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Wednesday, 17 July 2013 14:04

Saskatchewan Express stops in at Saskatchewan Landing last week

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For over 30 years, Saskatchewan Express has been giving young people across the province the opportunity to spend either their summer or winter months touring the prairies and gaining valuable experience as singers and dancers.



“This year, our Summer Parks Tour is called 'We Heart Saskatchewan, and we've tried to involve the theme of Saskatchewan in our show,” explained Carol Gay Bell, Artistic Director and General Manager with Saskatchewan Express. “It's a great opportunity for us to showcase some of the talent we have right here in Saskatchewan, so that the people of this province can see what we can do, and be proud of our youth.”


Comprised of 7 young men and 7 young women, this year's summer cast is made up of youths as young as 15, to some twenty-something university students. Saskatchewan Express is open to a wide variety of performers, offering them the unique chance to work with others of the same calibre, who are pursuing the same interests.


“They really become a family for the time that they are together, and a lot of the people that they perform with over the summer will be their friends forever,” noted Bell. “It's a great networking opportunity for these young people, because since Saskatchewan Express has been touring for the past 33 years, we have alumni working in the entertainment industry throughout North America.”


While they are involved with Saskatchewan Express, these students have the chance to not only see the province, but also gain valuable experience as traveling artists, working with tour crews, vocal coaches, and choreographers.


“A lot of our past performers say that what they really got out of their time with us is stamina,” Bell said. “This opportunity doesn't exist many other places in Canada, so it really gives these kids a bit of a boost before they go off to music school. They get the chance to perform up to 50 shows in the summer, and like anything, it's a skill. If you go onstage 50 times, you will get better. The difference from when they come in to when they leave is like night and day.”


Saskatchewan Express is currently auditioning youth for their winter tour, which focuses more on schools, so they can offer a bit of cultural education to students throughout the province – even those who aren't involved with music programs.


“I’m very committed to the young people of this province,” explained Bell. “This is when they become interested in the arts, and even those who don’t become a singer or a dancer, they make up the audience. We are dedicated to educating the audience, as well.”


The audience is responsive, showing their support by coming out to performances in parks across Saskatchewan this summer. Shows in the hometowns of the performers are especially exciting.


“I think people are really proud of their own Saskatchewan performers,” Bell noted. “People are so happy and so proud that they are doing this, and it’s good, family entertainment. You can bring your kids, your grandparents, everyone. People love Saskatchewan, and they love Saskatchewan performers.”

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Jessi Gowan