Our Story


Recognizing a need within the community, the Youth Singers of Calgary was created in 1985 by Shirley Penner who quickly enlisted two wonderful resources in Darlene Dusevic and Tricia Penner. Together they developed a unique performing arts organization; providing an opportunity for young people to express themselves onstage through music, dance and theatre. Their commitment to music, excellence in teaching and a strong team approach has sustained the organization to the present day.

More than twenty-five years later the Youth Singers continue to provide a unique performing arts opportunity for young people. Our program spans ages 4 to adult with a curriculum encompassing choral music, dance and musical theatre. As a performing arts company Youth Singers travels extensively, records, and appears at upwards of one hundred events each year, often accompanying top entertainers.Youth Singers is the product of ingenuity, innovation and collaboration. Our artistic team has grown to include over forty outstanding educators, directors, arrangers, composers, choreographers, and dramatists. The core program is supported by hundreds of volunteers who devote time and energy to every aspect of the enterprise.The Youth Singers program has shaped the lives of thousands of young people. It is praised for developing self-esteem, confidence, leadership and teamwork skills in its many young performers. Youth Singers believes that through the performing arts young people can find passion, purpose and direction, and encourages their development into future community leaders.


The Youth Singers program has grown from twenty-eight junior high school students to five hundred participants in fourteen divisions/levels. It offers early childhood music education and performance programs for students in grades two through college, semi-professional ensembles, and an adult recreational choir. All participants are able to develop their skills with a challenging and comprehensive regimen of rehearsals, workshops and performances. The Youth Singers program allows students and adults alike the opportunity to fulfill their dream of participating in the performing arts.
In all of its programs, Youth Singers instructors use ensemble methods to encourage cooperation and teamwork. This reinforces the concept of collaboration by using teams consisting of a Musical Director, Choreographer and Accompanist. Performers learn not only through participation in ensemble work, and interdivision work, but also through observing the successful collaboration of the artistic team. All Youth Singers instructors have outstanding education and credentials in music, theatre and dance.Youth Singers programs help to foster personal and creative growth in a structured and supportive environment. Children are given a forum for creative and emotional expression, while improving reading skills, concentration, discipline, teamwork, self-esteem and public speaking ability. Our young adults have an outlet for creative expression and honing their performance skills. Because of their dedication to these ideals, Youth Singers alumni frequently credit the program with setting the course for their further education and career choices.


Youth Singers produces two original musical events to sold-out audiences each year. For each mainstage production, our staff of professionals (directors, choreographers, musicians and technicians) works together with a team of over two hundred volunteers to create the high quality shows for which Youth Singers has become known. These shows are accompanied by two busy performing seasons, including performances at Calgary area schools, corporate events, parties, churches, festivals, community outreach events, talent shows, and year-end productions. These performances bring the hard work and enthusiasm of each of our divisions to our city.

Youth Singers’ audiences are made up of families from all around the Calgary area. In partnership with Kids Up Front Foundation, Youth Singers is able make it possible for many economically disadvantaged youth and their families to attend major productions. Joint performances with local choirs, opportunities to billet choristers from around the world, and participation in festivals and competitions ensure that our program is active in the larger choral community, providing our membership with a wealth of resources and opportunities for personal and musical growth and excellence.During the 2010/2011 season Youth Singers performed at approximately sixty local events, twenty Calgary schools and produced two major productions at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Youth Singers has produced more than forty two mainstage shows, ten recordings, three made-for-television documentaries, toured eighteen countries on five continents and performed at almost every Disney theme park in the world. Youth Singers has performed by invitation with such top entertainers as the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Roch Voisine, Sarah Brightman, Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers and Paul Brandt and at events including:

  • Opening Ceremonies, 1988 Winter Olympics
  • The Nova Scotia International Tattoo (1995)
  • The World Police/Fire Games (1997)
  • The World Petroleum Congress (2000)
  • Opening of the new Alberta Children’s Hospital (2006)
  • Star Wars: In Concert (2010)
  • Video Games Live (2011)
  • Video Games Live (2012)

Our Mission

We foster the development of human potential and a lifelong interest in the performing arts through music: singing, dancing and acting.

Our Vision

To develop strong, capable, and contributing community citizens and leaders by giving people the opportunities to grow and express themselves through the performing arts.

Our Core Values

  • To provide learning and leadership opportunities for young people.
  • To provide an innovative and creative experience for young people to be the best that they can be.
  • To recognize that our most valuable resource is all of us, working together with integrity and respect.
  • To manage our resources in a prudent and enterprising manner.
  • To ensure our program is accessible.