Boise Philharmonic Orchestra

The Boise Phil cancelled its opening performance due to the recent COVID surge and increasing stress on local hospitals.

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It’s been over 500 days since the entirety of the Boise Philharmonic has played together.

“The Opening Night: Sounds of Celebration” was set to be the mighty return for the orchestral band. A terrific moment for music lovers to be reminded of what they’ve missed about live performances. But as virtually everyone has learned — not everything goes as planned.

“The Opening Night: Sounds of Celebration” concert is cancelled and the “Encore Ball” fundraiser postponed due to surging COVID-19 and overwhelmed hospitals, the Boise Philharmonic announced Sunday.

The concert at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts had been scheduled for Sept. 18. The Board of Directors for the Boise Phil voted to cancel due to the high transmission rates of COVID-19 in the Treasure Valley.

“Live music will return to our community, but we need your help,” Boise Phil Executive Director Laura Reynolds said in a press release. “We need our community to get vaccinated, wear masks to help slow the spread of this virus, and ease the burden our healthcare workers are facing. Our musicians are eager to perform and we do look forward to presenting live concerts for you safely in the future.”

This marks the second year the pandemic has forced cancellations for the live symphonic performances. The decision wasn’t an easy one to make; not only are audiences missing out on the electricity of a live performance but so are the members of the band itself.

“Everyone that works in the arts right now is disappointed,” Reynolds said. “This is our life and our livelihood but we all understand that we need to stay safe and healthy. We want to come back and when we come back we want to do so safely.”

“Sounds of Celebration” was set to kick off the 2021-22 season. The next concert is scheduled for Oct. 16-17 with “The Shape of Water.” The concert features Duke Ellington’s Selections from “The River Suite.”

“We needed more time to pause and gear up for October events,” Reynolds said.

For future concerts, the Boise Phil is adding more safety protocols including mask requirements, reduced capacity in venues and proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results.

“All of us at the Morrison Center support the very difficult decision the Boise Phil has had to make on their first concert,” said Morrison Center Executive Director Laura Kendall in a statement. “We are ready to support all our local arts organizations as they work to return to live performances with additional protocols for audiences, shifting of dates, easy ticket returns, and timely communications on what to expect. We have implemented a number of practices to ensure a safe space for performers, staff, volunteers, and audiences. We thank our audiences for their patience and support as we reopen.”

The Boise Phil hosted its 2020-21 season digitally, it was a medium that they knew they would continue using with this season, Reynolds said.

“It’s something we knew we would continue this year,” Reynolds said. “People are at different stages of comfort and we are trying to create options where everyone can feel safe.”

For anyone who still wants to scratch that live music itch, the Boise Philharmonic will continue its Digital Stage performances; on-demand concerts can be streamed at

Despite a few other cancellations in Boise’s entertainment scene, including the Hyde Park Street Fair and Meridian’s first-ever Oktoberfest, thankfully Treefort is still a go with plans to be smart with its festivalgoers.

“Treefort is looking forward to returning to downtown Boise next week, after two and half years since the last festival,” said Eric Gilbert, the festival director of Treefort Music Fest. “We are feeling confident that our approach of screening prior to entry, having plenty of outdoor options, and only selling a limited number of tickets will allow us to hold a safe event for everyone. But hands down, the best thing people can do at this moment is get vaccinated.”

Treefort is also requiring masks.

All tickets for the Boise Phil’s debut season performance will be refunded. All tickets to the “Encore” Ball will be transferred to Spring 2022 unless otherwise requested. If you would like a refund, email: or call (208) 344-7849.

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