Bryanna Swan’s vocal talents have reached beyond Pawhuska and Osage County. This 11-year old has been selected to portray a young girl in the 1700s in an upcoming musical called “Nanyehi, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee.”
The musical is based on the life of Hobbs’ fifth-great grandmother, Nancy (Nanyehi) Ward (1738-1822), a highly respected Cherokee woman whose influence greatly enhanced the Cherokee society.
Bryanna was performing in Muskogee, when she was discovered by someone associated with Hobbs’ productions. Grandmother Jan Swan said, “This was Bryanna’s third time to sing in Muskogee. Casting for Becky’s music video had taken place back in May but the spot for 8-year old Nanyehi had not been filled. When this gentleman saw Bryanna sing, he was impressed by her voice and how comfortable she was on stage.
“I explained that during the past year, Bryanna had been in three children’s plays. She was a witch in the Constantine Center’s ‘Princess and the Pea,’ a school girl in ‘A Little Princess’ and a lost boy in ‘Peter Pan’ — the latter two productions were by the Bartlesville Children’s Theater.”
After contacting Hobbs’ producers, he asked the aspiring young singer if she would consider a role in one of Hobbs’ musical videos. Hobbs followed up with a telephone call to Bryanna and a request for her singing clips. Shortly after that, Bryanna was contacted by the Nanyehi director.
“They liked what they saw,” said Jan, “and they cast her!”
Bryanna Swan launched her singing career the fall of 2011 when she entered her first vocal contest at the Osage County Fair. Competing against children much older than she and experiencing her first round of stage fright, she took 2nd place and won $50. Encouraged, her next gig was for a church dinner. Word quickly spread of this star in the making and she was invited to sing for the PHS Honors Banquet the following March.
Recognizing her passion and talent, Grandmother Jan enrolled Bryanna in the Everett Music School in Bartlesville. This opened up doors for numerous competitions and performances, including the American Kids Competition in Branson, Missouri, where she took several top awards.
Most recently, Bryanna was chosen as one of the top three performers for the Barnsdall Bigheart Day’s talent contest. During the finals, she garnered 2nd, singing “How Great Thou Art.” Bryanna then went in to take top honors during the 4th of July Bartlesville Freedom Fest contest singing “Independence Day.”
This Friday, Bryanna will be performing for the second time at the Rodeo Opry in Oklahoma City in what is billed as the “Rising Star” program. Nanyehi (the musical) will be held on Aug. 21, 22 and 23 at the Hardrock Cafe in Tulsa. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m.
Bryanna is the daughter of Jeffrey and Jamie Swan, granddaughter of Brad and Jan Swan, and great-granddaughter if L.C. and Clara Smith. She is a sixth grader at PHS.