Cherokee National Youth Choir
“Cherokee Christmas” can be purchased at all Cherokee Gift Shops or by calling 918-453-5638. COURTESYTAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee National Youth Choir is releasing a new Christmas music CD and will be performing songs from it at two concerts in November and December.
“Cherokee Christmas” can be purchased at all Cherokee Gift Shops, at the concerts or by calling CNYC Co-Director Kathy Sierra at 918-453-5638. The CD has 12 songs that were recorded this past summer.
“We are doing all styles of music from ‘Up On the Housetop’ and ‘Silver Bells’ to ‘O Holy Night, ’” CNYC Co-Director Mary Kay Henderson said.
This is the third Christmas CD the choir has recorded. The previous one, “Comfort and Joy, ” was released in 2006.
We are doing all styles of music from ‘Up On the Housetop’ and ‘Silver Bells’ to ‘O Holy Night.’
Mary Kay Henderson, co-directorThe choir’s CD release concert will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame at 401 S. Third St. in Muskogee. This event is free and open to the public. A second concert will be at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Wagoner Civic Center located at 301 S. Grant in Wagoner. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased by calling 918-485-3414.
The choir also will be performing on Dec. 5 at the lighting of the Courthouse Square in Tahlequah.
The CNYC is made up of 40 Cherokee youths from northeastern Oklahoma communities. Members perform traditional songs in the Cherokee language. It was founded in 2000 as a way to keep Cherokee youths interested in and involved with language and culture.
“I have been with the choir since 2003. I love the kids. Kathy (Sierra) started with the choir in 2000 as a parent and has been with them ever since, ” Henderson said.
She said the choir gets requests “literally every day” to perform somewhere in the area.
Auditions for new choir members will be held Jan 5. Candidates must be in sixth through 11th grade, a CN citizen, willing to learn Cherokee and attend weekly rehearsals. Interested youth should call Sierra at (918) 453-5638 to schedule an audition time.
Interest in the Cherokee language has been rekindled among young people largely through the success of the youth choir. Several area schools now use the choir’s CDs as learning tools, and other schools are interested in developing curriculum to teach Cherokee language and music.
People may listen to samples and purchase CNYC music at iTunes by searching the music section with the phrase “Cherokee National Youth Choir.” The choir’s CDs are also available on amazon.com.
About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life. He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association. Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.Follow @CherokeePhoenix
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