filled with music these days. Alas, not the kind you can hear.

Seventy-plus boxes of printed music have come our way. Most of it had been abandoned in the upper floors of the Masonic Temple building, which is next to the Mother Lode Theater on Park Street. [Thank you, Bill Hill, for making sure that historical treasures don’t end up in dumpsters …]

Often the music bears the stamps of long-ago musicians who made their living in Butte in its glory years. Perhaps some of them worked solely as musicians at one of Butte’s many theaters in the days before movies became “talkies.” Or perhaps they were music instructors with private students.  Many more likely had “day jobs,” like the miners who were members of the famous Butte Mines Band. Being part of a band or small orchestra added a little extra income, and likely a lot of fun.

It is great to have volunteers helping with the project of sorting and cataloging this music. Not just because it makes the work load lighter, but so that there is someone to laugh with when we run into some hilarious old lyrics. Or burst into song with when we actually recognize some old piece.

Praise music! And praise volunteers!



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