Barbara McAlister, a professional opera singer for 40 years, knows a lot about musical talent.
As such, McAlister, along with a number of other area residents, have teamed up to form the Performing Arts Guild of Northeastern Oklahoma. The group is set to present a free concert, “Musica dell’Anima!” today at 2 p.m., to spark interest in the arts and the organization.
According to McAlister, the organization is designed to promote classical music and performance art and artists in the community. The expression “classical” isn’t limited to Beethoven and Bach, but can include genres such as jazz and Broadway show tunes, drama or poetry.
“Performing Arts Guild of Northeastern Oklahoma is not yet a 501(c)3 [non-profit organization], but we hope it can become that in the future,” said McAlister. “In the meantime, we hope to collaborate with Muskogee and other communities, bringing more classical talent to the fore in Tahlequah and the surrounding area. There is so much talent, and [it] should be showcased.”
A Muskogee native, McAlister majored in voice at Oklahoma City University before moving to Hollywood, where she found her master voice teacher Lee Sweetland, won the prestigious national Loren Zachary Opera competition and began her career. She performed almost every night for 10 years with the German Opera Repertory Theatres, and guest performed in many European theaters, including Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy. She’s performed with the New York Grand Opera in the middle of Central Park, with the Boston Opera New England, at the Kennedy Center in Menotti’s opera ‘The Consul,’ and at Carnegie Hall three times.
PAGNO came about one day while McAlister was having lunch with Patsy Morton, a retired music educator, and Terri Baker, who said she loves classical music.
“Three friends who sometimes have lunch with each other wanted to find a way to bring classical music into the community,” Baker said.
The friends enumerated several reasons for working together on the project.
“I have some pretty specific reasons,” said Baker. “Arts in the public schools is losing funding. We need to help young people know about classical music. We are citizens of the world, and we need to broaden our horizons. Music connects us with the rest of the world, and I want us to be more connected.”
Baker said it’s also good for the community.
“Music improves the quality of life,” she said. “The more you have, the better quality of life and that’s better for you and me and for bringing business to the community. We have a lot of music in the community, and I personally want more classical music.”
Some people who were active in promoting community music have aged and moved away and the friends, by way of the new organization, want to draw more people into this area of interest.
“I’m pleased the concert will involve young people and seasoned professionals,” Baker said. “I hope people will come out and spend a pleasant hour or so. The concert will be an engaging and pleasant community event.”
In May 2009, McAlister met with Dr. Neil Morton, executive director of education at the Cherokee Nation, and was hired as a fine arts instructor/performer.
“Also, it has worked out that there are some interesting voices, and I am teaching singing to these fine young Cherokees and a couple of students at Sequoyah School,” she said.
Community collaboration appeals to Baker, and she hopes local residents will participate in growing the organization.
“It is wonderful that on June 3 the public will have an opportunity to hear some of these talented young folks, and they are performing with semi-pro performers and pro performers,” McAlister said. “I appreciate some of my friends from Muskogee will be performing and giving of their talent this time. This group also gives students of the arts a chance to perform and hone their talent.”
Performing for Sunday’s concert include are McAlister, Holly and Haley Stocks, Ineta and Martin Bebb, Muskogee A Cappella, Mathew Hill, Patrick Hill, the Four Cherokee Tenors, John Fite, Chandler Gordon, Mike Stopp, Taylor McCoy, Nancy Shelton, Joanna Harlin and Steve Ball. Accompanists are Samantha Benn Duke, Nancy Shelton, Ineta Bebb and Holly Stocks.
Those interested in learning more about upcoming opportunities or joining the Performing Arts Guild of Northeastern Oklahoma will be able to sign up at the Sunday concert.
Barbara McAlister, a professional opera singer for 40 years, knows a lot about musical talent.
Red Fern Festival offers family fun
Tahlequah’s Red Fern Festival offers attendees a stroll back in time to old-fashioned family fun.
It’s a way to show children how their great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents lived and played, and tell stories about, “the good ol’ days.” And it’s a way to enjoy what is best about life in Tahlequah, for many folks, including spending quality time as a family, enjoying sunshine, and chatting with old friends and perhaps meeting new ones.
