A Cherokee opera singer will soon return to her hometown for performances at area schools.
Tahlequah native and Cherokee Nation citizen Kate Morton is “incredibly excited” for her upcoming local performances.
“I haven’t have any opportunities to [come back to Tahlequah] in several years,” said Morton.
Morton recently graduated with her bachelor’s of music degree from Oklahoma City University and now works with Intermountain Opera Bozeman. She is currently touring as a featured artist in Opera Bozenman’s “Wheels of Harmony” around rural and tribal schools in Montana, sharing Indigenous music and culture.
“It’s three people and we’re all from Oklahoma tribes,” said Morton. “We’re getting to introduce kids to classical music, Native American culture and history, and inspire them to learn more about opera.”
Morton said the tour just gave its first performance for some third- and fourth-graders, and the kids got to learn works in Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw. Morton has been “having a blast” on this tour.
“I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to tour and sing, not just classical repertoire but in my Native language,” said Morton.
Morton has always seen herself as a performer and started taking singing lessons when she was a teen. She soon fell in love with opera.
“I grew up around Cherokee storytellers like Robert Lewis,” she said. “And I thought, ‘I’m going to do this but through singing.’”
Morton hopes to inspire others to tell their own stories. She was recently accepted to The Juilliard School in New York City, where she will be starting in the fall to pursue her master’s degree. Morton said she got to share the Cherokee language during her audition.
“I’m really looking forward to [attending Juilliard]. It’s a huge honor,” she said. “Growing up, I didn’t really see that so hopefully that will inspire future generations to pursue their dreams in music.”
On May 2, Morton will open for the Stilwell High School Spring Choir Concert , and May 13, she will sing with Tahlequah High School Choir for its spring music performance. She will also judge and speak at the Red Fern Festival Pageant on April 29.
“It’s nice to be performing in front of family and friends for the first time in a while,” she said.
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