Native Maestro Series premieres Friday in Okemah

Featured artists in the upcoming Native Maestro Series are shown. Top row, from the left: Jerod Tate (Chickasaw), Barbara McAlister (Cherokee) and Timothy Nevaquaya (Comanche). Bottom row, from the left: Maggie Boyette (Shawnee), Kyle Bell (Thlopthlocco Tribal Town) and Nicole Emmons (Citizen Band Potawatomi).

The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival and Thlopthlocco Matrilineal Sons & Daughters announce the inaugural Native Maestro Series, comprised of Oklahoma Native performing artists. The series premieres at 6 p.m. Friday at the Noble Middle School Auditorium in Okemah.

Featured artists:

• Timothy Tate Nevaquaya (Comanche) — Native flute.

• Kyle Bell (Thlopthlocco Tribal Town) — Filmmaker.

• Maggie Boyett (Shawnee/Kiowa) — Modern dancer.

• Barbara McAlister (Cherokee) — Classical mezzo-soprano.

• Aaron Beck (Tulsa Opera) - Guest pianist.

• Nicole Emmons (Citizen Potawatomi) - Filmmaker/artist.

• 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 at the Citizens State Bank in downtown Okemah.

The concert is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Julie Sharp at (918) 340-9045 or ttown_jewels@yahoo.com, or Jerod Tate at (405) 551-0023, or jerodtate@mac.com.

About the artists

• Kyle Bell (Thlopthlocco Tribal Town) is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker from Tulsa. Since his filmmaking career began in 2015, Kyle has won numerous awards for his documentary and cinematography work. His short film “Defend the Sacred,” covering the Standing Rock movement, won the audience award at the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival. Most recently, Kyle has been selected into the 2019 Sundance Institute Native Filmmakers Lab. Kyle will go into production for his film with Sundance later this fall.

• Ruthe Margaret “Maggie” Boyett (Shawnee-Kiowa) is a dancer and choreographer. As a dancer, Maggie began as a baby at powwows and ceremonial functions, but her studio training began at age 4 with Moscelyne Larkin, Tulsa Ballet co-founder and one of the “Five Moon” Oklahoma Indian ballerinas who gained international acclaim with the Ballet Russes. Maggie is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma School of Dance, where she studied under Austin Hartel (Hartel Dance Group, Pilobolus) and Derrick Minter (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater).

Her interests in cyclical rituals, mortality, individual-collective relationships, ego and identity show up in her choreography as repetition and dynamic shifts from raw athleticism to stillness. Maggie’s work draws influence from visual art and sculpture, personal stories, traditional stories, her mentors and ancestors. 

Her choreography and teaching have been sought for concert dance and site-specific festivals and have also been featured in music videos and collaborative concerts with rock bands and chamber groups. Maggie works full time for the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain and resides in Oklahoma City.

• Nicole Emmons (Citizen Potawatomi) is a filmmaker and artist specializing in stop-motion animation from Oklahoma City. She received her MFA from the Calarts Experimental Animation program as a Jacob K. Javits Fellow and her bachelor’s degree in animation and film from Columbia College Chicago. 

Her short films have screened in various film festivals all over the world, and she has contributed her talents to a wide variety of film and animation productions. She is an original member of Factory Obscura, an Oklahoma City-based art collective. She currently teaches at Rose State College, Oklahoma City Girls Art School and Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.

• Barbara McAlister (Cherokee), is a dramatic mezzo-soprano and began her operatic career as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera Company and the 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.

McAlister’s 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 ourdoor amphitheater in Tahlequah. “The power of her voice and presence elevates every scene in which she appears.” — Tulsa World.

In addition to her career as an opera and concert soloist, McAlister is 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, McAlister was a recipient of the Cherokee Medal of Honor. Singing programs include musical theater songs, opera and traditional Cherokee songs.

• Timothy Tate Nevaquaya (Comanche) is an artist, veteran and minister from Apache. He makes his studio in Tulsa.

He is the son of critically acclaimed Comanche master artist and flutist Doc Tate Nevaquaya.

Timothy’s art career began at the foot of his father’s drafting table, as a child. His art education included receiving direction from his father in the fundamentals of Native American art forms, as well as flute making and music composition. These early experiences prepared him for his lifelong dance with Native American art and Native American courting flute, as well as Native American history and culture. As a youth, he was witness to the master Southern Plains artists from his father’s circle of friends.

Early in his career, he immersed himself in the history of the Comanche people through independent studies. He began painting in the flat two-dimensional style, reminiscent of the Southern Plains artists before him. Today, he is a contemporary artist, known for his signature use of movement and color in traditional Native American imagery. His work can he found at True West Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Nevaquaya Fine Arts in Tulsa.

• Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate (Chickasaw) is a dedicated American Indian classical composer and pianist who expresses his native culture in symphonic music, ballet and opera. All of his compositions have been commissioned by major North American orchestras, ensembles and organizations, and his works are performed throughout the world.