2020 CMS Rocky Mountain Conference (35th)

35th Rocky Mountain Conference
March 27-28, 2020
University of Wyoming
Laramie, Wyoming

The Johnson County (Wyoming) Cattle War of 1892 was one of the most bitter of the North American range wars. The presentation will begin with a brief historical overview of the conflict itself and the sociopolitical conditions leading up to the hostilities. Several Johnson County War ballads will be examined: “The Ballad of Nate Champion” (Anonymous, 1890s) and “The Invasion Song” (Anonymous, 1890s), “The Murder of Tisdale and Jones” (Patrick Burns, 1892) and “Johnson County War” (Chris LeDoux, 1989). Two poems which may have also been sung, “Our Heroes’ Grave” (Anonymous, 1890s) and “Midsummer Dream.” (Anonymous, 1890s) will be considered. The presentation will contain song texts and music, when available, excerpts from field interviews with descendants of participants in the conflict as well as selected photographs from the author’s collection.

2020 Keynote Speaker: Ariel Downing 

Ariel DowningA Wyoming native, Ariel Downing earned her Ph.D. in musicology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Music from Colorado State University. Ariel’s doctoral thesis, Music in Cowboy Culture of the Powder River Basin, Wyoming, is concerned with perception of cowboy-western music by society at large, the musical traditions among ranch folk of the Powder River Basin and the impact of mass culture on their lives.

Ariel is currently an adjunct instructor at Sheridan College in Sheridan, Wyoming, where she teaches classes in music education and music history. She also teaches band in grades 5-8 at Holy Name Catholic School in Sheridan. Ariel plays trombone and tuba in orchestras, bands and jazz ensembles in Wyoming and Montana. She has performed with the New Sheridan Cornet Band in reenactments of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. Ariel serves as the coordinator for the annual Tuba Christmas performances in Sheridan and also performs regularly with the Highland Flute Quartet.

Ariel was inducted into the National Society for Leadership and Service in 2016. She was awarded the National Federation of High Schools Teacher of the Year award for the state of Wyoming during the 2003–2004 academic year. Students at Big Horn High School nominated her for inclusion in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2002 and 2005.

With the support of the Sheridan Arts Council, Ariel has been Folklorist-In-Residence in the Sheridan County schools. She was a guest speaker and panel discussion participant at a conference of rural music scholars in Boulder, Colorado in August 2000.

Ariel has published compositions for choir, concert band, brass quintet, flute quartet and jazz combo. She has published several articles in both popular and scholarly periodicals, on topics ranging from women in jazz to music in the context of contemporary ranching culture, historical music in Wyoming and of course cowboy songs.

Event Summary

Event Date 03-27-2020
Event End Date 03-28-2020
Location University of Wyoming