Nursing grad student performs in Tuskegee Airmen tribute

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UNMC nursing graduate student Dorothea Clute will perform in a Feb. 25 tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen at UNO’s Milo Bail Student Center.

Dorothea Clute is used to serious challenges.

The former high school honor student and athlete received her bachelor of science in nursing degree from UNMC in 2001. She spent the next 18 months working in the liver/small bowel transplant unit of University Tower, then four more years in home health care, including a term as interim director of clinical services and competency tester for nursing assistants.

In May, she will receive her master of science in nursing degree with certification as family nurse practitioner. She also will become designated APRN — advanced practice registered nurse.

Considering all this, who would guess that one of her real passions is wearing a cow costume and performing live on stage?

Clute, as part of her mentoring outreach and service to the north Omaha community, is a longtime member of the GBT Academy of Arts (Growing and Building Together). She and other academy members will perform “I Believe I Can Fly,” a multi-media, live production dedicated to Nebraska’s Alfonza W. Davis Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen on Sunday, Feb. 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the UNO Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom. Tickets are $15 each or a table of eight for $80.

This performance is a prelude to the presentation of the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal to Tuskegee Airmen in March in Washington. During World War II, 15,000 Tuskegee men and women — including almost 1,000 aviators who were the first African Americans to be trained as military combat pilots — made history with their heroic and extraordinary accomplishments.

Performances on Feb. 25 will include interpretative dancers, a fiddler, an interpretative reading by a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. impersonator, a special honor guard presentation and monologue performed by Omaha actor Randy Goodwin, as Tuskegee Airmen commander, General Benjamin Davis. The special honor guard will wear tuxedoes tailored with red tails that signify the distinctive red tails painted on Tuskegee Airmen aircraft.

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The Dancing Cows are, from left, Marcella Dial, Dorothea Clute and Teia Goodwin.

GBT Academy performed this tribute on Nov. 11 in Milwaukee at a special Veteran’s Day celebration honoring Milwaukee-area Tuskegee Airmen, namesakes of the Milwaukee Academy of Aviation, Science and Technology — a sister organization to GBT Academy.

Now, about those dancing cows.

When she was younger, Clute went on GBT Academy trips to Branson, Mo., to see the wide array of shows available to the public and for cultural enrichment, she said.

One of the show’s they saw featured a Japanese fiddler named Shoji Tabuchi playing “Milk Cow Blues” and “Orange Blossom Special” while dancers dressed as cows kept up to his high-speed music.

The GBT group thought that performance was so exciting; they came back and insisted they develop it for their own performance art. Members of the academy designed and created the cows’ heads and accessories. A young musician named Bryon Goodwin learned how to pantomime playing the violin so well that many who see the act think he is actually playing while the cows dance.

“The Orange Blossom special is so fast-paced, you really have to be in shape to dance with the cow heads on,” Clute said. “We actually do fairly intricate full dance moves. It is a very demanding performance and we’re soaked with sweat when we finish. But the audiences love it, especially children. I guess it is just the absurdity of it all.”

For reservations or guaranteed seating for the Feb. 25 extravaganza, contact 933-5949 or 871-8254, or e-mail For more information about GBT Academy, visit its Web site at The deadline for reservations is Tuesday, Feb. 20.