Oshtali Music for String Quartet, Ethel performs works by Chickasaw Student Composers CD Art and Link

OSHTALI Press Release

OSHTALI: Music for String Quartet

ETHEL performs works by Chickasaw
Student Composers

  1. Fantasia, Joseph Cruise Berry
  2. Here's the Hurt, Katelyn Duty
  3. Yeah...I Hit Like A Girl,
    Amanda Shackleford
  4. Holhchifo Ki'yo, Dylan Bennett
  5. Concerto for Strings, John McAlester
  6. Lullaby, Aubry Halford
  7. Enough, Courtney Parchcorn
  8. Innominate, Johnothan Bomboy
  9. Solo, Ryan May
  10. Lucky's Charm, Johnothan Bomboy
  11. The Devil's Advocate, Katie Barrick
  12. Stages, Aubry Halford
  13. The Seven Seas, Dylan Bennett
  14. The River of Our Times,
    Amanda Shackleford
  15. Innocence, Courtney Parchcorn
  16. Sigur, Stasen Whitehead


Sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation

Chickasaw Nation Seal

The Chickasaw Nation
P.O. BOX 1548
Ada, OK 74820

OSHTALI: (Chickasaw, verb) to quarter, divide into four parts.
Used in this album title as a reference to music written for string quartet.

The Chickasaw Nation is pleased to present the inaugural recording of the annual Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy student compositions.  The 11 young composers featured have worked diligently to create a beautiful body of work.  As students of the summer arts academy, these young composers are provided the opportunity to enhance their skills in music composition over the course of two weeks each summer.

Many thanks go out to the supportive parents, families and friends of these young composers.  Your patience, guidance and appreciation of their talents fuel their continued passion to grow as artists.  Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, composer -in-residence, has dedicated himself as a mentor, teacher and friend to each of our 11 composers.  His guidance and strong work ethic have no doubt inspired these fine young people as they embrace a future of endless possibilities.

The works featured are enchanting and inspiring.  The timeless heritage and culture of the Chickasaw people grows through works such as these.  Please enjoy this gift of music, and thank you for your support of the arts.

Bill Anoatubby, Governor

Program Notes

Joseph Cruise Berry

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

1. Fantasia

Fantasia is a personal musical exercise in both rhythms and time signatures. It is full of aggressive gestures and large dynamic contrasts with constant and unrelenting movement throughout. The slow section changes into a vaporous and unsettling mood, featuring clustered harmonics and static textures.

Joseph Cruise Berry is currently a composition major at Oklahoma City University and studies with Dr. Edward Knight. He is the son of Joe and Candace Berry of Lone Grove, Oklahoma.

Katelyn Duty

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

2. Here's the Hurt

Here's the Hurt is my composition in remembrance of my dad after losing him to cancer. My piece reflects all of my emotions before during and after my dad passed.

Katelyn Duty is a 2009 graduate of Ada High School. She is the daughter of Kathleen Duty and the late David Duty.

Amanda Shackleford

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

3. Yeah...I Hit Like A Girl

After struggling for weeks to find an idea for my then upcoming composition at CSAA, inspiration kicked me in the face, literally! It was the Friday before academy and my sisters and I were at a Chickasaw Nation Martial Arts Demo Team practice. An older brother of three of our members is our official DJ, and while he was experimenting with some new music, the idea jumped into my head: why not create a musical piece about martial arts?!? And so “Yeah… I Hit Like A Girl” was envisioned. From the driving drum beat to the three Ki-ai’s (pronounced kee-EYE), each component portrays the feeling and intensity of a competition Kata.

Amanda Shackleford is a homeshcooled high school graduate of Naki Aiulhto Aloota, 2008 (Lexington, OK), and is the oldest daughter of Keith and Mary Shackleford.

Dylan Bennett

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

4. Holhchifo Ki'yo

When writing Holhchifo Ki’yo, I wasn't really painting an image for myself. I wanted the listener, the audience, to create a picture of their own. But it's hard to paint a picture for yourself when the title gives away what the song is about, or hints towards what you're supposed to get from the song. So I decided not to name my piece. Then I realized that not naming it was NOT an option. So I asked a friend of mine what the Chickasaw word for 'Un-namable' was. I figured putting the title in my Tribe's language would be better than just titling it in English. It still provides the mysterious, ignorant tone for my piece.

Dylan Bennett is currently a Junior at Norman North High School (Norman, OK) and is a son to Daniel and Sheri Bennett, and Angelique Colbert.

