Denver Tours

Conference Special Events & Friday Tours

Wednesday Evening, 18 March

Opening Reception

Thursday Evening, 19 March
Presentation of SAM 2009 Honorary Membership to Tony Isaacs, Founder, Indian House Records, and Performance of Native American Music
7:30–9:30p.m. (Trinity Church)

Read more about Tony Isaacs and Indian House Records

Friday Afternoon, 20 March
Buffalo Bill’s Cowboy Band and Wild West Show

Though the Wild West show still attracts much attention from both historians and the general public, little regard has been given to the music that accompanied this influential exhibition. Excited by the show's intense visual drama and the action-packed, mythic, arena storytelling, American and European audiences vicariously experienced specific historic incidents and other aspects of the Western experience. To complete the show's sensory experience, the Cowboy Band paced, animated, and expressed the necessary aural moods to enhance the performance and further thrill audiences, as does music at such contemporary cultural events as films, sports games, circuses, and more. This ensemble will recreate for modern audiences the authentic, mostly nineteenth century sounds of this often overlooked aspect of the Wild West performance.

Cody brought to his audiences an American musical diversity representative of the times—styles like the ordered marches representing nineteenth century notions of progress in American history, ragtime-influenced pieces embodying the cultural diversity of urban, industrial reality at the beginning of twentieth century, and light overtures and orchestral transcriptions demonstrating European culture's continued influence on America. Complementing the show so well, Buffalo Bill's Famous Cowboy Band reinforced the values of the Wild West show. The original Cowboy Band playbook of marches, popular and other songs, overtures, and arrangements has not been discovered, but old programs, advertisements, writings, and musical scores provide evidence regarding the music played by the band. (Michael L. Masterson, Ph.D., Professor of Music and Chair, Visual and Performing Arts Division at Northwest College, Powell, Wyoming.)

Read more about the Cowboy Band.

Saturday Afternoon, 21 March
Concert of Music by Colorado Composers
12:45–1:45p.m. (Trinity Church )

Choral Works by Cecil Effinger and Jean Berger. Performed by St. Martin’s Chamber Choir.
Introduction by Larry Worster, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Colorado Springs native Cecil Effinger came to maturity as a composer in Colorado during World War II, composing over 150 works in his lifetime. Although he began his career as a composer of instrumental works, he began writing the first of his over forty choral settings in the 1950s. This lecture/recital will examine the historical and stylistic importance of the most successful of his published choral works, Four Pastorales , a work deeply rooted in the American West.?? Four Pastorales exemplifies Effinger's approach to choral composition. For texts, he chose poems by the poet laureate of Colorado, Thomas Hornsby Ferril, whose poetry he would set more than twenty times. The piece contains many of Effinger's most typical stylistic characteristics, among them the derivation of melodies from his complex non-triadic and yet mildly dissonant harmonies. In addition, Four Pastorales is typical of Effinger's choral style in the musical devices that link the four-poem choral cycle into a cohesive almost symphonic structure. Both the solo obbligato instrument and textural varieties serve to illuminate the textual content. The presentation will conclude with a complete performance of the work by the St. Martin's Chamber Choir, one of the best of Denver's choral ensembles.

Germany-born Jean Berger (1909-2002) studied composition with Louis Aubert in Paris before moving to Rio de Janeiro in1939. In 1941, he relocated to the United States where he worked in the Office of War Information and served in the US Army, becoming a citizen in 1943. In 1948, he took the first of his many faculty positions, working first at Middlebury College and then the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He moved to Colorado in 1961, teaching at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Colorado Women's College. He lectured frequently on American music and composed extensively for choral ensemble and solo voice. The St. Martin's Choir will perform a selection of Berger's setting of texts by English poet John Skelton (1460-1529). The settings share with Effinger's works a concertato-like approach to the handling of the obbligato instrument, in this case the piano. Both Effinger's and Berger's works are included on St. Martin's CD The American Spirit. Previews made be heard on the group's website  ( ) .


Friday Afternoon Tours

We have three exciting tours planned for Friday afternoon (20 March) of the Conference, during the free time.

Historical Walking Tour: Molly Brown House, Trinity Church, and Tea at the Brown Palace
Cost: $50.00
Price includes admission to museum, tea, and all gratuities.

Guided by a member of the history faculty of Metropolitan State College, this tour walks you through the rich tapestry of Denver's history. Stopping first at Denver's first church, Trinity Church ( ), the tour progresses through the Capitol building ( ) constructed from marble mined at Yule Creek, Colorado, which was also the source for the marble for the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Molly Brown House Museum allows participants to experience the life of one of Denver's most famous early residents with guides in period costume ( ). The tour culminates at the luxurious Brown Place ( ), where a sumptuous afternoon tea will be served on the balcony to the main lobby to the delightful strains of the hotel's pianist ( ). Tour price includes admission to museum, tea, and all gratuities.

Denver Pow Wow
Cost: $25.00
Price includes transportation and admission

This tour includes bus to and from and admission to the Denver March Pow Wow for an afternoon of Intertribal and Contest Dancing ( ). In the words of the Pow Wow council, “Enjoy the feelings of comradery, the panorama of colors, the rhythmic sound of bells, drums, jingles, and deer toes; and the combined smells of sage, sweet grass and cedar that most of the dance outfits are stored in. Feel your heart pulsing in rhythm with the drum. Sit back and enjoy some of the finest American Indian singing and dancing. Don't forget to visit the Storytelling room and the 170+ arts and crafts booths or taste the delicious Fry Bread.” The bus will return to the conference hotel at 5:30. The Pow Wow site is only 4 miles from the hotel and conference attendees may choose to stay or return by cab for the Grand Entry at 7:00. Food at Pow Wow not included.


Grand Tour of Buffalo's Bill's Grave and Central City
Cost: $100.00
Price includes transportation, museum admission, dinner, entertainment, and all gratuities!

The Grand Tour begins in Denver, elevation 5280, and culminates in Central City, elevation 8496. The first stop will be at Buffalo Bill's Grave and Museum where you will see Sitting Bull's bow and arrows, Buffalo Bill's show outfits, and Frederick Remington's "Portrait of a Ranch Hand," among other intriguing artifacts ( ). Progressing to the famous gold mining town of Central City, you will stop at the 1876 Central City Opera House ( ) for a guided tour by executive director Kevin G. Mynatt and Metro State faculty member Betsy Schwarm Glesner. The visit will include a short performance of a nineteenth-century aria. The final stop at the world-famous Fort Restaurant will include a gourmet dinner of quail and buffalo ribs (salmon or vegetarian entrees available on request) ( ) and entertainment by cowboy singer, poet, yodeler, and general nuisance Gary MacMahan ( ). The bus will return to the hotel by 9:30. Alcoholic beverages at the Fort not included.


All photos courtesy of the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For additional information, contact Mariana Whitmer at the Society for American Music.