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

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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 this music with you. The SDSO was very generous and provided the recordings, so be sure to visit their site and see the other fantastic musical work they do season after season. It might be a drive from where you are to Sioux Falls, however it's worth the trip and the change of scenery to experience what they do. Aaaand of course, to grab some delicious and nutritious food at Sanaa's.

Food and music...they go so well together.

Click here to listen to the Pergolesi Stabat Mater!

 

How Shallow is Your Breath? 2 Ways to Breathe More Deeply

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We live in this time, in these bodies, in this world. And right now it's really hard.2 ways to breathe more deeply

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 breathe more deeply:

 

1. Breathe over time.

Using a slow count, breathe in 1...2...3...and out 1...2...3... Now increase it to 4 by breathing in 1...2...3...4...out 1...2...3...4... Increase the count to 5 and breath 1...2...3...4...5...out 1...2...3...4...5...

Repeat this exercise beginning with a count of 4, then of 5 and finally of 6. How do you feel now?

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

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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 is no small task. And neither is this cantata!

 

A New Recording For You!

The SDSO was very generous and provided a recording of this Cantata, which is now available on the Media page of this site. Click here to listen! They are a wonderful organization and the musicians are fantastic! We were able to make beautiful music together and to bring the meaning across to the audience.

 

And One More Recording on its Way!

Ah yes, and the delightful, talented Hannah Lu and I joined forces on the second half of the program for Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, of which I also have a recording. Stay tuned for that one! This picture is of (L to R) soprano Hannah Lu, conductor Delta David Gier, and me. We had a blast!

Highlights of this Year's Concert

One of the fun parts of traveling for work is getting to know a new place. Sioux Falls, South Dakota was a new location and the people there are as friendly as you would imagine. And as snowy as can be in January! This was the view from my hotel room the day after I arrived. Brrr!

Welcome to the new edition of Open Intervals!

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WelcomeBackMay2016

Welcome back to Open Intervals! It's been a long time since I've blogged regularly and that is simply a reflection of being...stuck.

Long story short:  I used to purchase software on a yearly subscription basis to make my blog look totally awesome. And it did! It posted automatically to Twitter and sent emails whenever I posted a blog post.

Except I don't use Twitter any more. And the price went...up. And I got new email software that could send emails whenever I posted something new on Open Intervals. And I definitely didn't want to keep throwing good money at a blogging software every year when, thanks to continued development by the Joomla team, I could do the same thing in my site...for FREE!

So I hired someone to extract the articles and create the new blog you see here today. It took me a long time to find the right person to do it and he did a spectacular job.

On the right you'll see quite a few differences.

 

Give it a rest.

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It's time...to take a break.quarter-rest-black-no-stroke-hi

2014 has been quite a journey.

This year I've:

  • finished and announced this new website
  • traveled to Patagonia (Chile), Oregon, Milwaukee, and Virginia, MN (yeah, you know it's awesome up there)
  • started my own voice studio
  • started teaching in the after-school programs at one high school and soon will teach in another
  • sang my first World Premiere
  • sang "Les Nuits d'été" for the first time
  • rehearsed "Jesu, meine Freude" with my friends' infant cooing on my lap (that's a career highlight, by the way)
  • sang the German National Anthem for the first time

Not to mention blogging for the entire month of August, sending Nicole's Notes monthly, adjudicating Solo & Ensemble a few times, a few big changes in my own life, and keeping up with it all.

So I'm calling it a year for Open Intervals; I'm done blogging here for 2014. I have pictures to post, pages to update, I'd like to practice what I preach and actually make a smashbook of musical inspiration, not to mention having some freetime and getting together with some great friends.

Without rest, we are all work and no fun. So it's time to give it a rest.

So have a very happy holiday season--Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! See you on the flip side!

Best,

Nicole

This is how I #SeeDV. How do you #SeeDV?

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Last week I wrote about upcoming concerts I have with VocalPoint Chorus out of St. Paul, Minnesota. I'll be singing two pieces, however I'll also be there as an advocate for domestic violence awareness.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I'm proud and grateful to share with you that I've written a blog post for the National Domestic Violence Hotline about how I #SeeDV (how I see domestic violence).

Click here to read the blog post at The Hotline.

Most days, but specifically in October, I am reminded that my life could look drastically different. My life and my awareness changed when I left a violent relationship--one in which there was not much fun at all, daily tasks were tainted with misgiving, mistrust, and insults.

I would wake up to criticism and crazy-making behavior that left me feeling worthless, terrified, and helpless.

Then I had one chance to leave, and I left because I knew I couldn't stay. It was in my weakest moment, the most terrifying time of my life that I had to make the strongest, most courageous decision I will ever make. And given the very unique opportunity I had to leave, I've chosen to speak out on behalf of other victims and survivors who cannot or choose not to speak out.

I can no longer count the emails, messages, and phone calls I've gotten from friends asking...

  • My friend's husband beat her up...what do I do?
  • I can't stay here any more, I'm terrified all the time. Where do I go?
  • Can you help me?

Or simply saying...

Because as horrifying as it is to hear the stories that are coming out in the news right now, it is even more horrifying and terrifying to live in that situation.

If you or someone you know needs help, find a safe place and call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). You can speak with an advocate and get help.

And yes, it does get better. Much, much better.