Introducing the Calgary Stampede OH Ranch Historical Centre

In late 2016, the Calgary Stampede Foundation hosted the first tour of the OH Ranch Historical Centre, which illuminates the long and storied history of the OH Ranch. The Historical Centre is located in the basement of the OH Ranch Cookhouse.

OH Ranch Jan 2015_S Murray pics (2)

Previously, cowboys used the basement of the cookhouse as a bunkhouse. The room was complete with 60s era shag carpet and a few old couches. Now, thanks to the Foundation and generous donors, the basement has been revitalized into an inviting educational space.

Students of the OH Ranch Educational Program and visitors to events at the ranch can learn about past and present owners, like Bill Siebens who donated the OH Ranch to the Calgary Stampede Foundation in 2012. They can also see a bison coat and learn about the role of the North West Mounted Police police in western Canada, and come face to face with a bison head and learn about the original inhabitants of the land—First Nations peoples.

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Students can try on cowboy clothing and learn about the jobs of ranch hands who have lived and worked at OH Ranch.

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Or, follow a timeline that traces the OH from its origins into the future.

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Today, the Calgary Stampede is the steward of the OH Ranch, which is protected as a Heritage Rangeland with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The rich history and tradition that are lived every day on the ranch is now preserved and shared in the OH Ranch Interpretive Centre.

Where in the world is the Showband headed next?

The Calgary Stampede Showband is thrilled to announce that they will be travelling to compete in the World Music Contest (WMC) in Kerkrade, The Netherlands in summer 2017. WMC is the Olympics of music taking place over four weeks from Thursday, July 6 – Sunday, July 30, 2017. The event will feature more than 260 musical ensembles and 20,000 individual musicians. The Showband will be leaving right after Stampede to compete in the marching show band class on Sunday, July 30 against 60 other marching show bands from around the globe.

Photo credit: Kien Le

The Showband is a youth performance ensemble that rehearses and performs year round. Photo credit: Kien Le.

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Why colour guard is the unexpected sport your child should try this year

When you’re wondering what sport or activity your child should try this year, colour guard usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind – but it should be! Colour guard is what we call the group of athletes/performers/dancers that twirl flags and toss (fake) rifles in front of marching bands. They’re extremely impressive but no one really knows how to join a colour guard, how you learn those skills, or what the colour guard does when they aren’t leading a parade. To answer these questions and more, the Escalade Winter Guard Association is hosting a colour guard Youth Development Camp this month, providing beginner instruction in dance, flag, and rifle skills – perfect for youth of all ages! Plus, if your tween/teen likes it, they can sign up to join the Calgary Round Up Band or Calgary Stetson Show Band this season. Still not convinced? We’ve got 8 reasons your kid should give colour guard a try this summer:

1. They don’t call it the “sport of the arts” for nothing! Colour guard is called the “sport of the arts” because it brings music to life through performance in a competitive format. Performers demonstrate skill, agility, strength and endurance through choreographed movement, dance and use of props set to music to tell a story. Every season, colour guards rehearse several times a week to prepare for competitions. They make it look easy, but it takes a huge amount of skill to gracefully spin and toss colour guard equipment.

The Stampede Showband is an auditioned group for youth ages 16-21. Taylor Fraser, pictured here, is preparing to toss her "rifle" into the air, so it'll spin six times, and then catch it. Photo: End Credits

The Stampede Showband is an auditioned group for youth ages 16-21. Taylor Fraser, pictured here, is preparing to toss her “rifle”. It’ll spin in the air, and she’ll catch it without missing a beat. Photo: End Credits.

The coaches and instructors are seasoned veterans who have performed and competed at the highest levels. Many of the instructors with Calgary’s colour guard ensembles performed with the Calgary Stampede Showband and Drum Corps International (DCI) ensembles, and continue to compete in local elite ensembles like Escalade. Continue reading

Don’t miss your chance to win up to $1 million with Stampede Lotteries!

