Air Force Staff Sgt. Lisa Cimino, chaplain’s assistant from the 161st Air Refueling Wing at Goldwater Air National Guard Base, sings the National Anthem during the opening ceremonies of the NCAA Final Four All Star Game, March 31. Accompanying Cimino during the opening ceremony was a joint color guard comprised of members of the Arizona Army and Air National Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy Reserve. The joint color guard presented to colors during the opening ceremonies for each of the games during the tournament weekend. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Wesley Parrell)
A full-blooded Navajo from Grey Mountain, Arizona, Jonah Littlesunday has been playing the Native American Flute since the age of 14. Jonah gained media attention when he journeyed to Los Angeles to audition for NBC's America's Got Talent Season 10. The experience refocused Jonah on his musical career and since then he has performed across the country. Most recently he performed at the Gathering of the North American Flute in Flagstaff, Arizona alongside fellow Canyon artists Grammy-nominated R. Carlos Nakai and Tony Duncan and shared the stage with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra.
JAY BEGAYE is a proud NAVAJO man of many talents. In 1990 he recorded his first recording of pow wow music as lead singer and founder of the renowned pow wow group CATHEDRAL LAKES SINGERS. Titled "Pow Wow Wow Songs" it was released throughout North America on Sound Of America Records (SOAR). This outstanding live recording went onto become one of the most popular recordings on the pow wow circuit throughout America and Canada. But he didn't stop there, this wasn't enough for this gifted drummer,writer and singer. He was just getting started. Through the years several other major releases followed on the SOAR, CANYON, and COOL RUNNINGS record labels. Many coveted music Awards have been bestowed upon him along the way from such organizations as the NAMMYS, INDIAN SUMMER MUSIC AWARDS, AFIM INDIE AWARDS, and even a GRAMMY nominee for his participation on a compilation Pow Wow recording on SOAR, and countless others that have recognized him as a true innovator of traditional music sung in his own Navajo language. His goal has always been to teach and inspire other young people to never be ashamed of who they are, and to never lose sight of their culture. Jay decided to try something different along the way and recorded his first solo recording entitled "Honoring Our Ways" on the SOAR label. This was a collection of round dance songs which was a style he learned while living in Canada and included the "Happy Birthday Song" which became very popular throughout Native America. It was during this time he encouraged his eldest daughter Tiinesha Begaye who he had been grooming since childhood to record her first solo album released on the CANYON label. Both Jay and Tiinesha went on to win both Best Male and Best Female Artists from the Native American Music Awards (NAMMYS) on the CANYON label as well. But with all of the musical accolades this talented man has received through the years, he is more then just music, he has also been an art teacher on the Navajo reservation, a horseman, etc.and is respected and held in high esteem among his people. Jay has been blessed with a beautiful wife, Loretta, and two handsome young boys, Sonsilla and Jayven who he has been grooming as singers and dancers from a very early age with a plan to be part of the new JAY BEGAYE FAMILY SHOW which he envisioned early on when he saw how natural the two were as performers. The family does it all, singing, hoop dancing, traditional dances, drumming, and much more. The second generation of talent is about to make their mark as Father Jay readies has plans for a special kids recording about horses to introduce his talented boys to all of Native America.