The Youth Singers of Calgary performing arts company is looking to welcome musically and theatrically inclined Calgarians into a safe and welcoming space this fall.
The performing arts company said they’re offering students, and young adults, a place to be themselves.
“We offer a safe place to come and really explore yourself, be yourself, get back into singing, get back into moving and dancing and being together and then performing together on stage,” said Megan Emmett, Youth Singers of Calgary CEO.
“The confidence that our program offers, heading people into the next stage of their life, is unparalleled. And we really want to be here for all Calgarians to come and learn and grow with us.”
The organization is looking to see between 50 and 60 more kids added to their programs this year. They have the capacity to host many more, Emmett said.
“We do have strong groups already here, but we know that what we have to offer is is a fantastic opportunity, and just the more the merrier.”
Youth Singers program participants also have the opportunity to sing and perform on stage at the Jubilee Auditorium, and at other venues throughout the year.
Emmett said they have been proud to get their performers up on Alberta’s stage.
“The Jubilee is a really beautiful facility that belongs to Albertans, and Youth Singers is very proud that we’re able to get Calgary children up on that stage that belongs to them, under those lights, working with professional crews,” she said.
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience for sure.”
Back to school constant for kids
The Youth Singers program offers classes on Monday and Wednesday nights. Junior high students meet on Mondays, and senior high students meet on Wednesdays.
Emmett said that the programs they offer provide constants for kids and teens moving through changes in schools, classes, and different groups.
“Junior High–Senior High we know they’re rough times a life… Youth Singers is a constant, so every every week when you come, whether it’s Monday or Wednesday night, you’re going to find the same group of people, the same teachers ready to support you, and a happy to see you roomful of smiling faces,” she said.
“We have a lot of kids too, that might struggle socially at school or finding their place. Here they’ve got a supportive, caring, nurturing environment where they can really be themselves—let go, find themselves, and know that we have time for them, that we have support for them.”
She said that they would nourish the joyful part of what it means to be a teenager.
Weeknights start with vocal warm-up, followed by singing and learning the current repertoire. After about an hour of choral work, there’s time for a break and socializing. Then performers get a chance to work on dancing to the music that they’ve been singing.
“It’s vertical choreography movement with the songs we’ve been singing, piecing it all together to really get that self expression and performance piece out,” Emmett said.
Giving kids more than just the school
Gary Li brought his daughter to a drop-in class on Aug. 27 after she asked to give the Youth Singers a try.
“She first heard about it from a friend at a school, and she’s been always into music and participating in all these school choirs before,” he said.
He said that the school programs haven’t fulfilled everything that his daughter, and his two sons, have wanted from extracurricular activities.
“I always encourage them to do whatever they wanted, even outside of school,” Li said.
Emmett said that she knows that schools have had to cut their arts programs, and that the pandemic has exasperated the issues surrounding declining youth participation in the arts.
“That said, youth participation in the arts is an incredible way to build networks to build your resume to build your self esteem, confidence to take up the space that you deserve and you own,” she said.
“I encourage young people to look into any kind of program require because of the benefits it will offer you for your entire life, and Youth Singers certainly is unique and that we provide singing and dancing and acting and performing in a safe welcoming, inclusive environment.”
For more details on the Youth Singers of Calgary, see www.youthsingers.org.