Charlotte Symphony to perform Brittelle’s “We’re Still Here” with Cherokee Chamber Singers

Posted on: January 24, 2020

The Cherokee Chamber Singers, who will perform with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Photo credit: Scott Mckie / Cherokee One Feather

“If you visit Cherokee, N.C., you can see Indians as museum exhibits … hawkers of ‘authentic’ crafts at roadside stores,” writes Lawrence Toppman in Tuesday’s (1/21) Charlotte Observer (N.C.). “But do you … get to know them as human beings with a history lasting thousands of years, marked by episodes most Americans prefer to forget? To do that, visit a concert hall 166 miles east of tribal headquarters on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. You’ll hear William Brittelle’s ‘We’re Still Here,’ a 25-minute piece performed by the Cherokee Chamber Singers and Charlotte Symphony Orchestra…. The [words] of ‘We’re Still Here’ … all come from Cherokees: High school students who supplied reflections, commentary and poetry for the 2018 premiere in Raleigh by the N.C. Symphony.… The piece has four sections. First comes a short text of darker historical moments…. Then ‘Phoenix Rising,’ sung partly in Cherokee and partly in English, expresses hope for the future. The third part, Kyra Sneed’s poem ‘When Money Becomes Religion,’ offers a warning about greed. ‘Walls of Glass’ blends many musical genres … and lets the kids have a final say.” Cherokee Chamber Singers Director Michael Yannette says audience reaction to the work “has been overwhelmingly positive.”