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‘YoteFort’ takes over Boise music festival

C of I alumna Ana Lete ’16 gives a first-hand account of her experience performing at Boise's Treefort Music Fest--and she wasn't the only artist with ties to The College of Idaho.

Now in its sixth year, Treefort Music Fest turns the normally quiet Boise music scene into a hopping hipster city. As the festival grows, more people are flocking to Boise to soak in new sounds, and, as Mac Demarco’s guitarist said, “visit the Basque Museum.” This year, Treefort hosted 419 bands to play during the five-day festival March 22-27.

I was lucky enough to be in one of those 419 bands. My self-titled experimental indie-folk band, Ana Lete, played at the District Coffee House on March 24. I wasn’t the only member of my three-piece group with College of Idaho roots, though–Ashton Jenicek (bass) graduated in 2016, while David Weatherby (drums) attended C of I from 2011-2012.

I have long said that Treefort is better than Christmas, and after playing the festival two years in a row, I truly believe it. There’s no other time of year where all of Boise comes out to support music. Local businesses decorate their windows with Treefort displays, people start wearing their Treefort swag, and non-Idahoans visit Boise for the first time.

There’s nothing like performing at a music festival. You walk on stage and give your heart and soul to those listening until it’s time to step off. Those 40 minutes are a blur, but there’s nothing like it. To know that you are affecting people emotionally, and are making them move physically with your music, is a wonderful feeling.

Truthfully, I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without C of I. Christi Green trained me in classical guitar and taught me to expect nothing short of excellence from myself. My jazz ensembles taught me to constantly listen to the other musicians around me and make the best of a “wrong note” (hint: just play it again), and introduced me to jazz great Billie Holiday.

Jenicek, who also played with Sean Dahlman ’14 in the band St. Terrible during Treefort, noted the impact C of I had on his musical knowledge and abilities.

“Oh definitely,” Jenicek said. “From time invested in the practice rooms to learning from professors to playing with different music majors like Seth [Graham], Sean [Dahlman], and [Lete], my time at C of I had an influence.”

Fellow alumnus and Treefort rocker Anthony Parry ’12 expressed similar sentiments.

“C of I was where we met,” Parry said of his band, The Green Zoo, which also includes Jeff Young ’12, Thomas Newby ’11 and Mike Ward ’11. “Studying music history, theory and composition provided new approaches and techniques for our songwriting and composition. We’ve developed a unique voice in the six-plus years we’ve played together. C of I united us and widened our horizons for what was possible for a rock band to do.”

As Boise’s music scene grows, there’s no doubt in my mind that C of I students and alumni will continue to contribute their talents to Treefort Music Fest and other performing venues. While Ashton and I eventually plan on leaving Boise to pursue music in Seattle and Portland, Treefort Music Fest—and the College that got us there—will always be home.

Learn more about Ana's music at www.analete.com

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.