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McAlister Returns Home: Singer to Perform at NSU Jazz Lab June 28

Barbara McAlister shared her talents during the May 1 Inauguration of Dr. Don Betz, NSU's 17th President.

Barbara McAlister shared her talents during the May 1 Inauguration of Dr. Don Betz, NSU's 17th President.

TAHLEQUAH—Barbara McAlister returns to the campus of Northeastern State University Sunday, June 28, to entertain audiences once again.

McAlister will perform at 2:30 p.m. in the NSU Jazz Lab. She will be accompanied on the piano by Dr. Mark Bighley, NSU professor and department chair of music. The concert is free, but those interested in attending are encouraged to make reservations by calling the Jazz Lab at (918) 444-4603. Donations will be taken at the event to assist the music department.

McAlister a mezzo-soprano, who sang with German Repertory theaters for 10 years, said she has not retired just relocated to her hometown of Muskogee.

“I will continue to perform, teach voice and reconnect to my roots,” said McAlister. “No way am I retired.”

She said the concert will consist of several musical theater numbers and a few of her favorite songs. Several pieces of her artwork will be on display and she hopes to offer a question and answer session after the music.

“We are really glad she is back in town and hope we can work out something where she can be involved in our music program,” said Dr. Paul Westbrook, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Last fall, McAlister presented a Seminary Hall Rosebuds Centennial concert. She said it was after that concert she began thinking about returning home. She returned to the NSU campus in May and said her decision was made.

“I sang for the inauguration of NSU President Dr. Don Betz last May,” said McAlister. “I knew I wanted to come back to my roots and leave New York.

McAlister is a member of the Cherokee Nation. Her great-great-grandmother came to Oklahoma over the Trail of Tears and her grandmother attended Cherokee Female Seminary.

“I never met her,” she said. “She died at a young age, but she and my great-great-grandfather are buried on the hill in Tahlequah.”

McAlister earned her bachelor’s of music in voice at Oklahoma City University. Her international career began when she won the Loren Zachary Competition in Los Angeles. This led to operatic engagements throughout Germany with repertory opera companies. She has performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall and has appeared with the Houston Symphony and the Dusseldorf Symphony.

Home will still offer a multitude of opportunities.

“As my dad used to say ‘It is divine providence. You must go where your heart is leading you,’” she said. “I can be here and teach voice and reconnect to my Cherokee roots.”


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