John McAlester

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

5. Concerto for Strings

Concerto for Strings was inspired by the type of music I listen to. Soundtracks and music from the late romantic era, for example the Mahler symphonies, are strong influences in this writing.

John McAlester will graduate from McAlester High school in May 2010 and is the son of Brent and Shawnda McAlester.

Aubrey Halford

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

6. Lullaby

Writing Lullaby was an opportunity for me to create something calmer and more serene than my former works. You can’t be angry all the time, so instead of being inspired by hardships in my life, I was inspired by the kindness of people. I wanted this piece to sound as if it were meant to lay someone to a peaceful sleep. Even as I was in the process of writing this piece I felt as if my whole being was suddenly overcome by a feeling of great joy. Lullaby was my way of saying, "I will not give in to sadness. I will be strong and be glad to live in this world."

Aubrey Halford is currently attending Ada Jr. High School and is the daughter of Michael Halford.

Courtney Parchcorn

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

7. Enough

My song, ENOUGH is played through four strings that represent four directions I sometimes feel I'm being pulled in, all at the same time. Normally I have two or more projects in the works at all times. ENOUGH is exactly how I feel in crunch time.

Courtney Parchcorn is a 2008 graduate of Byng High School (Byng, OK) and is the daughter of Buddy and Francine Parchcorn of Ada, OK.

Johnathan Bomboy

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

8. Innominate

Innominate was written as an attempt to put some of the underground music that I listen to along with classical music to give it a unique sound.

Johnothan Bomboy is from Little Axe, Oklahoma and a sophomore currently attending East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.

Ryan Lee May

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

9. Solo

Solo is my first composition, and was originally conceived on the guitar. While other compositions may be inspired by outside sources or inspirations, "Solo" is a work that came spontaneously from within.

Ryan Lee May is a senior at Classen School of Advanced Studies, where he majors on classical guitar and studies with Matthew Denman.

Johnathan Bomboy

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

10. Lucky's Charm

Lucky’s Charm is the product of me just wanting to write a catchy little tune. So that’s what I did. Plain and simple.

Johnothan Bomboy is a sophomore attending East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.

Katie Barrick

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

11. The Devil's Advocate

Strangely enough, the title of my piece, The Devil’s Advocate, originated in my mind before the melody itself. While composing, I paired energy and intensity with calm sweetness in an effort to depict the wide range of emotions one might feel when in the position of devil’s advocate. The style of my piece also reflects my personal admiration of Celtic fiddle music.

Katie Barrick is home schooled and is currently a junior in high school (Calera, Ok). She is the daughter of Roland and Melissa Barrick.

Aubrey Halford

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

12. Stages

Inspiration for Stages came in many ways, but was derived mainly from different emotions I was experiencing at that time. The different sections, or "stages" in my piece were all different emotions that I expressed in my music. Hardships in my life are overcome by putting the anger aside, and writing it all down to create beauty out of strife. Sometimes it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but when I am given grief and sorrow, I make it into music.

Aubrey Halford is currently attending Ada Jr. High School and is the daughter of Michael Halford.

Dylan Bennett

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

13. Seven Seas

The Seven Seas was inspired from a 'piratey' tune that I had written prior to its completion. One day I was trying to figure one song out, then I stumbled upon this melody. When deciding how I wished to further the piece, I came up with the idea of 7 different melodies, all of different origin. Thus, the name The Seven Seas was given to the piece.

Dylan Bennett is currently a Junior at Norman North High School (Norman, OK) and is a son to Daniel and Sheri Bennett, and Angelique Colbert.

Amanda Shackleford

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

14. The River of Our Times

The River of Our Times was inspired by a painting my sister Brooke did for a native language contest. The painting, “Loksishto Abawa” (Turtle Rising), depicts three turtles in the river of time. The first turtle is floating on top of the water; it shows the time in history when the Chickasaw language was thriving. The second turtle is all the way at the bottom of the river, depicting the time period when our language was at its most oppressed. The third and final turtle is rising up and represents now, when we as Chickasaw people are revitalizing our language, and thus our culture. Each movement in my piece tries to capture the individual emotions of Brooke’s painting.

Amanda Shackleford is a homeshcooled high school graduate of Naki Aiulhto Aloota, 2008 (Lexington, OK), and is the oldest daughter of Keith and Mary Shackleford.

