, Muskogee, OK

November 27, 2013

Youth choir to perform on TV

Cherokee Nation group will sing during Macy’s parade

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Look for a cornucopia float if you watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Members of the Cherokee National Youth Choir will be on that float, wishing glad musical tidings in their native language.

Choir Director Mary Kay Henderson said the parade will be a whole new experience for the 27 choir members.

During a recent rehearsal, she asked how many had never been in a plane before — 15 raised their hands.

Madison Shoemaker, 15, said she’s really honored to make the trip.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to explore and expand,” Madison said. “Some of us have never even been out of the state before.”

Brandon Doyle, 18, of Stilwell called it “ an awesome opportunity to show our culture.”

This will be the second time the choir has participated in the parade, which goes 2.5 miles from Macy’s department store at Herald Square to the southwest side of Central Park. Henderson said the choir also performed in 2007.

“A Cherokee citizen lived in New York. He presented our name to the Macy’s selection committee,” Henderson said. “They usually have a Native American component in the parade.”

Henderson said that since then, choir members have asked “Are we going to Macy’s? Are we going to Macy’s?”

The Cherokee Nation will fund most of the choir’s trip, Henderson said.

“But the kids have to come up with their trip money,” she said. “We did some fundraisers to pay for the trip deposits.”

Fundraisers have included bean suppers, Indian taco dinners, and soul food dinners, Henderson said.

Kathy Sierra, Cherokee Nation language specialist and choir coordinator, said the choir will be dressed in traditional tear dresses and ribbon shirts. She said they will ride a cornucopia float.

The choir has been practicing every week, not only for the parade, but for other events.

The Cherokee National Youth Choir will sing Christmas carols at 6 p.m. Friday at Courthouse Square for Tahlequah’s “Light Up the Christmas Season,” Henderson said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or


WHO: Cherokee National Youth Choir.

WHAT: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHERE: KJRH, Channel 2.