Biotzetik Basque Choir

Biotzetik Basque Choir in 2015

Biotzetik, which in Basque means "from the heart", was founded in 1986 to spread the Basque musical heritage to people worldwide. It is the only regularly rehearsing and performing Basque choir in the United States and continues the long and proud tradition of Basque choral singing in Boise. 

The choir is comprised of approximately 50 volunteer members, both Basque and non-Basque, all of whom have a deep appreciation for music and the desire to promote the Basque language and culture. They perform year-round for community events, weddings, funerals, fundraisers and other activities. 

The choir has been fortunate to have been directed over the years by Ted Totorica, Jim Anderson and Jose Luis Egiluz. Maestro Egiluz began his contact with Biotzetik in 1988. At that time, the Government of the Basque Autonomous Region sent him to Boise to advise the choir. Since that time his contact with the Boise Basque community has remained constant. He frequently works on projects for and with his Boise friends.

Since 1998 Biotzetik has been under the direction of Patty Gabica.

The choir serves as music ministers for the annual Basque Mass at St. John's Cathedral in honor of St. Ignatius of Loyola. They sing at St. Mary's Catholic Church each year for the Easter Vigil Mass. Additionally, the choir, along with the Basque Museum, co-sponsors Omenaldia, a memorial Mass celebrated at Sacred Heart Catholic Church each year near the feast of All Saints.

On an annual basis the choir hosts "Kantari Afaria," a popular Boise event during which patrons enjoy a Basque dinner, music and a lively auction. This is a major fundraiser for the choir, and is routinely sold out each year. At Christmastime, the choir performs a holiday concert sung in Basque and English. It is typically performed at the beautiful St. John's Cathedral. Biotzetik often spreads holiday cheer to senior citizens throughout a day of Christmas caroling at local homes for the elderly.

Biotzetik has sung throughout Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington State and Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2001 and 2006 the choir traveled to the Basque Country to perform and participate in music workshops. In 2003, the choir embarked on a tour to Basque clubs in the Northwest; Portland, Seattle, Vancouver B.C., and Yakima. They also participated in a festival in Leavenworth, Washington. The choir traveled to New York City in February 2010 to perform at the opening of the Basque Museum and Cultural Center's Ellis Island exhibit, Basques: Hidden in Plain Sight. In 2013, the choir was part of the Festival of Sail in San Diego, California.  In July of 2016, Biotzetik participated in the Smithsonian Institute’s Folk Life Festival in Washington, D.C.  A highlight of the trip was a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

During the 2005 and 2010 International Jaialdi Basque Festivals, the choir performed in several key venues, including a performance for the Basque President at the Boise Center on the Grove. The choir has provided the liturgical music for the Jaialdi Masses.

In 2006, Biotzetik received the Governor's Award in the Arts recognizing their contributions to the arts in the State of Idaho and beyond.

Source: Booklet of Jaialdi 2015.

Audio Recording: 
Agur Jaunak, Biotzetik Basque Choir, 1.
Haurrak Ikas-azue, Biotzetik Basque Choir, 1.