The Calgary Stampede Lotteries made history last night when the Split’Em 50 pot hit $1 million – and it’s growing by the minute. That means this year’s winner will win more than $500,000—and up to a whopping $1 million! That’s right—there are $2 million worth of Split’Em 50 tickets available.

But only $2 million worth. With half of the tickets already sold and five days left of Stampede 2016, come down to Stampede Park and get in on the biggest Stampede Lotteries jackpot in our history!

Lotteries

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Tips for your audition for The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts

Auditions for The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts (TYC) are in full swing. To help you with your audition, we’ve compiled a list of audition tips from TYC members and instructors. Good luck to everyone this weekend!

 

Tips from members of The Young Canadians

1. It’s okay to be nervous. You need that adrenaline. Take that nervous energy and turn it into good energy.

 

2. Always be a little early. It’s very important to warm up properly, whether that means stretching or warming up your vocal cords.

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh / Calgary Stampede

 

3. For a dance audition, make sure to dress properly! It’s important to wear something that flatters you but doesn’t overshadow your dancing. Along with dressing properly, having the right dance shoes is essential.

 

4. Get plenty of rest the night before. It’s the best way to relax your body. Also pack snacks and a water bottle—your body will appreciate it.

 

5. Choose a song that suits your voice but don’t be afraid to experiment!

 

Tips for Dance from a TYC instructor

1. Let your personality and individual style shine through.

2. Show us your performance and confidence.

3. Ensure your body is stretched and warm heading into the audition.

4. Get ready to be quick on your feet and pick up combinations across the floor and in the centre promptly. 

5. Relax, enjoy and show us your love of dance! 

The Young Canadian

Tips for Vocal from a TYC instructor

1. Choose a song you are comfortable with and that showcases your talents.  

Show us who you are, not who you think we want you to be. Personally, I always prefer to see something done really well, even if it is a “simpler” song choice, over a piece that is too difficult.  

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2.  Prepare.  

Take the time to prepare your piece so that when you enter the room you feel ready and can hopefully enjoy yourself. Auditions can be very intimidating, but it is also a chance to perform, so have fun. Practicing will help you to feel confident about what you are presenting. Warm up before you get there and run through your piece the day of the audition. This way you can review things and work out any last kinks. Drink water, not only the day of, but the day before.  

 

3.  Be kind.   

Being kind and gracious to everyone you encounter during the audition process is important. If you have someone playing for you or helping set up your track, be nice to them, and say thank you. If you are using sheet music, put it in a binder (the pianist will appreciate it). Don’t only be nice to us when you are in the room, be nice the entire time you are there.  

 

4.  Be confident, even if you have to rehearse it.

You can take time to practice walking into the room, introducing yourself and announcing your selection. Enjoy yourself while you perform your piece, and show us your personality. You are not only showing us your voice, but also who you are, so find the confidence to let that show through.  

 

5.  Don’t forget that we are on your side.

Every time someone walks in the room, we are excited to hear them. We want them to do well and have a good experience. We take notes to help ourselves remember everyone, and though we may look serious, we are enjoying ourselves and engaged in you. We may ask you to try different things or test your range; this is not to throw you off or see you fail, we are simply trying to get to know you better. We want to see you do well, so think of us as an audience there to support you instead of a panel taking notes behind a table. 

 

An additional tip….HAVE FUN!   

 

7 Things Musicians (and everyone else) Should Know About Being Around Horses

Since 1985, the Calgary Stampede Showriders have been accompanying the Stampede Showband in parades as a mounted colour guard made up of 12 young riders and their horses. This pairing of horses and marching musicians is unusual and a lot of prep work goes into making sure that the horses are comfortable with the band.

Every year, the Showband and Showriders rehearse together to help desensitize the horses to the craziness of parades, and teach the Showband how to act around horses. It’s a great opportunity for the mostly city-dwelling band members to learn more about agriculture and animal care, especially since the Showband spends a lot of time around animals during the 10-day Calgary Stampede. Here’s a peek at what they learned from the Showriders this year!

Showrider Hannah Braun, 15 years old, and her horse Tokahee teach a group of Showband members about performing around horses.

