Tampa Theatre organist Rosa Rio dies at 107

05/14/10 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

The legendary Tampa Theatre organist Rosa Rio has died at the age of 107. She began playing organ at movie theaters nearly a century ago.

Tara Schroeder, Tampa Theatre’s Director Programming and Marketing, was a co-worker and a friend. "She was loved by everyone," said Schroeder.

Rosa Rio was interviewed for StoryCorps early in 2009. She said, "I just love the organ."

There will be a public memorial for Rosa Rio at Tampa Theatre on Saturday, June 5, at 11:00 a.m.

Tampa Theatre memorial for Rosa Rio

Rosa Rio being interviewed by Tara Schroeder at WMNF for StoryCorps

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Rosa Rio farewell

This ends an era. Rosa was the last of the original silent film accompanists still working. The three remaining survivors I knew all died in the last nine months. A great loss to early American cinema.

We lost a treasure

Rosa Rio was the embodiment of an era, an era we actually revived in Tampa. Make no mistake, this woman was a state Treasure, and should be remembered as such.