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Pre-Med Student Finds Harmony in Flute Competition

March 21, 2024
Natalie Warr

Junior Natalie Warr is a biomedical science major who plans to attend medical school and maybe one day be a pediatrician or obstetrician.

She’s also a talented musician who was recently selected as a finalist at the annual Capital City Flute Club Collegiate Soloist Competition in Boise.

It’s the epitome of the liberal arts education available at The College of Idaho. A pre-med student who loves music? No problem. Warr is minoring in music, psychology, and health. She also performs in the College’s Chamber Ensemble and marching band. The ability to pursue multiple interests drew her to the College.

“I’ve done music my whole life. I played piano in elementary school and I do the flute now,” said Warr, who attended Boise High School. “When I came to the College, I didn’t want to stop doing the flute because I really enjoy it. With PEAK (the College’s curriculum plan), it’s so easy to balance it – for me to explore music and continue playing while working on my major.”

Last fall, Warr was approached by her flute instructor, Melanie Keller, about the competition.

“I have had the pleasure of having Natalie in my flute studio at the College ever since she started at the school,” Keller said. “I was delighted that she was interested in applying as I knew she could handle it.”

Warr had to audition via video at first, teaming with the College’s piano accompanist Travis Horton to record Blaž Pucihar’s “Sonatina.” She was selected as a finalist and invited to perform in person in front of a panel of judges in Boise in late February where she again had to perform Pucihar’s piece, along with Valerie Coleman’s “Danza de la Mariposa.”

“Melanie suggested it to me as something to do, something out of the ordinary that I don’t normally do,” Warr said. “I was nervous about it at first but it was really fun to dig into a piece (of music) and try to perfect it.”

When performance day came, Warr wasn’t alone. The College’s music department was there with her.

“Melanie came to watch me, Dr. Strother (the head of the marching band) came to watch me,” she said. “It was fun. I had never done something like that before so I’m glad I’ve had the experience.”

Ultimately, Warr placed third in the competition, but she says she’s open to trying again in the future.

“I didn’t win the competition, so maybe I’ll see if can go a little further,” she said with a smile.

The College of Idaho has a 133-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including eight Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit