University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings presents The Buffalo Bill Band on April 15, music originally performed during the famous Wild West Show

April 1, 2014



Brent Roberts, MSUB Library, 657-1662
Carmen Price, University Relations, 657-2269


Buffalo Bill Band to perform on April 15 in the MSUB Cisel Recital Hall at 6:30 p.m.; concert is free and open to the public


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — More than a century ago, before the American frontier was transformed by industry and prior to the invent of motion pictures, Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show traveled on a private train packed with some 500 performers, stage hands and musicians, stopping in cities across the Midwest and East Coast.


Buffalo Band Poster

The act, orchestrated by the iconic William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, debuted in 1883 and toured for the following three decades, capturing America’s romantic ideal of the wild West.


At the show’s peak, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West act covered some 11,000 miles while performing 340 shows in 200 days in hundreds of towns across the nation, dazzling audiences with displays of trick riding and sharp-shooting and a 21-piece band comprised of several horns, clarinets, trombones, baritones, a tuba, snare drums an a bass drummer.


Performing music originally performed during Buffalo Bill’s famous Wild West Show in the nineteenth century, an ensemble comprised of musicians from Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin and southern Montana will recreate the musical splendor for modern audiences on April 15 in Montana State University’s Cisel Recital Hall at 6:30 p.m.


Presented by the MSU Billings Library, the concert is free and open to the public.


The Buffalo Bill Band has been performing for nearly three decades, with roots in Cody, Wyo., where the once small band played music for the Cody Wyoming Wild West Show developed by Paul Fees, a past curator of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.  


Today, the much larger ensemble is directed by Dr. Michael L. Masterson, a music scholar and retired professor from Northwest College in Powell, Wyo. Masterson’s doctoral research focused on the music performed during the Wild West Show.


In 2009, the band was selected to perform for the international conference of the Society of American Music held in Denver. A year later, the band was selected by the Wyoming Arts Council to perform at the Wyoming Governor’s Art’s Award Ceremony in Cheyenne, Wyo.


The band will perform authentic ballads of the American musical diversity representative of the times—styles like the ordered marches representing nineteenth-century notions of progress in American history and ragtime-influenced pieces embodying the cultural diversity of urban growth. Namely, the Wild West Show made its official musical opening—the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner—nearly fifty years before the Banner became America’s official national anthem in 1931.


With their own enthusiastic playing, the Buffalo Bill Band brings to life the energy, effort, cultural implications and quality of Buffalo Bill’s original famous band.