Youth Singers of Calgary

The Youth Singers of Calgary (YSC) is a remarkable success story and one of the city’s largest not-for-profit, volunteer based arts organizations. Founded in 1985, Shirley Penner had the vision of giving young people an opportunity to develop important and necessary life-skills: leadership, teamwork, confidence and camaraderie. Thirty years later, YSC has shaped the lives of thousands of young people providing them with passion, purpose and direction.

In 2002, Alberta’s Ministry of Learning formally acknowledged the Youth Singers’ curriculum by awarding it accreditation through the Calgary and area school boards; one of only five (5) organizations to receive this honour. This means that high school students enrolled in our program can earn credit towards their high school diploma. It also recognizes the high standard of programming and curriculum. This creates important partnerships for YSC as recognized music educators.

The YSC Annual Operating Budget has grown to $1.8 million. To date, we have been able to keep costs down due to the overwhelming number of volunteer hours invested by our membership (approx. 35,000 – 40,000 a year). The Capital Campaign for the Performing Arts Youth Center (PAYC), which was separate from the regular operating budget, was set at $1.8 and has been successfully completed.

Locally and internationally YSC has won numerous awards in festivals and competitions and they are widely recognized for their versatility as well as the caliber of their product. YSC has represented Calgary and Canada at major international events such as the 1988 Winter Olympics, the World Police and Fire Games, the World Petroleum Congress. They have appeared with international celebrities including Kenny Rogers, Sarah Brightman, Reba McIntyre, Marvin Hamlisch as well as renowned Canadian personalities Andre-Philippe Gagnon, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Roch Voisine, Tom Jackson and Paul Brandt to name a few.



Mission, Vision & Values


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


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

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 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



“The leadership development I have experienced through the Youth Singers of Calgary has been invaluable. When you enter University you realize how much the program has taught you. You understand the intangibles and soft skills that have been developed and all while you are having fun and expressing yourself.” – David, Student U of C, Medicine

“The Youth Singers program has taught me life skills and provided me with cherished friendships…one of the biggest advantages it has given me is the confidence to stand up in front of and in some cases to my peers. The performing arts also taught me that if I make a mistake I can always go forward and work it out.” – Lauren, Student U of C, Business