(4) Nebraska Journey Stories, Immigrant Experience, and Westward Expansion Subjects

Up the Nebraska Cattle Trail and Songs of the West

by Joan Wells

When the Union Pacific built the railroad across Nebraska in 1867 cattle ranching was almost unknown in the state.  With a surplus of cattle in Texas, cattle drives brought hundreds of thousands of cattle to Nebraska by way of the Great Western Trail from San Antonio to Ogallala, where they were shipped to markets in eastern cities.  The cowboys on these four-month-long cattle drives would pass the time singing songs about life on the trail.  They’d calm the cattle at night with songs traced back to European folk songs.  Wells and Simon sing and tell the story of the origin of western music.

Buffalo Bill’s Nebraska

by Jeff Barnes

William F. Cody was born, raised, and died elsewhere but it was in Nebraska where he made his home and where the celebrity and legend of Buffalo Bill was born. What happened in the Cornhusker State to create a man who was arguably the world’s first “superstar”? Author Jeff Barnes tells the story of Cody in Nebraska, from his days as an Indian scout, as a hunting guide to the rich and famous, as the creator of “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West,” and his enduring legacy in the state, nation, and world today. PowerPoint presentation with historic and contemporary photos and images.

Peopling the Prairie: 19th Century Immigration to Nebraska.

by John Schleicher

You could say that everyone in Nebraska came from somewhere else. Ten thousand years ago, the forebearers of Native American tribes came into the Great Plains region. Two hundred and fifty years ago, French and English fur traders and Mexican traders and soldiers explored what became Nebraska. Nebraska’s greatest growth occurred between the Civil War and World War I, but especially in the decade of the 1880s. Schleicher focuses on this time when roughly half the new settlers came directly from foreign countries.

Train Songs and Tales

by David Seay

What is it about trains that so easily engages one’s imagination? Climb aboard with David as he shares a variety of railroad inspired songs and stories that offer peeks into the past from a wide variety of points of view. This upbeat excursion is accompanied by guitar, banjo, harmonica, whistles, and a sing-along or two.

Promise in a New Land: Migrating and Settling in Nebraska

by Cherrie Beam-Callaway

Beam-Clarke, as Mariah Monahan, with Irish brogue and period costume, depicts a Nebraska settler between 1845 and 1870. Based on historical fact, this is a first-person Chautauqua-style presentation. Through a spellbinding rendition, viewers are transported in time to sail the ocean, ride the wagon trail, feel the loneliness and fight prairie fires. Laugh and cry with stories of successful crops, dancing, hard work, grasshoppers, losing loved ones and becoming an American. The program has two sequels entitled “The Courage to Continue” and “Grit n Gumption.” Educational and entertaining. This program is appropriate for all ages.

The Courage to Continue: Changing Homesteads in Nebraska

by Cherrie Beam-Callaway

This is a sequel to the program “Promise in a New Land.” Beam-Clarke, in period attire with Irish brogue, depicts Nebraska life on the prairie, 1870 to 1885. Based on historical fact, she continues her story in a dramatic Chautauqua-style presentation. Selling the homestead, they begin again as cattlemen in the desolate Sandhills. Relive trials of building the sod house, lightning storms, crying for rain, rattlesnakes and the never-ending wind. Delight with the 4th of July, Christmas and American pride. The program has a sequel entitled “Grit n Gumption.” This program is appropriate for all ages.

Grit ‘n’ Gumption

by Cherrie Beam-Callaway

This program is a continuation of stories told in “Promise in a New Land” and “The Courage to Continue.” Reprising her role as Mariah Monahan, in period attire with Irish brogue, Beam-Clarke tells more captivating stories depicting Nebraska life from 1860 to 1895. Hear about children becoming lost in the prairie, dealing with injuries, lack of women in the country, living on cornmeal, need for music and the endless monotonous labor. Learn how they dealt with schooling, childbirth, tornadoes and Indians. Educational and entertaining. This program is appropriate for all ages.

Echoes of an Era

by Paul Siebert

Using the Nebraska State Seal and Flag as a back drop, Paul presents a musical living history program of a family’s journey from Russia to Nebraska in the 1870’s.  Using original and period music with up to 7 different acoustic instruments, storytelling, personal family history, period costume and extensive knowledge on the subject of Blacksmithing/metallurgy, Paul presents an interactive family centered entertaining program.   The presentation is carefully adjusted to suit the specific age group, special interest, time constraints of the listener, and can include the specific event’s local Nebraska history.

Meet Buffalo Bill

by Terry Lane

William F. Cody reflects on his life as express messenger, teamster, buffalo hunter, scout, actor, showman and builder of the West through a series of true-life adventures–from Bill’s perspective, of course. Length and content can be varied according to audience.

