Honoring the Arb — UI arboretum provides perfect backdrop for annual concert

On a warm Monday evening in July, the faint sound of bells chimed through the University of Idaho Arboretum.

Nearly 350 people attended the annual Chamber Music in the Grove concert July 10 at 7 p.m. The small patch of grass, was filled with blankets, picnic baskets and community members all waiting to here the sounds that have played every year since 2000 in the botanical garden section of the UI Arboretum.

The event was hosted by the Arboretum Associates in conjunction with the Lionel Hampton School of Music.

Kristine Roby, the president of the Arboretum Associates, briefly introduced the large selection of the evening’s performers and thanked those that have played a large role in the event’s success over the past seventeen years.

Located on the west side of the upper pond, the Monday evening weather provided a cool backdrop to the event.

Once Roby ended the introduction, the bushes and trees in the surrounding area of the arboretum rustled as musicians emerged with soft chiming bells. The Arboretum Percussion Ensemble floated throughout the audience, and lead the first performance of the night, called Arboretum Color.

Roby said the amount of performances has grown over the years, much like the size of the audience which hit its peak this year. She said it was the event’s largest turnout yet.

Roby said Dan Bukvich, a UI music professor organizes the list of performances each year.There were over 16 performances during the concert, all featuring diverse musical sets made of large and small groups.

The Arboretum Associates will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year. The organization acts as a body of care takers for the arboretum, Roby said.

Fundraising for the needs of the arboretum, organizing yearly plant sales and arranging events for arboretum lovers and plant enthusiasts throughout the year are just a few of the roles of the Arboretum associates.

With nine members on the board of directors, Roby said there are many involved arboretum admirers to help when needed.

“Many people have given to the arboretum very generously over the years and we are so proud of that,” Roby said.

Roby said the idea for a concert originally began in the 1970s, with the old arboretum often used as the event space.

“A lot of crazy things happened in that old arboretum,” Roby said. “Entertainment was always happening around campus.”

Roby said there are so many beautiful outlooks throughout the Arboretum, that people have been playing peaceful music there for years. She said it takes little preparation to get the arboretum ready for concerts.

“We make sure everything can be transported and set up a advertisements here and there,” Roby said. “Other than that, it’s such a tradition now, that the concert takes care of itself.”

Hailey Stewart can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu or on Twitter at @Hailey_ann97

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