What We Do & our History

 
Cowtown Opry Club is a group of performers who are mighty proud of the great musical heritage of Texas, and we do what we love best - preserve it, promote it and perform it!  Folks from all over the world come to our Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, just to experience the legacy of the Texas cowboy and the American West.  Cowtown Opry performers have the privilege of continuing this legacy through music.

We specialize in bringing western music shows, free to the public in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District.  We present both vintage and contemporary western music, Texas music, music from the singing cowboy movies, old time cowboy ballads, and western swing (THE official music of Texas!)-–always setting forth that unique style that is associated with American cowboy music. Contrary to the popular conception, this genre is distinctly separate from country/pop styles, and we exist to prove that difference.

Cowtown Opry Club coordinators & show hosts provide guidance through songlists, lyrics, and rehearsals by request, in addition to providing performance opportunities. CTO performing members (Saddlepals and Buckaroos) are expected to make efforts to expand a personal western music repertoire, appear in classic western attire, make timely arrivals for shows, and pay annual dues.  Cowtown Opry maintains an office in the Livestock Exchange Building, provides musical scholarships for young performers and produces weekly Sunday afternoon shows.  Cowtown Opry is supported by donations, sponsors, grants, membership fees, an annual gala fundraiser and performance fees. 

Consider hiring Cowtown Opry for entertainment for your next party or event!  Contact our Artistic Director, Devon Dawson, 817-521-4969, or email: cowtownopry@sbcglobal.net
 
 
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ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

Originally the idea of Jean Marlowe Keim, who, as the pianist at the Stockyards Hotel for 18 years, knew the impact of cowboy music on tourism in Fort Worth, Cowtown Opry was organized in Fort Worth, TX on November 2, 1992 for the purpose of offering to the public an historical music program that promotes and preserves Texas and western music in a setting suitable for family entertainment.  In October 1993 the Opry became an IRS recognized 501©(3) non-profit organization. 

The Opry's original location was in the Cowtown Corrals in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District.  In the spring of 1993 the show moved to 'Upstairs at the White Elephant', and in September 1996 another move to the Stockyards Station provided the first physical home where equipment could be stored, signage displayed and rehearsal and performance space made available.  This was a result of the Stockyards Station donating a suite on the tracks.  One more move, in 2001, brought the Opry to its current location at the Exchange Building.

During these early years the Opry provided education opportunities via a small teaching team that took historical presentations into the classrooms, small meetings, etc., and a song book of Texas songs was printed and made available to schools across the state.  In addition, the international travel group, Elderhostel, affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin, engaged the Opry for seminars from 1994 to 1996. 

In 1995 the Cowtown Opry Club was formed with a membership of those interested in supporting our purpose by volunteering or performing.  The Buckaroo Club was formed in 1997 for the purpose mentoring young people in learning the history of and performing Texas heritage music.  In 2005 the Opry began awarding scholarships annually to recognize and honor these hard working Buckaroos and assist in furthering their musical education.  This group continues to meet and perform on a monthly basis under the leadership of Judy James.

The Cowtown Opry's parade participation began in 1996 with the Fort Worth Stockshow Parade.  The Opry has continued to participate in that parade annually as well as the Christmas time kick-off 'Parade of Lights', since 1996.  In addition, since 2002, Cowtown Opry has participated in the Texas Frontier Forts Muster in the Fort Worth Stockyards, giving a fun learning experience to students of Texas history, both young and old.  The Cowtown Opry provides musicians playing and singing music of the frontier, while telling the history of the music.  In 1999, the Cowtown Opry instituted the Texas Independence Day Remembrance annually on March 2 as a public remembrance of Texas history.

The Texas Independence Day Gala continues as Cowtown Opry's primary fundraising event, taking place during the month of March each year.

 

 

 



Cowtown Opry · 131 E. Exchange Ave. ste#140 · Fort Worth, Texas 76164-8200

telephone: 817.366.9675    email: cowtownopry@sbcglobal.net
 

 

Cowtown Opry · 131 E. Exchange Ave. ste#140 · Fort Worth, Texas 76164-8200 · telephone: 817.366.9675 · email: cowtownopry@sbcglobal.net