Under the tutelage of College of Idaho Langroise Trio musicians Geoffrey Trabichoff (violin), Dave Johnson (viola), and Sam Smith (cello), many C of I graduates have won auditions for the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra. Some have come and gone, but six former students currently bow notes on violin, viola and cello
Julia Pope ’04 was offered a place at the C of I as a music performance major. She didn’t know a music education minor was also in her future.
While she is a professional musician today because of the Trio, Pope said, it was Smith’s wife Nancy whom identified Pope as someone who could be a good teacher. She encouraged Pope to go into education. Persistently. And Nancy was right. Today, Pope works as a music specialist in the West Ada School District, continuing the Langroise Trio’s goal of enriching the music culture of the Treasure Valley.
Fellow cellist Leslie Mandigo ’96 has been in the Boise Philharmonic for nearly 20 years. Like Pope, she found a niche in teaching— she began teaching private cello lesson in 2003 and now also teaches bass.
Kyla Davidson ’10 started out on violin at 2 years old before deciding it was too high pitched at age 6. She changed to cello and also studied under Smith.
“Sam influenced my career by helping me realize there was more within my reach than I knew as a young student,” Davidson said. “He was extremely approachable and willing to help me reach my personal goals when I figured out what they were.”
Today, she enjoys performing pieces in front of thousands of people, making music that moves and inspires others.
“Being on stage is an experience unlike anything else—it's exciting, terrifying and rewarding at the same time,” Davidson said.
Aurora Torres ’12 (viola) said she sometimes forgets there is an audience watching and listening to the music she helps create. But she is reminded that classical music can touch someone’s life or introduce them to something they’ve never experienced before.
“When you do get those reminders, it is one of the most satisfying and fulfilling feelings,” Torres said.
And having the chance to study with Johnson and the Trio is not something she takes for granted.
“I have so much respect for the Trio,” Torres said. “The fact that I can play on the same stage with them is just incredible.”
Seth Mattison ’09 became interested in playing violin after his parents took him to the National Oldtime Fiddlers Contest in Weiser, Idaho. He would go on to win his age division at the contest in 1999 and 2003, to go with several top-5 finishes in the Grand National division. Mattison gradually became more interested in classical music and came to the C of I—though he still fiddles.
“Geoffrey and the whole Langroise Trio really encouraged me to attend The College of Idaho, and they helped me apply for scholarships and grants,” he said.
Mattison, who also holds a degree in accounting, balances life as a XBRL production manager at RDG Filings with playing in the philharmonic. Playing music allows him to create another world filled with splashes of vibrant colored notes and constructions of towering crescendos. But, the benefits work both ways.
“I feel that having played a lot of difficult music helps me to learn more rapidly and comprehend concepts more easily,” Mattison said.
Geoffrey Hill ’12 remembers his first experiences studying with Trabichoff as being “incredibly intimidating.” But his time at the C of I led Hill to the principal violin II position in the philharmonic. He performs with Trabichoff on his left. To his right, he sees Johnson and Smith. At first, Hill said he almost felt like he didn’t belong amidst his professors. But his love of classical music has been the driving force behind his dream of becoming a professional musician.
“I love this music so much,” Hill said. “It’s so fun and it’s so cool. Classical music is stuff that I could just rock out to and I want to share that with people. When I’m on stage, I want people to know how excited I am about that music.”