Showrider Hannah Braun and her horse Tokahee giving a group of Showband members tips for being around horses.

 1. Don’t run through the barns

You don’t want to turn a corner and run into or startle a horse. Don’t jump for the same reason.

2. Use your inside voice

Shouting and screaming can upset horses. Horses are reactive and pick up on the energy of other people an animals around them.

3. Stay a horse length away from a horse’s back-end

That way, even if the horse kicks out, you’ll avoid getting kicked.

Showband member Cassie Groves got to bond with Tohakee, petting the horse from the side so as not to startle the horse.

Showband member Cassie Groves pets Tokahee from the side so that she doesn’t startle the horse.

 4. Ask permission before approaching horses or offering them treats

Sometimes, like with the Showrider “Stand and Pat” events, it’s obvious that you’re welcome to approach a horse. If you’re walking through the barns or see a horse on its own, ask the owner if it’s okay to pet the horse. This is the best way to avoid getting bitten!

5. Approach horses from the side

Horses have blind spots directly in front and behind them. A horse can see you best if you approach from the side and pet their shoulders and back. Plus, if you approach a horse head-on and try to pet its face, it might think your fingers are treats – yikes!

6. Never play instruments while you’re walking through the barns

Sudden movements and unexpected loud noises can startle horses and they might react to the sight of shiny instruments and noise from musical instruments more than you’d expect.

 7. Ask questions

The Showriders love to answer questions about their horses. They spend a lot of time caring for their horses to keep them healthy and happy and are eager to share what they know with others, especially if it helps to keep their horses and others safe.

 

Showband 2016: In Pursuit

The Calgary Stampede Showband is thrilled to announce its 2016 production, In Pursuit. Inspired by classic heist films and television, the production will take the Showband’s audiences on an intriguing and exciting chase as the band tracks down a stolen briefcase. Check out the quick teaser trailer below!

In Pursuit will feature music including Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint”, John Powell’s “Tangiers”, Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s “Equilibrium”, Adele’s “Skyfall”, and the theme from The Streets of San Francisco. Oscillating between minimalist, comical, and dramatic elements, this production will have a wide emotional range. According to the Calgary Stampede’s Director of Bands Aaron Park, In Pursuit will be both suspenseful and fun. “It’s not necessarily a story about detectives or spies, although it has that same feeling of mystery and intrigue. It’s sort of a ‘catch me if you can’ story; everyone is after the same elusive briefcase and what may be inside. “Electric Counterpoint” is woven throughout the show as a recurring motif to bring out that feeling of pursuit, mystery, and intrigue.”

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How to be an Arts Champion

Fiddlers. Break dancers. Painters. Sculptors. Singers.

130 young people armed with brass and kettle drums.

Calgary Fiddlers

The Telus Youth Arts Showcase was an inspiring start to the Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions.

As the Calgary Stampede Showband, joined by the Stetson and Round Up bands thundered “Jubilateo” (commissioned for the Showband as part of the 2012 Stampede Centennial celebrations) to open the lunch, I couldn’t help but feel a little humbled by all the time and passion that these young people, their instructors and their parents invested to bring them to that moment.

Stampede Showband

The Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions “celebrates the transformative power of the arts, building momentum for the future.”

Arts Showcase_Pulse Studios

If we believe that arts are a vital part of any vibrant community, how can we support? How can we be an arts champion?

In her welcome message, Patti Pon, president & CEO of Calgary Arts Development and chair of the Stampede Community Projects and Development volunteer committee writes:

“[Arts champions] see the arts as a good thing, as something of value, as a way to make discoveries to connect with others, to celebrate life, and to make meaning about what it is to be alive. They see arts as a way to develop youth into their best selves and to help tell our stories in the world.”

Youth Showcase

Did you know that Calgary Arts Development invested in 150 arts organizations on behalf of the City of Calgary in 2015 alone? Wow.

When I started working for Stampede, I had no idea how invested the organization is in the arts.

