Rob McIntyre is a native of southwestern Idaho. After graduating from Northwest Nazarene College in 1987, he spent four years teaching choral and instrumental music in the public schools of Oregon and Idaho. He received his M.A. in music from the University of Idaho in May of 1993 and is currently pursuing postgraduate work at the University of Idaho. His thesis, A Survey of Musical Activity in the Mining Camps of Idaho Through June of 1865, currently is being developed into a book. He has published articles concerning Idaho’s pioneer musical heritage in Idaho Yesterdays and Idaho Music Notes.
Miner Melodies: Pioneer Music of the Boise Basin The gold rush in the Boise Basin attracted people to the region from virtually every walk of life. Included in this population were a number of professional musicians. Attracted to the area by high salaries and abundant playing opportunities, these pioneer musicians found employment in the saloons, dance halls and theaters of the region. Many, such as John Kelly, were considered artists of the highest caliber. Kelly was a violinist who had toured the east coast with Ole Bull in 1844 and often received twenty dollars simply for playing a request. Amateur musicians were also participants in the musical culture of the community during the height of the rush, and after the professionals had moved on, the amateurs kept this same culture alive and vibrant. In his research, McIntyre has sought out the surviving descendants of pioneer musicians who participated in this culture. His slide presentation focuses upon the role that musical culture played in the mining communities of the region and also upon the lives of its participants.