What We Do
Each week I share a song that I’ve recorded with my wife Naomi accompanying on the piano. The very fact that we are still and again doing music together is in itself a result of our own soul shifting and spirit stirring and quiet acts of listening and changing. More on that along the way.
The music that we make is beautiful and shares a message:
learn yourself, relearn others, and relearn how to love.
In this is God well pleased.
We all worship something. God wants us to worship him in spirit and in truth. For some people the truth part seems to come more naturally, which is ironic, because if we neglect the spirit inside ourselves we are probably distorting our perception of truth anyway.
This is when we get really stuck.
Stuck in our ways of living and thinking and talking and loving.
This is when something in us needs to change – because it isn’t actually built on what is true. What do you do when you start to see the other side of a story, and it requires that you reframe an ideology you have held for all of your life?
What do you do when your self criticism is crippling your chances of doing well?
It is these questions that our music explores.
Whether through original songs or songs written by others, we hope that what we present and how we share it will give space and a moment of thoughtfulness and feelingfulness to someone listening. Beyond that, we want to offer support and motivation to take these new thoughts and feelings and act on them. As we become aware of them, we can change our perceptions, change our relationships, and change our life for good.
Our goal is to sing people toward change and wholeness.
Change is super hard. It is embarrassing, humiliating, and sometimes downright scary. Through our songs and stories we seek to validate that experience and empower people to do it anyway.
We, the N Birds, have been married for 11 years and have four loud children. Our home is in Minneapolis, less than an hour from where each of us grew up. As kids we were heavily involved in music – Nathan sang with his family, and Naomi played piano and flute from a young age.
Music is probably the main reason we hit it off so quickly in the first place – within months we were doing gigs together and having lots of fun with our slew of homeschool and college friends singing and playing music.
We each received a Bachelor of Music degree from Twin Cities institutions – Nathan in Voice Performance at Northwestern College (now the University of Northwestern-St. Paul) and Naomi in Music Therapy at the University of Minnesota. After graduating and marrying and spending a year in Stillwater, MN, for Naomi’s internship, we lived for two years in Colorado where Nathan received his Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from the University of Denver. While we love the oxygen and water here in Minnesota, we do miss the daily glimpse of those mountains off to the west.
We also miss being so close to Naomi’s only sister in Colorado springs. At the moment, Naomi is the only one of her four siblings still in Minnesota now that all three of her brothers live in the Seattle area. Nathan has a brother in Seattle also, but the rest of his six (yes six) siblings live with their families in Minnesota.
After Nathan finished graduate school, at which point we had 1.5 children, we made our way back to Minnesota and a series of performing gigs that Nathan had lined up with his alma mater in St. Paul, with Cantus, and at the Guthrie Theatre. One thing led to another, and our plan to eventually settle down in Minneapolis came about sooner than expected. For six years we lived in the arts district of Northeast Minneapolis until buying our own home in 2017, just blocks away from the Mississippi River. Concerts, teaching, choir directing, and even a hiatus from the music scene altogether – oh, and two more kids – have filled our years.
We now find ourselves living in one of the most beautiful cities in the country, relaunching our music endeavors with a renewed sense of vigor and purpose, and learning how to develop a community with our neighbors. Nathan is teaching private voice lessons at three different high schools, directs our church choir, is producing concerts with his NorrSound Tenors, and growing into a role as arts entrepreneur coach in our music-rich region. Naomi is in her second year as organist at our church and was thrilled to recently return to the world of ballet accompanying.
When we’re not practicing, or scheduling babysitters, or writing emails, or picking music, we are probably doing laundry, washing dishes, wiping noses, plugging our ears to the screams of small people, or piled on the big bed for family reading time. The last two of those often happen at the same time.
Nathan’s program bio:
Nathan Bird, tenor, is a Minneapolis based performer, concert producer, and voice teacher. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from University of Northwestern-St. Paul and a Master of Vocal Performance degree from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. As a singer in choral, musical theater, and opera settings, his performance credits have included the International Opera Theater, Cantus, Guthrie Theatre, the Apollo Male Chorus, Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, the Distinguished Concerts International New York, and the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ holiday concert series with his annual production of A Three Tenors Christmas. Collaboration and creativity are pillars of Nathan’s career, as seen in his recordings with the guitars of The Massif Trio, his production of concerts with The NorrSound Tenors, and his recent leadership role on the board of the choral arts organization MPLS (imPulse). Nathan is the choir director of Redeemer Covenant Church in Brooklyn Park, and a resident of North Minneapolis with his wife and four children. Nathan and his wife, pianist Naomi Bird, collaborate regularly, releasing recordings online and producing small concerts in their community. Performance schedule and recordings can be found at nathanbird.com.
Roles: In April 2015, Nathan sang as Tenor Soloist in Mozart’s Coronation Mass at Carnegie Hall with Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY). Another highlight of Nathan’s career was creating the role of Lucentio in the 2010 world premier of Efrain Amaya’s La Bisbetica, (based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew) in Italy. Other notable roles include Obadiah in Elijah (2010), Tamino in Die Zauberflöte (2010), Tenor Soloist in Dubois’ Seven Last Words (2013), Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte (2014), and Thomas in Lamb of God (2014, 2017). Musical Theatre credits include Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (2007), Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2005), and Father in Children of Eden.(2010),