Cherokee National Youth Choir nominated for three Native American Music Awards

September 8, 2017

(L-R) The Cherokee National Youth Choir recently performed during the Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition in Tahlequah.(L-R) The Cherokee National Youth Choir recently performed during the Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition in Tahlequah.

Choir competing by public vote for Group of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Recording

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee National Youth Choir is competing for three Native American Music Awards, including Duo/Group of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Recording for its latest album, “Celebration.”

The public can vote online by visiting www.NativeAmericanMusicAwards.com and clicking on “Vote Now.” Votes can be cast until the awards are presented Saturday, Oct. 14, during the 17th Annual Native American Music Awards in Niagara Falls, New York.

“The Cherokee National Youth Choir has been a strong advocate for preserving the Cherokee language for a number of years,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “It is important that we continue to teach others about the Cherokee language, and music has a special way of doing that. I’m proud of the Cherokee National Youth Choir’s continued commitment to inspiring Cherokees and non-Cherokees alike through song as they perform across the country. I congratulate them on being nominated for three Native American Music Awards.”

The Native American Music Awards honors and recognizes music initiatives by Native American artists from across the country. The Cherokee National Youth Choir has received four prior awards – referred to as NAMMYS – from the organization.

“We’re thrilled! The ‘Celebration’ project has been on our radar for 10 years, with contemporary songs that have entertained not only our youth, but also our Cherokee elders,” Cherokee National Youth Choir Director Mary Kay Henderson said. “We actually started working on this recording in 2006, but we had some technical complications at the time. Language teacher and choir coordinator Kathy Sierra and I recently decided we wanted to try the album again, and this time we were able to do it. The result is a CD that combines recordings made by our youth choir and soloists in 2006 with our current youth choir and soloists.”

Songs on the “Celebration” album include “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Celebration,” “Lean On Me,” “My Girl,” “Respect,” “My Guy,” “Stand By Me” and “We Are Family.” Sierra translated the lyrics from English to Cherokee for the recording.

“We encourage the public to go online and vote for our Cherokee National Youth Choir,” Sierra said. “These youth have worked hard to earn these three nominations, and Mary Kay and I are very proud of them and the project. The dedication of this choir is helping keep the Cherokee language and culture alive.”

The Cherokee National Youth Choir was founded in 2000 and performs songs in the Cherokee language. Students in middle school and high school are chosen through a rigorous audition process yearly. There are currently 26 members.