This page gives a brief history of Worlds of Music. It's an all volunteer organization committed to providing free public programs that encourage people to be active music makers. Our other main commitment is to school residencies and ongoing community music ensembles.
Worlds of Music is a Wyoming based not for profit foundation whose mission is to promote community development through music. Worlds of Music programs emphasize participation over performance and strive to bring together schools and communities. Since 1995 we have conducted programs in the schools of Buffalo, Kaycee, Gillette, and Casper and have been a partner in programs in Laramie, Worland, Thermopolis, and Sheridan. Programs include:
• Senegalese drum traditions with John Galm
• Australian Aboriginal and settler story, song, and dance with Paul Taylor
• The music and dance of Hispanic New Mexico and of Appalachia with Karen Leigh, Paul
Rangell, Tom Adler, and Dan Warrick
• The music of Québec, the Canadian Maritimes, and New England with The Hillbillies from Mars
• The Balinese gamelan tradition with Chandra Wyoga Gamelan and Dancers
• Nigerian drum and dance with Adetunji Joda and Friends
• New England contra dance with Wild Asparagus
• Traditional music of Slovakia with Bernard Garaj, Daniel Jezik, and Jana Ambrozova
• Cowboy ballads of the American West with Pop Wagner
• The Jali tradition of Mali with kora master Morro Farang Suso
• Cuban and Central European choral music with Daniel Steinberg
• The Manas epic and music of Kyrgyzstan with Rysbai Isakov and Akylbek Kasabolotov
• Basque trikitixa music with the Tapia eta Leturia Band, the Xabi Aburruzaga band, and Eneko
Dorronsoro and Errebal
• Old Style Cajun and Creole fiddling with Al Berard and Karen England
• Cajun dance hall music with Al Berard and Kyle Hebert
• European art music with the University of Wyoming String Quartet
• Klezmer, the celebratory music of the Eastern European Jewish community, with Veretski Pass
• Steel drum and carnival music of Trinidad with Tom Miller
• Body percussion and dance with Human Rhythm Project dancer Sandy Silva
• American swing and jazz fiddling with the Howard Armstrong Trio
• Renaissance and Baroque flute and guitar with Komodore and Garnett
• New England contra dance with Rodney and Elvie Miller, Owen Marshall, and dance caller
• Traditional Mongolian music with morin khuur master Ariunbold Mijiddorj
• Australian Aboriginal music and art with Wardaman elder Yidumduma Bill Harney
• Louisiana Cajun music with the Savoy Family Band
• Traditional music of Moldova with La Taifas Quartet
• New Orleans Second Line and Zydeco with Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots
• Balkan brass and woodwind music with Orkestar Zirkonium
• The music of Québec and the Basque Country with The Connectors featuring Kevin Carr and
Josie Mendelsohn with dance caller Suzanne Girardot
• The Afro French quadrille music of Saint Lucia with Manmay La Kay
• Klezmer history and music with fiddler Jake Shulman-Ment
Worlds of Music is pleased to have brought prominent traditional musicians to Wyoming. These include several Grammy Award recipients; New Mexico, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award recipients; three National Heritage Award recipients; and two winners of the Louisiana French Music Association’s Fiddler of the Year Award. Worlds of Music founder David Romtvedt received the 2000 Wyoming Governor’s Arts award and the 2008 Wyoming Music Educator Association’s Distinguished Service Award. We’re proud of these awards but more important is the mission of bringing in people whose music is as much a way of looking at life as it is sound. Worldwide, music has been a vehicle for shaping happier, fuller lives. Music can break down the barriers between the young and old and help people understand one another. This understanding comes about not so much through concerts as through participation--demonstrations, dances, workshops, and informal talks. Every Worlds of Music guest has met k-12 students in Buffalo’s three public schools and engaged those students in active music making. Worlds of Music guests have also worked with students in Kaycee, Casper, Gillette, and Laramie. Students have given public performances with the visiting musicians.
Worlds of Music offers free workshops for both students and community members. Some are geared to people with pre-existing music skills as was the case for the American musics that use fiddle, piano, mandolin, button accordion, guitar, banjo, and voice. Other workshops have been introductions to new musics and cultures. This was true of the dance programs and of the Balinese, Malian, Mongolian, Moldovan, and Nigerian programs. At the Balinese workshop, twenty-five people were able to spend two days playing gamelan instruments, and learning something about Balinese culture. The Nigerians taught a dance workshop for fifty students and adults. Malian kora player Morro Suso helped local banjo players learn something of the banjo’s African heritage and also brought several koras for use in workshops. At all three workshops—gamelan, kora, and Nigerian dance--the music was presented in the spiritual framework of its homeland. Workshop participants got a feel for the ways in which the spiritual values of a place are both reflected in the music and shape that music.
Worlds of Music founder David Romtvedt has produced and hosted an hour long weekly radio program that was aired throughout Montana and northern Wyoming on KBBS radio in Buffalo, Wyoming and KEMC, Yellowstone Public radio in Billings, Montana. Romtvedt also did field research in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina and script writing for a six part radio series on American Traditional Musics that was produced with Mike Brown at the University of Wyoming and aired on public radio affiliates KUNM (Albuquerque, NM), KEMC (Billings, MT) and KUWR (Laramie, WY) as well as on stations affiliated with the Association of Community Broadcasters. The radio series included programs on Cajun music, Hispanic music of northern New Mexico, Waila music of the Tohono O’odham nation in Southern Arizona, Black String band music of the North Carolina Piedmont, and on political issues surrounding the performance of traditional musics in the United States.
Worlds of Music has developed two school and community based ensembles open to the public at no charge. One of these is a Trinidadian style steel drum band and the other is a European style concert band. Worlds of Music has raised the funds to purchase the steel drum instruments and many of the more expensive instruments used in American concert bands—tubas, bass clarinets, baritone saxophones, and tympani. The Worlds of Music pans have been used for percussion ensemble classes taught at Buffalo High School and in courses at the University of Wyoming focused on music and politics in Trinidad. There is also a community based steel drum group called Pan Buffalo and a community concert band. Pan Buffalo has performed at no charge for a variety of events including St Luke’s Episcopal Church’s fall celebration, the North American Basque Organization’s national festival, the Buffalo Christmas parade, the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce’s summer fundraiser, the Johnson County Hospice fundraiser, the Bighorn Basin Folk Festival, and at the Washakie Museum and Cultural Center for a Smithsonian exhibition on world carnival traditions.
Whether they are school or community events, workshops, dances, talks, radio shows, or community ensembles, Worlds of Music programs explore a number of related questions. What does music mean to people? Why do they listen to, dance to, and perform certain musics, and not others? What is the role of music in individual and community life? How does music change over time and across cultures? Above all, Worlds of Music examines the ways that music is unique to particular communities while remaining a universal human phenomenon. All of these things are directly related to the Worlds of Music mission and they comprise one hundred percent of our time. Our work is funded by private donations, foundation gifts, and by grants from the Wyoming Arts Council, Wyoming Humanities Council. Wyoming Cultural Trust, Wyoming Community Foundation, Johnson County Recreation District, and Johnson County and Buffalo one percent programs.