Boise Philharmonic Quartet to Perform for Inmates at Idaho Prison 

click to enlarge Update: The Boise Philharmonic sent Boise Weekly this photo following a successful performance.

Courtesy Philharmonic Staff

Update: The Boise Philharmonic sent Boise Weekly this photo following a successful performance.

The night of Tuesday, May 8, will mark a historic moment for the Boise Philharmonic. For the first time, members of its string quartet—including violinists Chia-Li Ho and Geoffrey Hill, viola player Lindsay Bohl and cellist Ned Johnson—will perform for inmates in the chapel of the Idaho State Correctional Institution, south of Boise.

"We were looking for places in the community to send our chamber groups to in May," explained Boise Philharmonic Education Director Lauren Folkner.  "[Music Director] Eric Garcia and I came up with a list of places to contact, and I sent emails out to various places to gauge interest ... The chaplain at ISCI, Bryan Shipley, was the first to respond and set a date with us."

The quartet will perform an hour-long set for 500 inmates, roughly one-third of the approximately 1,500 adults housed at the prison. According to a press release, the set will include "Sunrise Quartet, Op. 76, No. 4" by Joseph Haydn, along with other selections.

While the Philharmonic is excited to increase its outreach, and the process of gaining entry to ISCI went smoothly, Folkner said the musicians had to undergo three weeks of extensive background checks before receiving approval. She also admitted to a few worries.

"I do have reservations about the performance because it is something we have never done before," said Folkner. "While we are excited to bring live music to a population that doesn't often receive live performances, we are not sure what kind of music will best heal and help the inmates. This first concert will be a learning experience to help us gain more knowledge in what will best serve the people in Idaho's correctional facilities."

In future, Folkner hopes to set up shows at women's centers and other places around Boise where citizens might not have access to live classical music. Plus, she and Shipley are already discussing the possibility of a second, larger concert at the ISCI recreation center featuring the Philharmonic's brass quintet. 
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