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The musical world of graduate Madison Booth: from the concert hall to the football field to the classroom

Madison Booth
All photos provided by Madison Booth.

Chances were good that music would play a big part in Madison Booth’s life. Both of her parents are musicians. Her dad, David, is a Boise State grad. Now retired, he spent many years as director of bands at Wright State University.

“We’re carrying on that tradition of music, and of being a Bronco,” said Booth.

She started studying flute with Boise State professor Nicole Molumby when she was in the seventh grade. Her mom, Suzanne, a flutist, drove her to Boise from Ontario, Oregon, for weekly lessons.

Now Booth is a fifth-year senior, graduating from Boise State with a double major in flute performance and music education. She’s off to the University of Illinois in a couple of months to pursue her master’s degree in flute performance. Booth will be a graduate assistant. That will give her that chance to teach undergraduates – something she wants to do in the future, along with performing.

Madison Booth performing

“To be a college flute professor and a performer, and recording CDs. It wasn’t until I started studying with Nicole that I even realized that was a career option,” said Booth.

Molumby has performed locally and internationally, and released her debut CD, “Awakening: 21st Century Slovenian Flute,” in 2013. Over their 11 years of study together, Booth and Molumby grew close.

“As a student, Maddie is prepared and inquisitive, polished, but authentic and humble, just top shelf,” said Molumby. “She brings a command to the stage when she performs and will excel on any music path.”

Already Booth has excelled. She was principal flute in the Boise State Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Winds. In addition, she led the piccolo section in the Blue Thunder Marching Band. The latter was a world away from her classical studies, she said. It required an entirely different energy. But whether she was in a concert hall or on a football field, “either way, I was playing,” Booth said.

Madison Booth in the Blue Thunder Marching Band

She was the Department of Music’s Presser Scholar, an award voted on by faculty and given to a student who exemplifies a strong work ethic, artistry and musicianship. She was on the dean’s list for four years and has had several internships with national arts organizations. Booth was one of just two interns chosen for the National Association of Music Merchants 2020 Convention. More than 100,000 people attend the event, “an intersection between music industry and performance meet with cutting edge innovations in music technology,” said Molumby.

“Madison was front and center, working behind the scenes with artists, vendors and production managers,” she added.

Closer to home, Booth works as an independent flute teacher. Before the COVID-19 lockdown, her student teaching through the university took her to local schools. As a student teacher trying to engage young students, “You learn a lot, and you learn it fast,” Booth said. “You learn by trying, failing, then trying again.”

Madison Booth with her father when he guest conducted at Boise State
Madison’s father and Boise State alumnus, David Booth, guest conducted Boise State Symphonic Winds when Madison (standing with flute), was part of the ensemble.

She’s thought a lot, she said, about why she believes everyone should study music – even if their path is different from her own in which music has been so central.

It’s telling, she thinks, that in the midst of the pandemic, so many people have turned to art to provide hope and joy.

“There are all the studies about music and brain connectivity, and its relationship to math. But at the end of the day, the art stands on its own merits,” said Booth. “Music connects with your soul. It’s really for everyone.”

– Story by Anna Webb