Courtney Parchcorn

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

15. Innocence

A couple of years ago I helped deliver much needed school supplies to the kids living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. I loved meeting all those kids, who were all so "innocent" of the many daily Indian reservation hardships that are clearly visible there. They were all so gracious towards me and so excited to pick up their schools bags filled with school supplies that I handed out. I SALUTE THEM---INNOCENCE shows the hearts of the Native children I met on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Courtney Parchcorn is a 2008 graduate of Byng High School (Byng, OK) and is the daughter of Buddy and Francine Parchcorn of Ada, OK.

Stasen Whitehead

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

16. Sigur

Sigur is an expression of the various styles of music that I am into. Sigur stands for “victory” in Icelandic. I chose this because, to me, it was a self victory to complete my very first composition. My goal was to intertwine a bright expressive passion, with a dark aggressive feel. I really wanted to capture listeners with the uniqueness of this composition.

Stasen Whitehead will be graduating in 2010 from a home school co-op in Atoka, Oklahoma. He is the son of Alan and Ginger Whitehead.

CSAA group photo of student composers

Marcy A. Gray and Mike Mckee

“Nannola’ Olachi” (Making Music)

Mercedes Milligan
Acrylic on Canvas, 2010

Nannola' Olachi, Painting used for OSHTALI album cover

This painting was inspired a long time ago. As a student of the Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy, I was there when my friends, began to create these compositions. I heard bits and pieces at first and then a final work. I understand their passion for music. Just as they would see notes on a page, I would see colors, keeping time with the music. The colors in my work represent the intensity and harmony of each piece. Separate they are all beautiful, unique and inspiring. Together, they are harmonious and fluid. The silhouetted figure is representative of all the composers. The vestige of the ribbon shirt is symbolic of the beautiful culture of the Chickasaw people. This piece represents what I see when I hear the music. It speaks to the pride I have in my people, as their traditions are portrayed through the talents of my friends and fellow Chickasaws.

- Mercedes Milligan, artist

Mercedes makes her home in Ada, Oklahoma, with her mother and father, Cherie and Marcus Milligan, and her three siblings. She attends Byng Junior High School and has plans for a college career in the arts and possibly architectural interior design.

Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy

Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy logo

The Chickasaw Nation Division of Arts and Humanities seeks to enrich the heritage of the Chickasaw Nation and its citizens by creating and developing awareness, understanding and educational opportunities in the arts and humanities. Study of the arts and humanities is essential to the growth of the Chickasaw Nation. The beauty, strength, intelligence and spirit of our people enhance the legacy of who we were, who we are and who we will be.

This year marks the sixth year for the Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy. CSAA provides a unique and intensive two-week learning experience for students ages eight to 19. Ten different arts disciplines are taught by professional instructors in the arts and humanities. CSAA is a premiere youth arts academy.

The Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy has served our young composers well. They continue to grow as artists, fine-tuning their talents and creating works such as those found on this CD. It is truly an honor to have composer-in-residence Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, serve as a mentor and guide to the composers.


Dennis Kleiman


Acclaimed as America’s premier postclassical string quartet, ETHEL boldly infuses contemporary concert music with fierce intensity, questioning the boundaries between performer and audience, tradition and technology. Formed in 1998, New York’s ebullient ETHEL is comprised of Juilliard-trained performers Cornelius Dufallo (violin), Ralph Farris (viola), Dorothy Lawson (cello) and Mary Rowell (violin).

ETHEL performs adventurous music of the past four decades, with emphasis on works composed since 1995. Their repertoire includes compositions by quartet members, as well as works by such luminaries as Julia Wolfe, Phil Kline, John Zorn, Steve Reich, John King, JacobTV, David Lang, Scott Johnson, Don Byron, Marcelo Zarvos, Evan Ziporyn, and Mary Ellen Childs.

Embracing today’s most exhilarating music, ETHEL has performed with Joe Jackson, Kurt Elling, Bang on a Can, Todd Rundgren, David Byrne, Ursula Oppens, Loudon Wainwright III, STEW, Ensemble Modern, Jill Sobule, Joshua Fried, Andrew Bird, Iva Bittová, Colin Currie, Thomas Dolby, Steve Coleman, Stephen Gosling, Jake Shimabukuro and Polygraph Lounge. Ever re-imagining the possibilities of music performance, ETHEL has collaborated with acclaimed directors Annie Dorsen and Daniel Flannery, and renowned choreographers Wally Cardona, Annie-B Parson, and Mathew Janczewski.

