POWELL, Wyo. - Wyoming audiences will get a taste of the same Wild West music that thrilled crowds over a century ago when Buffalo Bill's Cowboy Band performs in Powell and Casper, March 18 and 19.
The contemporary version of the musical group that accompanied Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show is making concert stops on its way to Denver, Colo., to perform for the National Conference of the Society for American Music.
The Powell concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, in the Nelson Performing Arts Center Auditorium at Northwest College. The band performs again the next day at 2 p.m. in Casper College's Durham Hall. Both performances feature the visual slides, films clips, and narration components planned expressly for the Denver audience.
Mike Masterson, a music professor at Northwest College, directs the 20-piece group. Band members hail primarily from the Big Horn Basin, Sheridan and southern Montana, but one will be traveling from the Los Angeles area for the Denver performance. The group has been playing together for over a decade with their debut performance in 1996 during the Wild West Show sponsored by the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.
Just like the original Wild West Show, the program starts off with a spirited rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner." A sampling of the lively tunes that follow features titles like "See, The Conquering Hero Comes," "Wyoming Days," "Buffalo Bill's Farewell March and Two-Step" and "Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground."
When it comes to understanding the culture of the time, Masterson says attending the concert will be akin to hearing the sound track from a film. "The music represents and informs cultural values and meaning just like the riding, shooting, and other visual acts in the arena," Masterson said. "It's understated because there aren't words, but it still communicates to listeners who will hear the compelling sounds of music from the late 19th century and early 20th century with its values of manifest destiny and urban complexities coming together in rousing marches and other instrumental pieces."
Admission is free to both concerts.