Canada stage

Cultural Custodians. Symphonies are cultural custodians for their respective communities and illuminate our lives with diverse art forms. The Sons of the Pioneers also consider themselves as custodians for a truly American art form, the music of the American West. From these basic tenets an idea was born for a collaboration program to assist symphonies in meeting their mission to provide communities with diverse cultural experiences.

An American Art Form. There’s only one American West - it’s ours and we’re proud of it. Probably no other historical figure is identified with the United States as much as the American Cowboy. The cowboy figure is emulated and celebrated around the entire world. The American Cowboy has served as a role model for generations embodying desirable traits: common sense, patriotism, self-sufficiency, fair-mindedness, rugged individualism.

Out of that culture was born a genre of music just as uniquely American as the cowboy. America gave birth to Cowboy/Western Music. The songs are rich in imagery calling up visions of vast and beautiful landscapes, blue prairies, tall timber, outlaws, trail drives, towering canyons, night herds, desert mirages, and the Western lifestyle.

“Best of the West.” And no one performs Western Music better than the legendary Sons of the Pioneers. Indeed, some say they invented Western music starting over 80 years ago. Their early members penned some of the all-time classics. The Pioneers have starred in almost 100 movies with the likes of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and John Wayne; had their own radio show; had top-selling records with RCA; and brought Western music into the nation’s consciousness. Their songs Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Ghost Riders in the Sky, and Cool Water have become woven into the very fabric of the West. Their contribution to the nation’s musical heritage was recognized by the Smithsonian Institute in naming them a “National Treasure.”

The Pioneers are unique from all others who perform Western Music. They are known the world over for their close and intricate vocal harmonies that have become known as the “Pioneer Sound.” They have served as the inspiration for all who came later. Western groups who have attempted to capture their complex harmony and stellar instrumentation routinely pay tribute by describing themselves as “in the style of the Sons of the Pioneers.”
The current members are part of a continuous and uninterrupted 85 year existence in which they have accumulated more coveted honors and awards than anyone in Western Music. The group has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Western Music Association Hall of Fame, the Texas Swing Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame among others. Two former members were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. True West magazine named them the Best of the West in 2015 and again in 2016.


Overview. The Sons of the Pioneers are partnering with symphonies and orchestras to present a joint performance concert in a Salute to the American West and Western Music. The music draws from evergreen Western classics which have been drawing decades of concert ticket buyers. Using songs straight from Americana your audiences are transported “from the mountains to the prairies...” Frequently after a concert, fans will tell us they found themselves singing along word for word as they fondly remembered earlier times. Indeed, we often invite audience participation on a few tunes.

GrammyThe Songs. The songs in the program draw from the best loved Western classics. Tumbling Tumbleweeds and Cool Water are both in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Tumbleweeds performed by Sons of the Pioneers was named to National Recording Register by Library of Congress in 2010. The program also includes works of legendary songwriters such as Cole Porter [“Don’t Fence Me In”]. The song mix ranges from beautiful melodic ballads like Blue Prairie used in Walt Disney’s film “Pecos Bill” to the whimsical “Ragtime Cowboy Joe”, to the haunting up-beat “Ghost Riders in the Sky”. Songs with well known lyrics such as Home on the Range and Happy Trails present the opportunity for audience participation.

Background. The Pioneers consist of five members, Tommy Nallie [vocals, yodeling and bass]; Ken Lattimore [tenor, second fiddle]; Dusty Rogers [baritone and MC]; John Fullerton [vocals, rhythm guitar]; Paul Elliott [first fiddle, mandolin]. Not only are they world class musicians but they are have worked with many symphonies. Before Ken Lattimore joined the Pioneers, he was an orchestra band instructor in the Texas public school system. He also frequently plays violin in regional symphonies. Paul Elliott holds a degree in music and studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Paul has won numerous fiddle championships and frequently works in recording studios. Tommy Nallie held first chair violin during high school.

SymphonyThe Format. We have several suggested frameworks of the concert but invite the orchestra to collaborate with us in tailoring the concert to fit the individual orchestra and its audience. One suggested format for a 100 minute concert might be, 30 minutes of Pioneers, 30 minutes of western themes by symphony and the last 40 minutes a crowning joint performance. Another segment of the joint performance might be a medley of beloved Western folk songs in which the audience could participate. The Pioneers always conclude each concert with a “Meet and Greet” after the last song and stay until the last person comes through the line.

We visualize the symphony having artistic control of its segment. The Pioneers would have artistic control of their segment and both parties would share artistic control of the joint performance. Of course the orchestra would be under the direction of its normal conductor. The symphony would be in charge of the venue, advertising and ticket sales. The Pioneers work as independent contractors offering their services and materials for a flat fee.

Community Outreach. Where an engagement is of several days duration the individual Pioneer members are available for educational outreach programs with area public school programs. Such arrangements are subject to agreement in advance on a case by case basis.


And the really Good News for symphonies.......the Pioneers have done much of the preliminary work to save symphonies lots of time and expense.

ScoreOrchestral Charts. We have complete orchestra charts professionally arranged and ready to go. Several of the arrangements are by Ken and /or Mark and through the publishers. As part of the collaboration, we will lend the use of our proprietary charts to the symphony until the conclusion of the program. We recognize each orchestra may wish to make changes as may be necessary to adapt our arrangements to their circumstances. Although we provide you the charts, all applicable permissions for performance rights and Grand Rights remain the obligation of the symphony or venue [normally under an existing blanket license]. Should the symphony so desire, the Pioneers would entertain the use of alternative songs for the symphony’s portion of the program.

Audio Samples. To give you an idea of the quality of the arrangements, we have attached an audio sample of the actual arrangements for the two tunes for the joint performance [“Blue Prairie” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky”] and the actual arrangements for two tunes for the symphony’s individual performance [“Home on the Range” and “Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie”]. You are urged to listen to all four examples. Only then will you realize the amazing program we propose. Just click on the following links. Thanks for listening.

Ghost Riders & Blue Prairie - Symphony and Sons of the Pioneers

Bury Me Not & Home on the Range - Symphony Alone

Promotional Materials. We can also be of assistance in the promotion of the concert by use of our library of materials including hi-res photos, logos, bios, sample news releases, mp3 files, video clips, sample posters and other materials. The Pioneers also encourage the venue to take advantage of their willingness to do media [newspaper, magazine, radio & TV] interviews leading up to the performance date. We are dedicated to work with you in every way to make the concert a huge success.


Our West and its music is our history, our heritage. Audiences everywhere long to enjoy once again this uniquely American style of music that has been treasured by our fathers, mothers and grandparents for decades. It is also fun to experience and fun to perform. We offer a large bulk of materials to save substantial time and expense. Our collaboration program is a marriage of rich orchestrations and the group considered the Gold Standard of Western Music. The result is a concert to be long-remembered by everyone in the audience. We would like to work with you to create that treasured memory.

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