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Blog: Open Intervals

What's it like to be a singer for the German National Anthem?

The German Flag: schwarz, rot, goldWhen the lady sang another country's national anthem at the olympics and just sang "la la la," I thought that was really silly. A national anthem represents a country, just as the sports teams who are playing the game represent the country. And for an official meeting between countries that calls for music, it can set people at ease and give them a topic of conversation. Music bridges a lot between nations.

A couple of years ago I was asked to sing the German Nationalhymne (national anthem), kno…

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LISTEN: "Stabat mater" with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra

At long last, now you can listen to the recording of the rest of the concert I sang with the fantastic soprano Hannah Lu and conductor Delta David Gier with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra last season. The mp3s are now up in the Media Room and there are a LOT of recordings to listen to: I posted eight of the total 12 movements.

As I mentioned in my previous post where I linked to the recording of the Bach cantata I sang, this was a fantastic experience and I'm so proud and happy to share thi…

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The Neighbor and the Techno

Now that I've moved to Milwaukee it's safe to tell this story.

My former neighbor, whom I'll simply call "Neighbor," was not what you might call the "communicative" type. If I said "hello," he would do a double-take and then say, surprised, "Hello." If I didn't say hello, he would just walk awkwardly past me.

And the woman that he lived with, she was even worse. I once saw her outside, turned to her to say hello, and she literally turned and ran in the other direction. (Needless to say I didn'…

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2 Ways to Breathe More Deeply

We live in this time, in these bodies, in this world. And right now it's really hard.

Because we live in a culture of fear and in a culture of violence and sometimes it's really hard to hear your own voice inside your head.

Breathing deeply works against stress, against fear, and helps you connect with your inner voice, your inner wisdom.

If you, like so many of us, feel at a loss right now, start with this, it will clear your mind and give you your starting place.

Here are two ways to breat…

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9 Goofy Things Voice Students Say

Voice students say the darndest things! And my students are no exception. Over the past couple of years I've collected their antics and funny comments. Here, without further ado, are 9 goofy things my voice students have said:

You know you're old when...

A: *takes out smart phone and hits the button* Siri, who is “Milli Vanilli”?


Do I have a wobble?!

T: *looks at me wide-eyed.* Nicole, your vibrato…it scares me.


Confessions of a high schooler:

D: (whispered) I like orchestra better t…

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LISTEN: Nicole's Bach Cantata 170 with the SD Symphony

In January of this year I sang with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra for the first time. The solo piece I performed was Bach's Cantata 170 Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, which translates roughly to "Pleasurable rest, beloved delight of the soul." The idea of the cantata is welcoming virtue into your heart while recognizing that most people choose to walk all over their neighbor, and ultimately finding a way to live in harmony with these virtues despite what other people are doing.

That i…

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7 Words of Wisdom for Senior Voice Students

Dear Senior Voice Students,

It's hard every year when you depart. The last concert is so emotional, your last lessons are poignant. I often imagine what you'll think 20 years from now when you think about your voice lessons. Did you learn what you wanted to learn? Did all the music theory sink in deep enough? Do you remember to breathe with your belly?

Here are 7 pieces of what my students would probably call unsolicited advice I give to seniors and any voice student who's going off on a new a…

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Seven Songs for Planet Earth

Olli Kortekangas:  Seven Songs for Planet Earth

April 23, 2016 at 2 p.m.  Olli Kortekangas dsc 0770


Nicole Warner, mezzo-soprano

Aaron Larson, baritone

Masterworks Chorale of Augsburg College

Peter Hendrickson, conductor


Central Lutheran Church

333 S 12th St.

Minneapolis, MN 55404


In English, this piece uses texts by Wendell Berry and St. Francis of Assisi. Here's the official concert poster:


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South Dakota Symphony: Sacred Baroque

Johann Sebastian Bach     Cantata No. 51, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen

Johann Sebastian Bach     Cantata No. 170, Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi     Stabat MaterPergolesi


Saturday, January 9, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday,  January 10, 2016 at 2:30 p.m..


Hannah Lu, soprano

Nicole Warner, mezzo-soprano

South Dakota Symphony

Delta David Gier, conductor




Our Savior's Lutheran Church

909 W 33rd St,

Sioux Falls, SD 57105


On this program Hanna…

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