Northwest Nazarene University honored the Boise Philharmonic with the 2011 Eugene Emerson Award. Each year NNU recognizes an organization that shares its goals of enriching and educating the local community.
Although the Boise Philharmonic is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this season, its roots in the community extend far beyond those 50 years. The Boise Philharmonic Society first began performing in the 1880’s when Boise’s population was less than 2,000. The group changed names, venues and size over the next 80 years, but never its vision, which is to encourage appreciation of the arts and provide a new cultural awareness.
It was in 1961 that the Boise Philharmonic was established under the direction of Jacques Brourman. At that time, regular concerts were being held at Boise High School. Today, the Philharmonic is directed by Robert Franz and their Boise concerts are performed at the Ann Morrison Center.
In the fall of 1998, through the leadership of Ken Harward from the City of Nampa, the Boise Philharmonic moved its Nampa performances from the Civic Center to NNU’s new Swayne Auditorium in the John and Orah Brandt Fine Arts and Convocation Center. The partnership between NNU and the Boise Philharmonic has been key in helping the University realize its goal of using the Brandt Center as a community resource.
President Emeritus Richard Hagood remembers the partnership saying, “Bringing the Boise Philharmonic to the campus soon after the opening of the Brandt Center affirmed the growing spirit of cooperation between our university and our community. It gave us a chance to showcase a marvelous auditorium and practice hospitality with our neighbors. The Boise Philharmonic has had a significant role in building bridges between NNU, the community of Nampa and beyond.”
This relationship has benefited both the University and the surrounding community in countless ways. Members of the NNU’s women’s choir and mixed ensembles have had the opportunity to join the Boise Philharmonic on stage in large choral works. Students have had the opportunity to learn directly from members of the Philharmonic who have offered private instruction on campus. And, NNU faculty, staff and students have been able to attend concerts without charge.
“We are humbled by this tremendous honor from Dr. Alexander and NNU,” said Boise Philharmonic Music Director Robert Franz. “We are grateful for this relationship to serve more of the Treasure Valley with our concerts. Receiving the Eugene Emerson Award from NNU is an incredible testament to our collaboration.”
The Eugene Emerson Award was established in 1985 to acknowledge the spirit of cooperation that exists between the Treasure Valley and the University. The award was named for NNU founder Eugene Emerson, a Nampa businessman who also established a lumber company and later sold it to Windsor Lloyd of Lloyd Lumber Company. The award honors those who have contributed significantly to fostering that cooperation, and by so doing, draw attention to the mutual benefit gained by both the community and the University.