Stampede invests in youth development programs like the Stampede Showband and The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede. Did you know that every one of the participants in these programs is given a scholarship by the Calgary Stampede Foundation?

The new Youth Campus will be a hub for creativity—as home to the Calgary Opera, Calgary Arts Academy in addition to the aforementioned youth programs.

The Public Art volunteer committee works to bring public art works that tell the story of our western heritage—they have brought works like Outlaw to the community, and By the Banks of the Bow to Stampede Park. They will unveil a new artwork in ENMAX Park this May.

Western Showcase committee brings Western Canada’s largest Western Art Show to Stampede each year, showcases crafts, culinary arts and runs an artist-in-residence program throughout the year.

Youth Talent Search gives young people the chance to showcase their craft and winners get access to incredible resources, including a $10,000 grand prize.

The great takeaway? There are infinite ways to be an arts champion and we all have the capacity to be one.

The Stampede is honoured to work with artists of all ages – to invest in the next generation of creatives and patrons. And to live in a city where arts and arts champions abound.

John Philip Sousa and the Calgary Stampede Showband

John Philip Sousa, the American conductor and composer who popularized the sousaphone, has a special connection to the Calgary Stampede. The Calgary Stampede Showband is playing Sousa’s “The Thunderer” (1889) as part of its concert band repertoire this year, but the connection doesn’t end there. Sousa and his band, the “Sousa Band” actually visited the Calgary in 1919 and performed at the Calgary Exhibition.

1919_tnSousa’s band toured all over the world following the end of WWI and was exceptionally popular because Sousa had combined everything he liked about other types of ensembles (brass bands, military bands, orchestras, and beer hall bands) to create something different. Photos from the Glenbow Archives show that there was a huge audience when Sousa’s band performed in Calgary. Sousa was known as the “march king” for composing and arranging patriotic marches, so it makes a lot of sense that the Showband and other marching bands continue to play his music.

The Showband performed “The Thunderer” at its annual Celebration Concert earlier this month, and will perform it again when it competes in the Alberta International Band Festival on February 21 at the Rosza Centre. Continue reading

Allie Patch teaches us the importance of learning new things

Allie Patch has been playing trumpet as a member of the Calgary Stampede Showband since 2012. A linguistics major at the University of Calgary, she’s now the Showband’s brass captain, a member of leadership team, and teaches brass to junior high age students in the Calgary Round-Up Band. As a member of the Showband, she rehearses weekly and once a month on weekends for concert band performances and learning the Showband’s summer field show production. In addition to teaching and school work, this makes for a pretty busy schedule! On top of all this, Allie decided to learn color guard this year for the first time and joined Calgary’s prestigious Dynamic Winterguard.

“Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is immerse yourself in something completely different.”

In color guard, often referred to as the “sport of the arts”, performers use props and movement to tell a story with music. Most marching bands and drum corps have a color guard, but many groups perform on their own during the winter season as “winter guards”. Most color guard performers start early, learning and honing their skills in junior high and high school. Allie, an already accomplished musician and third year university student, decided to take up color guard this fall, “After playing so many kinds of instruments growing up, I wanted to try something new. Some things have come easier than others – hard rifle tosses are difficult – but it has been a really fun challenge.”

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Allie, performing with Dynamic Winterguard earlier this season.

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Showband Tour 2016: Midwest USA

What does the Calgary Stampede Showband do the week before the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth? They go on tour across the Midwestern United States of course! This summer, the Showband will travel to perform in Minnesota and Wisconsin from June 24 to July 5, 2016, coming back to Calgary just in time for the 10-day Calgary Stampede.

In 2015, the Showband won "Best in Show" at DCI's SoundSport competition in Indianapolis.

In 2015, the Showband won “Best in Show” at DCI’s SoundSport competition in Indianapolis.

Taking their unique brand of western hospitality and performance on the road, the Showband’s tour will include a stop at the Vikingland Band Festival in Alexandria, Minnesota. The Showband will perform in the Vikingland Band Festival parade (which features only marching bands!) and will perform its 2016 field production in exhibition at the what is considered the largest and most prestigious summer marching band competition in the Midwest. Continue reading

What gifts will you give this holiday season?

