Tenor Nolan Kehler brings a passion and energy to the stage that is tangible and infectious for an audience. This passion was instilled deep in the Manitoba prairies, bred on a steady diet of Mennonite choral music, James Taylor, and STOMP. How this translates to the classical music world is still being worked out.
Nolan is currently completing his master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Victoria, where he studies with Benjamin Butterfield. Prior to this, he earned his Bachelor of Music in vocal performance at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, where he studied with David Klassen. He also attended a weekend babysitter’s course once, but that was over a decade ago, so maybe don’t hire him for that unless you really trust him.
Nolan’s most recent career highlights have included the title role in John Davies’ children’s opera, Jack and the Beanstalk with Manitoba UNDERGROUND Opera, which toured across libraries in the Winnipeg Public Library system. Nolan also performed leading roles as a part of Opera NUOVA’s 20th anniversary season in Edmonton, appearing as Jack in Into the Woods and Valère in Kirke Mechem’s Tartuffe.
On the concert stage, Nolan has appeared this season with University of Victoria Wind Symphony and Voice Ensembles as the tenor soloist in Kurt Weill’s Berliner Requiem. Nolan also appeared in two performances with the Victoria Baroque Players in their 2017/2018 season as a soloist in the cantatas of J.S. Bach, and as the tenor soloist in the Victoria Philharmonic Choir’s performance of Puccini’s Messa di Gloria.
This season will see Nolan perform as a featured soloist with the University of Victoria Orchestra in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. On the opera stage, Nolan will take on the title role in the UVic Voice Ensemble’s production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea, directed by Isaiah Bell.
When he isn’t singing, Nolan still finds himself immersed in the world of music. He moonlights as a drummer in a variety of bands, including with Kenzie Jane and Two Crows for Comfort, playing different styles of music, from R&B to folk to rock. He also occasionally can be heard on Radio Southern Manitoba, where he hosts a variety of different radio programs ranging from country gospel to hymns to classical. His favorite song to play on the radio is Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”, although he is not above a good run with the Oak Ridge Boys.
In addition to this, Nolan enjoys broadening his musical horizons. He tries to do this as intentionally as possible, but there is simply too much good music in the world. One way that he tries to do this is with his Road2RS500 project (OK, this is his ongoing 2016 New Year’s resolution, but still.) Check out the musical musings of Nolan and a few of his pals here.
Nolan enjoys spending quiet evenings on a back deck or else catching the ball game on TV (doesn’t really matter what kind of ball, if any - he will probably have an ill-informed opinion on the subject). You should join him sometime - either on the deck or in the audience.