OKEMAH - The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival and Thlopthlocco Matrilineal Sons & Daughters are announcing the inaugural Native Maestro Series, comprised of Oklahoma Native performing artists. The Native Maestro Series premieres Friday, July 12, 6 p.m. at the Noble Middle School Auditorium in Okemah.
Featured artist are: Timothy Tate Nevaquaya (Comanche), Native flute; Kyle Bell (Thlopthlocco Tribal Town), film maker; Maggie Boyett (Shawnee/Kiowa), modern dancer; Barbara McAlister (Cherokee), classical mezzo-soprano; Aaron Beck (Tulsa Opera), guest pianist; Nicole Emmons (Citizen Potawatomi), film maker/artist; and Jerod Tate (Chickasaw), classical composer.
This annual event has been created to provide a showcase of Oklahoma Native performing artists and add to the rich tapestry of the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. It is presented alongside the new Thlopthlocco Matrilineal Art Showcase, which follows on Saturday, July 13 at the Citizens State Bank, in downtown Okemah. The concert is free and open to the public.
McAlister is a dramatic mezzo-soprano and began her operatic career as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera Company and Central City Opera Company. After Santa Fe and Central City, she has gone on to perform with the The Washington Opera Company, Cherokee Heritage Center, Arizona Opera, San Diego Opera, Tulsa Opera, Florentine Opera, New York Grand Opera and Opera New England. Her Los Angeles voice teacher was Lee Sweetland and in NYC it is Steve Sweetland.
McAlister's international career was launched when she won the prestigious Loren Zachary Competition in Los Angeles. She was subsequently engaged to perform the dramatic mezzo-soprano repertoire in the opera houses of Passau, Koblenz, Bremerhaven, and Flensburg in Germany, as well as in Monte Carlo, Cannes, Modena, Ferrara, Paris, Lisbon and Hong Kong. She toured France with the New Bulgarian Opera as Ortrud in Lohengrin and returned the following year as the mezzo soloist in the Verdi Requiem. She was also the recipient of the NY Wagner Society Grant.
McAlister has been heard as a soloist in concert at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Weill Recital Hall, appearing with such prominent orchestras as the Houston Symphony, the Dusseldorf Symphony, and the Symphony in Passau. She has given recitals for the Mid-America Arts Alliance Touring Program and the Oklahoma State Arts Council Touring Program, singing opera arias and Native American songs in the Cherokee, Chippewa, and Winnebago languages. She created the role of Qualla in Lindor Chlarsson's opera Mountain Windsong, based on the Cherokee Trail of Tears. She played Selu in the Trail of Tears drama/musical at Tsa-la-gi outdoor amphitheater in Tahlequah.
McAlister is also a renowned Native American visual artist. Her paintings have been shown at the Five Civilized Tribes Museum and Jacobson House in Oklahoma, the Wharton Art Gallery in Philadelphia, and Bullock's in Los Angeles. Many are now in private collections throughout the United States and Europe. In 1999, she was a recipient of the Cherokee Medal of Honor. Singing programs include musical theater songs, opera, and Cherokee songs.
Bell is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker from Tulsa. Since his filmmaking career began in 2015, he has won numerous awards for his documentary and cinematography work. Most recently he has been selected into the 2019 Sundance Institute Native Filmmakers Lab.
Boyett is a dancer and choreographer. As a dancer, she began as a baby at powwows and ceremonial functions, but her studio training began at age 4 with Moscelyne Larkin, Tulsa Ballet co-founder.
Emmons is a filmmaker and artist specializing in stop motion animation from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She received her MFA from the Calarts Experimental Animation program as a Jacob K. Javits Fellow.
Nevaquaya is an artist, veteran, and minister from Apache. He makes his studio in Tulsa. His art career began at the foot of his father's drafting table, as a child.
Tate is a dedicated American Indian classical composer and pianist who expresses his native culture in symphonic music, ballet and opera. All his compositions have been commissioned by American orchestras and ensembles.