Thomas Paul is well-known in Boise singer-songwriter circles. A gifted string player (guitar, mandolin, banjo, etc.), he has his own band and also backs other musicians, such as Bill Coffey, Steve Fulton and Andy Byron.
What might come as a surprise is that when he’s not rockin’ on stage, he’s practicing Bach, Beethoven and — for this upcoming Boise Philharmonic concert — Mozart as a member of the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale.
The chorale will combine with The College of Idaho Choir for two performances of the Requiem with the Boise Phil on March 11 and 12.
“As a singer, I’m highly self-trained,” says the 39-year-old Idaho Falls native. “What I have, I learned in choir in junior high and high school. I was so excited to have this back in my life. I knew I missed it, but didn’t know how much.”
Paul returned to this part of his musical roots in 2013 when his schedule loosened up so he could make the Monday night rehearsals.
Mozart’s Requiem is challenging. Physically, it pushes his voice; emotionally, it pulls at his heart.
“Any requiem is weighted with emotional content, but Mozart wrote this on his death bed,” Paul says. “Maestro (Robert) Franz really brings it out of you.”
Mozart began work on Requiem for an anonymous commissioner in 1791. He became ill shortly after and died under mysterious circumstances in December of that year. His student Franz Xaver Süssmayr completed the work months later.
“I don’t get too into the woo-woo side of it,” Paul says. “He was a troubled man, and you can hear it. It’s heavy. I don’t get into all the symbolism, but you can apply the ideas to what you’ve experienced. Plus, the Latin makes it sound poignant and beautiful.”
Paul is now four years into his exploration of classical scores with the chorale, and it’s having an effect.
“Hearing the way composers put music together from the inside, you learn their ideas for moving notes around,” he says.
It’s starting to influence his own writing, which you can hear on his album when it comes out this spring. Paul will also be performing with his band at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 27, on the main stage at Treefort Music Fest.
Boise Philharmonic’s Mozart Requiem: 8 p.m. Friday, March 11, Brandt Center, Northwest Nazarene University, 707 Fern St., Nampa; and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 12, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. $22-$71.50 at BoisePhil.org.
Dance lovers take note
The Ballet Idaho company members are creating new work for this edition of NewDance Up Close, a choreographer’s showcase the company produces to inspire its dancers to explore their own movement. Since it began in 2010, the series has given a forum for young movers such as Daniel Ojeda and choreographer Lydia Sakolsky-Basquill, who teaches at the Ballet Idaho Academy and leads her own company, Project Flux.
It’s a wonderfully intimate way to connect with up-and-coming choreographers. You’ll also see works by principal dancer Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti, as well as dancers Nathan Powell and Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin.
NewDance Up Close: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 11-12, and Friday, March 18; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 19, Esther Simplot Performing Arts Annex, 501 S. 8th St., Boise. $20 and $25. 343-0556, ext. 220; BalletIdaho.org.
Swing with the best
Though Glenn Miller died in a plane crash in 1944, his music lives on, especially through this touring big band tribute. The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra will swing into Boise’s Morrison Center on March 15. You’ll hear the smooth style that Miller created with hits such as “In the Mood” and “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” performed by a new generation of muscians.
This band got together in 1956 and has been on the road ever since, playing about 300 dates annually.
7 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. $19.50, $24.50 and $29.50. Ticketmaster.