ETHEL tours the world, appearing on stages as varied as Venice Biennale, Sydney Opera House, Ravinia, TED, Lincoln Center, Holland’s TROMP Festival, Kennedy Center, FIAC in Guanajuato, Mexico, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Highlights of the 2008-09 season included: world premiere of Phil Kline’s SPACE at the gala reopening of Alice Tully Hall; world premiere of ETHEL's TruckStop®: The Beginning at BAM’s Next Wave Festival; world premiere of RADIO by Osvaldo Golijov at the debut of WNYC Radio’s Jerome L. Greene Space; world premiere of WAIT FOR GREEN with choreography by Annie-B Parson, commissioned by arts>World Financial Center; a new collaboration with Arena Dances at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis; world premiere of a commissioned original live film score at Celebrate Brooklyn!; TROMP Festival with Colin Currie and Todd Rundgren; Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room, and the Grand Canyon Music Festival, where ETHEL is Ensemble-in-Residence with the Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project.

ETHEL has released several albums since their debut, the self-titled ETHEL (Cantaloupe Music, 2003), which was named one of Billboard’s “Best Albums” for that year. The group’s next recording, Light (Cantaloupe Music, 2006), was selected as #3 on Amazon.com’s “Best of 2006: Top Classical Editor’s Picks.” The group has appeared as guest artist on a dozen music labels and was recently featured with vocal group Lionheart on John the Revelator: A Mass for Six Voices by Phil Kline (Cantaloupe, Music, 2008) and the Grammy® Award-winning Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman (Concord Records, 2009).

For more information, please visit ethelcentral.com.

Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate

Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate was born in 1968 in Norman, Oklahoma, and is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. Mr. Tate is dedicated to the development of American Indian classical composition, and a recent review by The Washington Post states that “Tate’s connection to nature and the human experience was quite apparent in this piece...rarer still is his ability to effectively infuse classical music with American Indian nationalism.” This review was a response to a performance of Iholba’ (The Vision), commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra and premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Iholba' and Tracing Mississippi, Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, were recorded in 2007 by the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Symphony Chorus and are currently available on Thunderbird Records.

Mr. Tate received his BM in Piano Performance from Northwestern University and his MM in Piano Performance and Composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Jerod’s first composition, Winter Moons ballet score, was commissioned by Dr. Patricia Tate and premiered at the University of Wyoming in 1992. Colorado Ballet subsequently performed it in 1994 and 1996.

Since then, Tate has received numerous commissions and his works have been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, The New Mexico Symphony, and Voices of Change, to name a few.

Mr. Tate is Artistic Director for the Chickasaw Chamber Music Festival. He is Composer-in-Residence for the Chickasaw Nation and the Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy and was Composer-in-Residence for the Grand Canyon Music Festival’s Native American Composer Apprentice Project in 2004 and 2005. Oshtali: Music for String Quartet, was conceived, coordinated and implemented by Mr. Tate. The album consists of original compositions by his students from the Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy and is the first professional recording in history of works by young American Indian composers.

In 2006 Mr. Tate received the Joyce Award and the Alumni Achievement Award from the Cleveland Institute of Music. In 2008 he was appointed Cultural Ambassador for the State of Oklahoma and received an American Composers Forum Continental Harmony Project commission. Mr. Tate has also received awards from Meet the Composer and the Percussive Arts Society.



Recorded January 22-24, 2010

Wanda L. Bass Music Center, Oklahoma City University, Mark Parker, Dean

Producer: Alan Bise and each student composer

Recording Engineer: Bruce Egre

Digital Editing: Alan Bise

Cover Painting: Mercedes Milligan

Cover Design: Dustin Mater

Graphic Layout: Azica Graphics



Governor Bill Anoatubby, Chickasaw Nation; Lt. Governor Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw Nation; Lona A. Barrick, Administrator, Division of Arts and Humanities; Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, Chickasaw Nation composer-in-residence; Robyn Elliott, Administrator, Division of Communications, Media & Community Development, Multi-Media Department, Public Affairs Department; Chickasaw Nation Division of Arts and Humanities; Laura Stewart, Margaret Reynolds, Trina Jones, Margaret Roach Wheeler, cover art competition coordination; Wanda L. Bass School of Music; Oklahoma City University; Dr. Mark Parker, Dean; John Cross, Oklahoma City University; Audrey Heise-Filjalka, Oklahoma City University; April Thibeault, AMT Public Relations; OklahomaTravel.net; Indian Country Today; The Daily Oklahoman; OklaVision; Sodexo Catering Services


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