After months of preparation, The Young Canadians, together with children from the Centre for Newcomers, spread their holiday spirit as they performed in Dave Kelly Live – Home: A Calgary Christmas on December 9 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

The Young Canadians practicing for the big show!

“This is the second year The Young Canadians have been a part of this special holiday celebration and it’s something they look forward to every year,” said Mark Eriksen, manager, The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts.

The special evening featured stories, songs and laughs with Dave Kelly, along with special guests Paul Brandt and The Young Canadians, with: The Flat Whites and Mandy Stobo.

The Young Canadians take centre stage. Photo by: Benjamin Baird

The Young Canadians have been hitting the rehearsal studios at the TransAlta Performing Studios for weeks in preparation of the big performance, and this year was extra special, as they invited children from the Centre for Newcomers to come rehearse and perform alongside them.

The Young Canadians practice for the big finale with children from the Centre for Newcomers

“Our goal is to work with organizations that are mainstream and bridge communities. We wouldn’t be able to build a successful diverse community without building these connections,” said Cindy Colman, director, Language & Training Programs at the Centre for Newcomers.

Colman explains that an opportunity like this can have a huge impact on a newcomer and their family. It helps build confidence in not only the children who participate, but also their parents and gives them the opportunity to take risks.

The Young Canadians and members from the Centre for Newcomers performing in the finale! Photo by: Benjamin Baird

“They were so happy to be a part of this experience and the bus ride home was filled with smiles, laughter and appreciation,” added Colman.

Sisay, a mother of two who just moved to Canada from Ethiopia in the spring, was especially grateful that her children participated.

“This was a great chance for new immigrants. My kids Shaloom and Samual love to dance and The Young Canadians were very friendly and made them feel very comfortable,” said Sisay.

The Calgary Stampede Foundation was pleased to share this exciting opportunity with the Centre for Newcomers and the spirit of the holiday season.

“We had approximately 50 newcomers join The Young Canadians onstage at the Christmas special in the finale. It’s really a testament to our growing relationship with the Centre for Newcomers and our commitment to community spirit,” said Eriksen.

If you’d like to make your holiday a little brighter, The Young Canadians’ rendition of The Little Drummer Boy is now available on iTunes for purchase.