The event, slated for the last weekend in April since 2007, has brought the best of the novel, “Where The Red Fern Grows,” by Wilson Rawls, to downtown, since the movie was filmed here.
Padilla enjoys reconnecting with childhood
As a child spending time at her grandparents’ house, with all her aunts, uncles, and cousins around her, Kerrie (Bosley) Padilla spent endless hours outside playing chase, catching fireflies, or writing and acting out plays.
In 1987, after her dad got out of the Navy, the family moved here from Georgia to be closer to that family: matriarch Dorothy Monzingo, and maternal grandparents Dorothy and Dwight Allen. Her parents, DeAnna and Steve Edwards – as well as a couple of siblings and some aunts, uncles and cousins – still live here.
Eventually, Padilla graduated from Northeastern State University, and then its College of Optometry.
Dream Theatre spotlights songwriters
Dreams can come true for local aspiring songwriters who seek to gain performance experience.
For one young musician, Thursday night was an unexpected dream of discovery, as well.
Two opportunities are available to musicians at the Dream Theatre each month, the new Songwriters’ Showcase which opened Thursday night and Premier Night for musicians who have a few songs or a set, but not a whole show.
In search of the groove that works for The Dream, Manager Larry Clark is partnering with Blake Turner, Lakes Country operation manager.
The Songwriters’ Showcase, which will continue the third Thursday of the month in conjunction with Tahlequah Main Street Association’s Third Thursday Art Walk downtown, features seasoned performers who can share some of their personal insights into the how, when and why of their songwriting experiences.
Dream, Brewdog’s to host music festivals
One sign of spring’s arrival is the scheduling of music festivals, and 10 bands will visit a Tahlequah venue May 24, the Saturday before Memorial Day.
Conference attendees get words of encouragement
Words of encouragement and door prizes were bountiful Saturday morning at the annual Zoë Institute’s Women’s Conference.
Ten women shared words of wisdom in areas from happiness to health, and 100 gifts were given out, including the grand prize of gasoline for a year.
Panelists discuss impact of Southeastern art
Until recently, most people had a certain expectation of American Indian art – and it didn’t include images familiar to people in and around Cherokee County.
“A lot of times, when people think about Native art, they immediately think of Plains art or Southwestern art,” said Roy Boney (Cherokee), Tahlequah artist and moderator of the panel discussion “Southeastern Indian Art: Building Community and Raising Awareness,” held Friday, April 11, at the NSU Symposium on the American Indian.
Boney and the other panelists are frustrated by the divide between mainstream expectations of Native American art and their need for genuine self-expression.
Dickerson believes in putting the student first
As a child growing up in Elk City, Cherokee Elementary teacher Debra Dickerson lined up the neighborhood children and animals to play school.
“I’ve been a teacher ever since I could talk. My mother always said she knew where I was because she could hear me bossing everyone,” she said.
The classroom then was a blanket tossed over limbs of her big cherry tree on Eisenhower Street. Recess was spent tree-climbing, running, riding in the bus (her red wagon) and being creative.
“Those were the days before video games and TV,” she said.
Dickerson, 2013-’14 Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year, believes a classroom should be a safe haven for children, because school is often the best part of their day.
Cleaning things up
Lowrey was part of the Cherokee Nation’s Career Service Center contingency of 11 volunteers. Other volunteers cleaned up trash along the roadway from the Cherokee Casino to the NSU campus.
Right to privacy leans partly on Article 9
While the other articles of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights are straightforward – at least, enough for Americans to bicker over in court – the Ninth Amendment might cause a bit of confusion.
It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
There are no rights enumerated, and it might be difficult to argue one’s Ninth Amendment rights in court, though it has been done successfully.
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and Native American Student Associationat Northeastern State University hosted a traditional stickball game as part of closing cultural activities during the 42nd annual Symposium on the American Indian Friday. Participants included, from left: Nathan Wolf, Disosdi Elk and Chris Smith.
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