Many Boise Baroque Orchestra patrons have expressed their appreciation for the profiles of our musicians. “It’s such fun to get to know the people who make this beautiful music,” is a typical comment. Ellie McKinnon produces these informative profiles, putting an average of eight hours into each one, from the initial interview to the finished piece. We’re glad Ellie shares her expertise, and we thought you would be interested in reading about the wonderful person behind the byline.
Ellie’s story began in Nebraska, where music was always a part of her life. Her mother performed with the Chicago Conservatory, and her father performed with the USO. After her parents married and had children, they gave up performing but kept the arts, especially music, integral to their lives. They relished fine performances and encouraged their kids to do the same.
Ellie particularly loves choral music. When she went to college, she joined choral groups and sang her heart out. Later, when she moved to Boise, she sang in the Boise Master Chorale, and thoroughly appreciated performing under the baton of Maestros Jim Jirik and Robert Franz. “Robert gets the most out of the musicians while making it fun,” she noted. An ardent fan of the arts in Boise, she enjoys Idaho Shakespeare Festival performances, Boise Baroque and Boise Phil concerts, and Ballet Idaho events. At one point, she served as a docent at the Boise Art Museum.
Ellie moved to Boise the year the Morrison Center was completed. Her late husband worked at Boise State University, and together they saw the evolution and growth of the arts and the university. When their children were in school, Ellie joined her husband at BSU, eventually becoming the founding director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Ellie remarked that “the Osher Institute connected with my desire to continue learning,” and learn she did. After retiring, she learned through travel. She took a trip to Mongolia, inspired by a photo at the Archives of Falconry at the World’s Center for Birds of Prey. The picture was of a Mongolian hunter on horseback, his eagle perched on his arm. The Wassmuth Center drew her to travel to Cambodia as part of a group that brought bicycles to children to help them get to school. She also walked the Portuguese Camino de Santiago with friends from Idaho, spent a month in Argentina, and recently enjoyed the colors and music of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Vicki Kreimeyer, Opera Idaho Board of Directors, said, “Ellie is one of my absolute favorite people. We greatly appreciate her giving her time and energy to the arts. She has a wonderful sparkle in her eye. She is always open to learning new things and to adventures of all sorts.”
We couldn’t agree more!