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Made in Idaho: Boise Baroque Orchestra brings the sounds of Bridgerton to the Treasure Valley

Posted at 9:08 AM, Aug 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-05 17:13:21-04

EAGLE, Idaho — With the popularity of shows like Bridgerton and Downton Abbey, many people might consider themselves experts in the fancier times of the past. But an overlooked aspect of those shows is the music of those eras. Here in the Treasure Valley, there is an orchestra that's been keeping classic baroque music alive for almost 20 years.

You might hear the sound of an orchestra and immediately call it classical music. While you're not wrong, a group in the Treasure Valley would appreciate being a little more specific.

"We founded the Boise Baroque Orchestra to be an orchestra, a small chamber orchestra, that primarily played Baroque music which was from the 1600's to the 1750's," said Boise Baroque Orchestra Concert Master Dawn Douthit.

So what's the difference between baroque and something the Boise Philharmonic might play? That's an easy answer for Douthit, who also happens to be a musician with the Philharmonic.

"We can't play the music of Corelli or Handel because we're too large. We're at 80 people. The Boise Baroque is about 24, and that's much more amenable to what we need to have to perform Baroque music," said Douthit.

If you get emotional while watching a show like Bridgerton, it might not be the romantic dialogue or outdated words that we don't understand. Listen to what's happening in the background.

"In the baroque era, they actually had these things called affections, and each song was supposed to stir a specific emotion in you and so you really get that sense, you can't help but move a little bit, or kind of feel emotional about things when you hear baroque music and I think that's really special," said Boise Baroque Orchestra's Executive Director Johanna Laney.

Today if you want to get on the dancefloor, you might turn on some Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift. In the Baroque era, you'd hope to one day see names like Bach or Handel.

"Baroque music is primarily dance music, so when you do a waltz or a rondo, or these little dance movements, it's all because there was a tiny little orchestra in the corner that they hired to play for all of these fancy dances that the aristocracy would learn and that was their job," said Douthit.

The Boise Baroque Orchestra was created 19 years ago and, like the Philharmonic, have various shows throughout the year. Also like the Philharmonic, you might know a member or two.

"A lot of our musicians, they play with the Boise Philharmonic or they teach at BSU, or they teach at local high schools and so they all have different jobs. Some of them are accountants or nurses, but they're all professional musicians and they studied professionally. They're the people that you see every day in Boise. They're here in the community," said Laney.

And with their summer concert series at the Chateau des Fleurs quickly approaching, pull out your finest top hats and corsets and see if Uber can send you a horse and buggy because you won't want to miss one of the best orchestras you'll ever hear that was made right here in Idaho.

"It's so much fun to be engaged in the energy of an actual live orchestra, and to sit out on the lawn and drink your wine or whatever your beverage of choice, and have a picnic, and just enjoy the beautiful scenery that the Roghanis have put together with the Chateau des Fleurs, and enjoy life," said Douthit.

As mentioned, the Boise Baroque Orchestra has their summer concert series coming up. You can catch them live at the Chateau Des Fleurs in Eagle on August 21, August 28, and September 4. More information and tickets are available here.