You’re invited to The Spirit of Christmas, presented by The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts, on Sunday, December 6, at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. This uplifting performance celebrates the greatest gifts we can give each other this holiday season, inspiring audiences to think about the gifts that come from within.

Dancers and singers act out numerous gifts throughout the performance, including the gifts of compassion, joy, laughter, peace and more. “[This year’s performers] were asked to bring their own life experiences into the pieces, which creates those deeper threads,” says Cyndi Scott, director of dance development.

Our inner gifts

Our inner gifts

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Calgary’s community enriched by Stampede Lotteries’ partners

This is a special time of year for the Calgary Stampede Lotteries. It’s a time of giving and sharing, as the proceeds of the 2015 program are shared with many deserving charities and organizations in our community.  It’s also a time of celebration, as we reflect on the many amazing things those same charities and organizations are able to do throughout the year.

Calgary Stampede Lotteries is a partnership between the Calgary Stampede and four service clubs: Kinsmen Club of Calgary, Rotary Club of Calgary South, Calgary Stampede Foundation and the Calgary Marching Show Band Association. Every year, proceeds from the lottery support the Calgary Stampede, a not-for profit organization, and our youth and agricultural programs. Shared proceedsare directly reinvested in the community through these service club partners. This year, $1.172 million was distributed to benefit community programs.

 

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Calgary Marching Showband Association receiving their cheque

Calgary Marching Showband Association receiving their cheque

Enviros is one of the many not-for-profit social service agencies the Kinsmen Club supports with funds from Stampede Lotteries.  “These programs are offered to youth who may be recovering from adictions or need intensive therapy in order to return back to their home,” explains Jennifer Harbour, manager of fund development at Envrios, adding “[The funds received] are used to help Enviros with building maintenance and renovation projects for the residential programs we operate.” Continue reading

A Drum Major: More Than Just a Conductor

It’s not a secret that the marching arts provide exceptional learning experiences for youth. As one of North America’s fastest growing athletic activities, it challenges students physically, mentally, and creatively. There are a lot of reasons for students to join a marching band or drum corps, but the leadership skills that drum majors gain are truly second-to-none. As it turns out, there is a lot more to this role than just conducting the band and wearing a black cowboy hat!

1. They’re expert communicators

Elena Samoilova, who was the Showband’s head drum major in 2011 and 2012, is now the Showband’s Leadership Coach. She describes drum majors as the link between students and instructors. Drum majors learn exceptional communication skills by interacting with people at all levels, receiving directions from staff, constantly giving instructions to large groups, and occasionally speaking on behalf of the band for media.

According to Aaron Park, Director of Bands for the Calgary Stampede, it’s the things that aren’t said out loud that are especially important. “Drum majors develop non-verbal communication skills that help them to be approachable, build relationships with others, and intuitively understand what the group needs to do next to be successful. I trust Grace (the Showband’s current head drum major) to work with the members and get things done.”

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Elena Samilova entertaining crowds with her team at the Saddledome Steps in 2012.

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Introducing Jeff de Boer

I know that all you culture cravers and urban art aficionados are eagerly awaiting the opening of ENMAX Park in July 2016—since we announced that local artist, Jeff de Boer was selected to create a new sculpture to grace the MacDonald Bridge entrance earlier this year, the community has been abuzz with excitement!

Photo credit: Jeff de Boer website

Photo credit: Jeff de Boer website

I got the opportunity to tour de Boer’s studio and learn more about his work, as well as what inspires him to create.

de Boer is a multimedia artist, best-known for his whimsical metal sculptures—you may have seen his work at the Calgary International Airport (Tin Toy) or Cyclone, at the Glenbow Museum. He’s also received a Board of Governors Award of Excellence for his work instructing at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD). An ACAD graduate, who majored in jewelry design, de Boer now works with various mediums to create pieces that surprise, delight and make memories. Continue reading