Four Okotoks-area youths are set to take the stage at the Calgary Stampede.
At the heart this year's Calgary Stampede’s Bell Grandstand Show, titled AMPLIFIED, is a showcase of vocals and choreography by Young Canadians School of Performing Arts, with Foothills teens Isis Macdonald, Taylor Atkinson, Jack Leathwaite and Maya Pawlick on the roster.
“This year feels really special because it’s the first year where the full company is back together on stage,” said Leathwaite. “Last year we were split into two different casts and we would alternate each night.
“This year I’m with all of my friends for all 11 nights, which makes this year pretty special, especially after COVID.”
This will be his sixth year with the Young Canadians, after coming from a background in gymnastics.
“One of my acro coaches at a school I went to taught at YC at the time and suggested I go into it,” Leathwaite said. “I was always into dance and my sister and I did musical theatre as kids.
“So I tried it out and instantly loved it.”
The performance marks a culmination of Leathwaite’s growth as an artist.
“This year I feel like I’ve evolved as a dancer from last year, and now I get to stand out with all my other friends as well,” he said. “I feel like as a company we’ve all gotten a lot stronger, and this year we get to showcase it as a group talent.”
Just beginning her journey with the Young Canadians is Holy Trinity Academy student Pawlick.
“It’s a really incredible experience so far, just being a part of this huge family and this huge show,” said Pawlick, who has been performing in musical theatre for over seven years.
“I originally auditioned in 2018, but after that it gave me the courage and inspiration to keep working harder to finally audition again this year, and when I got in it was incredible.”
Further broadening her horizons, Pawlick is also setting out as a singer-songwriter, currently working on her first album.
The Calgary Stampede's evening show typically offers an array of live music, dance and circus performance with pyrotechnic flair following the Cowboys Rangeland Derby.
This year's docket will feature a concert by multi-JUNO Award-winning Canadian country musician Dean Brody, the Young Canadians, trick roping by Loop Rawlins, and acts by Circus Concepts and Shawnee Kish, closed out with the staple fireworks finale.
For more information visit www.calgarystampede.com.