From Every Land

by Richard Kimbrough

This program is based on Kimbrough’s book “The Outsiders” (with Mourtazo Chadyev) which focuses on people of “other” cultures who have come to Nebraska. Among those featured are:-Arturo Coto, who went from being minister of health in El Salvador to hoeing beans in western Nebraska to becoming one of the top officials in the Nebraska Department of Health.-Leola Bullock, an African-American who came to Lincoln in the 1950’s and has become one of the nation’s foremost civil rights leaders.-Rauf Aliovsadzade, a world-class violinist and chess master who left Baku because he was married to a woman from the “wrong” country and who has become a member of the Lincoln Symphony—and an American citizen.

Stained Glass Windows of Nebraska

by Barbara Johnson

Johnson discusses how stained glass windows are produced; the role of immigrants in designing, producing, and bringing these works of art to Nebraska; and some of the most interesting meaning and detail in religious, educational, governmental, commercial, and residential settings. (In addition to this general program, Johnson offers one reflecting on stained glass in the world and writings of Willa Cather.)

The “Tradition” in Traditional Folk Music

by David Seay

David Seay examines how over the generations folk traditions of different cultures have merged to become our own traditions as immigrants have found their way to Nebraska. This presentation features demonstrations and stories of folk instruments such as harmonica, penny whistle, Lakota style flute, ocarina, pan pipes, yak horn, bugle, musical saw, banjo, singing bowl, and limbertoys. This show is very flexible and works for audiences of any age.

Swedish Pioneers in Nebraska

by Laureen Riedesel

In the latter half of the 19th century, Swedes were among the largest groups that emigrated to Nebraska. They caught “Amerikafeber” and came to claim their “free land,” full of hope and promise. The construction of churches and schools followed the building of their soddies and barns. An outstanding example of this pattern can be told through the story of Salem Church in rural Kearney County and the Carter School, originally located in Harlan County. These National Register of Historic Places properties are a continuing legacy of the Swedish pioneers in Nebraska.

Nebraska’s Musical Smorgasbord: Music from Various Ethnic Groups in Nebraska

by Chris Sayre

This program explores the rich diversity of folk music that has been a part of Nebraska’s history from the time it was a territory to the present day. Performing on the button accordion, concertina, dulcimer, guitar, mandolin, musical saw and zithers, Sayre invites his audience to experience the music of the ethnic groups that have called Nebraska home.

Germans From Russia in Nebraska

by John Schleicher

During the political and religious upheaval of the 18th century, Germans migrated to the American colonies and to the Russian empire of Catherine the Great. Lured by free land, religious and cultural freedom and exemption from military service, many Germans migrated to Russia, beginning in the 1760s. After more than 100 years, these privileges were threatened, and the Germans from Russia began to immigrate to the Plains states of the U.S. This illustrated program looks at these people and the contributions they made to Nebraska in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Discovering the Celtic World in Nebraska

by Charles E. Real

With the defeat of the ancient tribes of Gaul by Julius Caesar, the Celtic people were forced to the edges of the known world in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Britain. Charles Real takes listeners on an 8,000-year journey that explores the origins and culture of the Celts and how the sons and daughters of the Celtic fringe influenced place names, early pioneers and settlers on Nebraska’s prairies and in its river valleys.

Voices from the New Land: Danish Immigration to Nebraska

by Dawn Nielsen by John Mark Nielsen

Danish immigration to Nebraska is explored through dramatic readings from immigrant letters, journals and diaries, as well as slides of old photographs, drawings and scenes of present-day Denmark and Nebraska. The presentation focuses on the stories of individuals—what motivated them to emigrate, how they struggled with the land and faced the hardships of drought and the deaths of loved ones. The Nielsens describe how immigrants experienced the joys of community and the satisfaction of realizing their dreams.

Czech-Americans in Nebraska

by Bruce Garver

The late 19th century saw the first mass migration of Czechs to Nebraska and other Great Plains states. This talk explains the causes for immigration and describes the experience of dislocation and the consequences of demographic changes in American towns and cities—with emphasis on the years after World War I and the more recent waves of immigration in 1948 and 1968. The presentation looks at both the family life of new Czech-Americans and aspects of intellectual and cultural life. Also described are the principal public institutions established by Czech-Americans—both religious and freethinking.

Growing up Czech in Nebraska

by Lorraine J. Duggin

This presentation features various aspects of Czech-American culture and history, including arts and literature, folk songs and dance, folktales and lore, traditional costumes, Czech festivals of Nebraska and the following areas of interest: The Roots of the Poet’s Song: Growing up in South Omaha; Czech Neighborhoods of Omaha.

The Irish in Nebraska, 1850-2000

by James P. Cavanaugh

This program is a review of the Irish in Nebraska from the days before the Nebraska Territory to the present.