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The Cherokee National Youth Choir performs traditional Cherokee songs in the Cherokee language. The Cherokee National Youth Choir came into existence from the vision of Principal Chief Chad Smith, who saw it as a way to keep children involved in the Cherokee language and culture. They function as an important symbol to the world, demonstrating that Cherokee language and culture continues to thrive in modern society. Founded in 2000, the group has recorded six CDs, including Voices of the Creator’s Children, featuring two-time Grammy® Award winner Rita Coolidge, which garnered two Native American Music Awards nominations and a win for “Best Gospel Christian Recording” in 2002. Their second CD, Building One Fire won the award again in 2003. Jesus Is Born Today, their third release, was nominated in this same category in 2005, and also received a nomination for “Best Religious Recording” at The Indian Summer Music Awards. Their fourth CD, Cherokee Sunday Morning, released in 2005, received the “Best Native Gospel” award at the 2005 International Cherokee Film Festival. Their fifth CD, Comfort and Joy won the award for “Best Gospel or Inspirational Recording” at the Native American Music Awards in 2007. In December 2007, the choir released Precious Memories, their sixth full-length album.
The choir has performed at many prestigious events and venues across the country, including their most recent appearance at the Macy’s Day Parade, in November 2007. In January 2006, they were the featured choir for “Oklahoma Day,” at the National Cathedral, in Washington, D.C., their third visit to our Nation’s Capitol. In 2004, the choir participated in the historical “Native Nations Procession” at the “First Americans Festival,” celebrating the opening ceremonies of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, they performed at the Kennedy Center, and for President Bush at the White House. Highlights from the trip are chronicled in the choir’s first DVD, Live From Washington D.C, released in August, 2005. 2005 also saw the choir perform at Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial, in South Dakota. All of this in addition to their already impressive resume of credits, including past performances with the legendary Dolly Parton at Dollywood, the Inaugural for Oklahoma Governor, Brad Henry, and a 2002 goodwill trip to Washington D.C., and New York City, where the choir sang at “Ground Zero.”
The Youth Choir acts as ambassadors for the Cherokee Nation, their beautiful voices showing the strength of the Cherokee Nation and its culture more than 160 years after the Cherokees’ forced removal from its eastern homelands. The goal of the Cherokee National Youth Choir is to increase awareness of Cherokee culture both within the Cherokee Nation as well as among the dominant culture. Through the success of the Cherokee National Youth Choir, interest in the Cherokee language has been rekindled among young people throughout the Cherokee Nation. Several area schools now use the CDs as a learning tool and other schools are interested in developing curriculum to teach Cherokee language and music. Principal Chief Smith and Deputy Chief Joe Grayson have pledged to make preserving language and culture a priority at the Cherokee Nation. The success of the Cherokee National Youth Choir has helped spark a cultural renaissance among the Cherokee people.
The Cherokee National Youth Choir is made up of 50 Cherokee young people from northeastern Oklahoma communities. The Choir members are middle and high school youth between 6th and 12th grades. The students compete in rigorous auditions every year for inclusion in the Cherokee National Youth Choir. The Cherokee National Youth Choir is funded solely by the Cherokee Nation, and administered through the Cherokee Nation Education Dept. youthchoir.cherokee.org
For more information about the Cherokee National Youth Choir contact:
Kathy Sierra, Tribal Liaison (918) 453-5638 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Kay Henderson, Director (918) 478-4473 e-mail: email@example.com
Sammye Rusco, Communications Director (918) 453-3896 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Cimarron Multimedia Group LLC
Jeffrey Parker, Multimedia Production (918) 456-2525 e-mail: email@example.com
Clif Doyal, Marketing/Publicity (615) 885-5998 e-mail: CDAnashville@aol.com