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Gene Harris Jazz Festival • The Steunenberg Assassination


The Gene Harris Jazz Festival

The Gene Harris Jazz Festival has become a major event that continues to grow in scope and size each year. This year, the festival runs from April 4-7, and fans will come from all over to hear some of jazz's finest musicians. This year, as in years past, the talent is outstanding. Events include Wednesday night's Club Night with Jeff Baker, Paul Tillotson, Billy Mitchell, Cherie Buckner and many more. On Thursday, you can hear the Roger Kellaway Trio and Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band at the Qwest Arena. At the arena on Friday, you'll hear Jon Faddis with the Boise State Big Band and A Tribute to Gene Harris, featuring Luther Hughes, Ron Eschete, Niki Haris, Paul Kreibeck, Frank Potenza, Paul Tillotson, The Cannonball/Coltrane Project and more. On Saturday, there's a free gospel concert at the Boise State Student Union. To make sure this year is successful, the event needs the help of volunteers. People are needed to provide security, sell tickets and merchandise, provide information, distribute programs and more. If you're interested in helping out, contact Volunteer Coordinator Gary Segers at For more information, visit

The Steunenberg Assassination

On the evening of December 30, 1905, Idaho Gov. Frank Steunenberg reached the front gate of his home. As he opened the gate, he triggered a bomb that had been set there. He died shortly after the blast. This year marks the 100th anniversary of The State vs. William D. Haywood--a labor leader accused of hiring Steunenberg's assassin. This trial was one of the most intriguing trials in American history to date, and there are some interesting events coming up to commemorate it.

This fall, Idaho Public Television will air Assassination: Idaho's Trial of the Century. It's an hour-long program that will include re-creations of the events surrounding Steunenberg's death and the following trial. You can watch a preview segment of the show at

Next month, Spontaneous Productions, in conjunction with the Idaho Legal History Society (ILHS), will present a play based on the trial. Written and directed by Mike Silva and commissioned by IHLS, the play runs March 15-17 at Boise Little Theater with proceeds benefiting IHLS. According to a press release, "The play covers the death of Steunenberg, the arrest of Harry Orchard and the resulting trial in which the famed defense lawyer Clarence Darrow headed the defense team for the famous defendant William 'Big Bill' Haywood, executive secretary of the Western Federation of Miners. Orchard confessed to the murder and implicated Haywood and others from the union in the murder. On the prosecution side was James H. Hawley, a mayor of Boise and later governor of Idaho, whose descendants founded the Boise law firm of Hawley Troxell, Ennis and Hawley, and William E. Borah, the lion of Idaho, who represented Idaho in the U.S. Senate for many years."

A grant from the Boise City Arts Commission allowed Silva to bring in actor Gary Anderson--well-known for his portrayal of Darrow in the one man show Clarence Darrow: The Search for Justice--to play Darrow in this production.

Check these pages for an interview with Silva in the coming weeks.

For more information, visit

ICA's Web site

Whether you are an artist, an art educator or a supporter of the arts, the Idaho Commission on the Arts Web site at offers a wealth of information. There you'll find everything you need to know about Idaho arts education, advocacy, grants, fellowships, gallery and artist listings and more to help you make the most out of your arts experiences.

--Amy Atkins

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