A Bit of History
Since its inception in 1985, Youth Singers of Calgary has positively impacted the lives of thousands of young singers, their families, and the arts community as a whole. When founder Shirley Penner dreamed of giving young people a chance to express themselves on stage, she could hardly have imagined the myriad ways this organization would grow and, in turn, allow its participants to grow. Through music, theatre arts, and dance, Youth Singers shapes leaders, teachers, and global citizens who in turn shape the communities they live and work in.
Starting with 28 junior high school students, the organization has expanded to 500 singers ranging in age from 3.5 to adult. Springing up around this core group is a vast community of families and volunteers who supply in excess 35,000 hours of volunteer commitment annually.
As the needs of the Youth Singers community have grown and changed, so has its programming. In addition to its core instructional and performing divisions, Youth Singers has expanded to offer STAR, a unique program exploring the joy of music with youth and young adults with cognitive delays; Memory Lane Chorus, an intergenerational choir that gives people living with dementia and their loved ones a chance to sing their favourite songs side-by-side; and camps for both summer and PD days, meeting the needs of families looking for quality programming when kids are out of school.
Guiding this vast community on their musical journey is a talented and passionate group of contract artistic educators, a focused board, and a small but dedicated administrative staff. This organization is steered by the principle that a musical education is for all, not an elite few, and that providing non-competitive opportunities for music appreciation and performance leads to a life-long positive impact.