%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
People & Life Ways
Riches, Ranching & Railroads

Musical Entertainment

For early Nevadans, music was a scarce and valuable commodity.  Music could be made in 19th century homes.  Many Nevadans had pianos and organs; pianos lessons were a part of many children's lives.  The great fire in Virginia City in 1875 burned more than 60 pianos.

There were also public music halls.  Some were small, seating only a 100 people.  Others were larger; Piper's Opera House in Virginia City seated 900.  Even small Nevada towns had music halls.  The Carson Theater, which went into business in 1861, and the Odeon in Dayton, offered entertainment such as minstrel shows and concerts.  McGinley's Comedy Company performed in Reno in 1906.

Bands were also popular in the 19th century.  Winnemucca had a band, as did Reno, Silver City, Virginia City and Carson City.  Bands marched in parades and in funeral processions, dressed in their colorful uniforms with shiny buttons and even shinier instruments.

The lovely sound of the instruments was sometimes accompaniment to  singers.  There were many choral groups, glee clubs, and solos, duos, trios, and quartets.  Famous opera singers toured Nevada, singing for full houses.  Richard Jose, a Cornish ballad singer, began his career in Nevada.  Emma Nevada Wixom who was famous as a soprano all over the world, spent several years as a young girl in Austin, Nevada, and toured the state in 1885 and 1892.  Music was often a part of 19th century life in Nevada.

Photo Credits:
Nevada Historical Society