SAN MARCOS—When Michael Martin Murphey, “America’s Singing Cowboy,” performed his Sagebrush Symphony on campus in 2003, he was so impressed by the Texas State Symphony Orchestra that he said he wanted to tour with the group. As it turns out, that wasn’t just idle conversation.
Murphey and the Symphony Orchestra will perform the world premiere of “Cowboy Christmas: Orchestral, Part I” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 in Evans Auditorium at Texas State University-San Marcos. In December of 2006, the Symphony Orchestra will join Murphey on tour for the symphonic reinterpretation of Murphey’s popular Cowboy Christmas show.
“Cowboy Christmas: Orchestral, Part I” is presented by the University Performing Arts Committee and the Student Association for Campus Activities, with Frost Bank as corporate sponsor.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Texas State, the Symphony Orchestra and myself,” said Hudiburg, who collaborated with Murphey to write all of the symphony arrangements. “We were going to book him for the Sagebrush Symphony, then one thing led to another and Michael said, ‘Why don’t we see if we can write arrangements for Cowboy Chrsitmas?’”
Cowboy Christmas features a variety of cowboy songs performed in a holiday style and has proven extremely popular over the years. Until now, the show has consisted of Murphey performing onstage backed only by his band - the symphonic arrangement will be an entirely new interpretation of the material.
“We wanted to do something special for that show. He and I agree that we don’t want to be pressured. We want it to be done right,” Hudiburg said. “We’re going to take the next nine months after that initial performance to flesh it out into a complete product, and in 2006 we’ll take it out to tour the big Texas stops--that includes Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Anson, where the Cowboy Christmas Ball originated.”
To purchase tickets, call (512) 245-2030 or (877) TIC-TXST. Ticket prices are $25 for the general public and $10 for students, with all seats reserved.
While attending UCLA in the late ’60s, he became one of the instigators of the Alternative Country and Western scene in Southern California. His friends in the same music scene included John McEuen and Jeff Hannah of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Don Henley of the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Roger Miller, Buck Owens, Michael Nesmith of the Monkees, and many others. Returning to Texas, he helped spark the Austin music scene, inspiring Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker to move there. His first album, Geronimo’s Cadillac was recognized by Rolling Stone as a classic when Chet Flippo pronounced him "the best new singer-songwriter in America.”
Self-taught in music, Murphey currently serves as an adjunct professor of music and American studies at Utah State University, where he consults with the faculty and teaches workshops and seminars. He specializes in teaching songwriting from an historical and cultural perspective.
Murphey is a five-time award winner in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, taking home the award for Best Album (Cowboy Songs Vol. 4) and Best Song (Summer Rangers, from Cowboy Songs Vol. 4) in 1999 from the Academy of Western Artists. He also founded Westfest, a festival celebrating cowboys, Indians, country and western music, rodeo, western art and the world of the American west.