One of Wyoming’s most well-known bands played its last show this year. The Jalan Crossland Band called it quits in September amid drummer Pat Madsen’s move across the country and bassist Shaun Kelley’s health problems with Parkinson’s disease.
“I’ll miss them for sure,” Crossland said before two final gigs in Laramie and Lander. He recalled how the three gathered around a fire in his backyard 12 years ago in his Ten Sleep backyard, where musicians camped during the Nowoodstock Festival. They picked out tunes into the night, not realizing then they’d record six albums and travel the state and country together.
The parting was one of the changes in Wyoming’s musical landscape in 2017. The year also brought such memorable events as the Wyoming Eclipse Festival’s opportunities for local music scenes and some major names in the music industry stopping at the Casper Events Center.
Meanwhile, Crossland has continued his solo career. Kelley in September talked about his plans to write music and a project to gather Laramie band musicians into ensembles.
Crossland said at the time that music will continue to be part of the band members’ lives.
“We’re all musicians at the core,” he said. “So what else are you going to do?”
Another goodbye was announced this year, between the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra and its musical director and conductor Matthew Savery. This season is his 10th and final with the symphony. He plans to spend more time at home with his family and young son in Bozeman as well as with other projects. He also directs the Bozeman Symphony.
“I really feel it’s time for the organization and the orchestra to have some new vision,” he said before the season started in October. “But I feel the foundation is very strong.”
He’s seen the symphony team up its game musically and as an organization, he said. The symphony’s accomplishments in 2017 included its first outdoor concert – something Savery and the other leaders had hoped for years to pull off. They partnered with the city of Casper for a stage extension for the Washington Park band shell that now can accommodate the symphony’s numbers.
The concert during the August’s Wyoming Eclipse Festival featured violin virtuoso Alexander Markov and sold out with 2,300 attendees, Wyoming Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Rachel Bailey said after the event. Markov played parts of his own rock concerto on a six-string custom electric violin with an LED bow. The season closes in May with Markov returning to solo with the symphony.
The Wyoming Eclipse Festival also debuted Casper’s new David Street Station with a variety of local performers and crowds filling the streets. The new downtown plaza featured Wyoming native Chancey Williams with his “Younger Brothers Band” as well, and it’s since hosted several other musical and community events.
The year brought several stars to the Casper Events Center, including Elton John to a packed house in March. John performed hits spanning his five-decade career and dedicated “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” to Matthew Shepard.
Eric Church and the Beach Boys also played the Casper Events Center in 2017, the first full year under private management for the city-owned venue. Spectra Venue Management took over in October 2016 and has focused on goals including bringing in more big-name talent and variety.
Internationally-famed rock band the Foo Fighters took the stage there earlier this month. Singer Dave Grohl delivered on his promise at the start of the show to keep the fans up late on a Sunday. The band interacted all night with the crowd, whose energy matched the musicians’ for three hours.
If the cheering, and sometimes screaming crowds are any indication, it’s a sure bet the memories musicians gave to Wyoming this year will last well beyond 2017.