Ashfall Unearthed

Ashfall Unearthed is a half-hour music special inspired by Nebraska’s Ashfall Fossil Beds.  The program features the television premiere of Ashfall, an original composition by Rusty Banks and performed by the Nebraska Chamber Players in celebration of the chamber group’s 15th anniversary.


Rusty Banks


Composer Rusty Banks found his inspiration for the piece in the scenic landscape of Nebraska’s Ashfall Fossil Beds, located in north-central Nebraska.  The treasured natural landmark, now a research and tourism site, dates back 12 million years when, according to scientists, volcanic ash drifted in and polluted the air, eventually killing the animals living in the area.  The fossils from this prehistoric time capsule were discovered in the 1970’s.

Becky Van de Bogart

Mike Voorhies


The program interweaves captivating music with animations of the ash fall, current footage from the Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park and interviews with Composer Rusty Banks, Nebraska Chamber Players’ Artistic Director Becky Van de Bogart and the man who first discovered the fossils, Paleontologist Mike Voorhies, providing insightful context for the music and the place that inspired this large-scale chamber work.