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Blog: Open Intervals

"Do You Get Nervous?" Stagefright and Performance Anxiety

Yesterday, 3 times in 24 hours came the question "Do you get nervous?"

Stagefright, a/k/a performance anxiety is very real for many musicians and can be debilitating. Rumors circulate about singers' superstitions before shows, some singers get snippy, others get quiet. Everybody has a different reaction before a show, whether it's business-as-usual or prayer & meditation and every singer's pre-show process must be respected.

There have been 3 stages to this in my life.

First was "Excited Nervous…

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Do Soloists Have to Wear Black? A Gown Buying Guide for Gals

The answer is no, soloists do not have to wear black! Here we’re talking about professional soloists who are hired-in from other locations and come in for a special program or a concert on a series. (See my previous blog post “Why Do Musicians Always Wear Black” for ensemble wardrobe topics.)


Soloists determine their own wardrobe. For men, the hiring organization chooses tux or tails, cummerbund or not, maybe a vest, and no matter what they are dressed and ready to go in short order. ‘nuff sai…

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Why Do Musicians Always Wear Black?

A musician’s motto: Black is black is black is black.

Somewhere along the line, black clothing became the standard for performing musicians. It’s easy on the eyes, looks pretty much the same on different fabrics, and looks just fine on almost everyone.




An ensemble dressed completely in black looks unified. If they’re all wearing a different color it’s sometimes too much stimulation. If everyone is wearing black, then it’s easier to concentrate on the music they are making a…

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9.11.11 United We Stand - Mozart Requiem


September 11, 2011, 3 pm

LIVE Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) at 3:00 pm

REBROADCASTThe Wisconsin Channel at 8:00 pm

STREAMING ONLINE Wisconsin Channel Onlineat 8:00 pm.


Bel Canto Chorus and Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra

Cathedral Square Park, Downtown Milwaukee, WI

Richard Hynson, conductor

Rebecca Whitney, soprano

Nicole Warner, mezzo-soprano

Gregory Schmidt, tenor

Gerard Sundberg, bass



Requiem, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Adagio for Strings, Samuel Barber


This c…

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9.11.11 - A High Calling to Service

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. -Mother Teresa



On September 11, 2001 I don't think anyone thought about what the 10th Anniversary would be like. People I talk with about September 11th don't talk about the 10th Anniversary, they talk about what happened 10 years ago. We remember where we were, what happened, who we knew who was in New York or working in the Pentagon, or even whom we knew who was supposed to have been in the towers that da…

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5 Tips for Taking a Gig (or Not!)

Simplicity is key! One of the guiding principles suggested in Ratgeber Freie* for whether or not a gig is worth your while is

"Does it make me happy? Does it make me rich? Does it make me proud?"

and if the gig in front of you meets at least 2 of those 3 guidelines, it's a good idea to take it. If the gig only meets 1, then you ought to be pretty clear on why you're taking the gig--or why you're kindly turning it down.

It's a great way to decide whether to take a gig or not and that's whe…

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Making Magic in South America: Mozart, Moses Hogan, and Plenty of Steak - Part II

There are certain ways that music touches us and one of these is when music becomes something more than sound and silence over time. Basilica_de_Guadalupe_in_MercedesIt happens when everyone lets go of their distractions, latches on to the group's motivation, and lets the music flow. This is what happened on tour in South America last month.

Three of our four concerts were sold out, the first one having been about 95% sold out. It's always something special and is a momentous goal achieved when a musician hears the words "95% s…

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9.11.11 United We Stand - Live on MPTV!

9-11 logo





On September 11, 2011 I'll be joining the Bel Canto Chorus and the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra for a FREE commemorative concert of Mozart's Requiem in downtown Milwaukee.

This event will be broadcast LIVE on MPTV 10.1 at 3:00 pm and rebroadcast the same day at 6:30 pm on MPTV 36.1.


This event is also an acknowledgement of first responders and veterans. From the press release:

United We Stand will feature appearances by local and state government, comm…

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South America Tour: Mozart, Moses Hogan, and Plenty of Steak - Part I

That pretty much sums up the Bel Canto Chorus 2011 Tour to South America. OK, well, there is a lot more to it than that, so here's are a few of the highlights--of which there are so, so many!


Day 1:  Arrival in Buenos Aires, Argentina and transfer to Colonia, Uruguay. Our first dinner was a lovely buffet of quiches, salads, and interesting small dishes. We ate, we drank, we laughed and got acquainted, and then we found out there were two more courses. Uff-da!


Then it was on to Montevideo, U…

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