Kokopelli Newcomers’ Bursary
Many young people coming to our city from different countries are in need of strong community bonds and positive peer support. The Kokopelli Choir Association, which is a world-renowned community-based non-profit choir family, can be incredibly meaningful in establishing and building community networks of support for young people who are newcomers to Edmonton. Kokopelli Choirs value multicultural diversity and offer singers of all backgrounds an opportunity to share their heritage and learn about the musical traditions and languages of the many cultures that make up our community’s population. Newcomers to the community also often come from cultural traditions that place a strong emphasis on music-making in community and the importance of the arts. Over our seventeen years of operation, many of our singers gone on to be leaders in our community, inspired by seeing how the arts can build bridges among diverse groups.
Our fees are as low as we can manage to keep them and we offer fundraising programs to assist our singers and families. However, immigrant youth often struggle with greater financial demands with families are working to establish themselves; fundraising campaigns succeed based on a family’s pre-existing network of family and friends, which may be small for newcomers. We hope to help these youth by providing bursary support covering the cost of membership and travel with our choirs. Kokopelli, our choir for youth aged 14 to 23, has fees of $800 per season, plus a camp fee ($125), uniform costs ($95), and tour costs (varying from $300 to several thousands depending on the plans for the season).
Being able to provide newcomers to Canada with financial assistance to cover these costs could make all the difference when it comes to connecting these young people with a community of singers their age.
Who Will it Benefit?
A bursary program targeted at young newcomers to Canada has obvious community benefits, not only for the youth themselves, but for their families and community. A young person engaged in the pursuit of excellence, surrounded by other youth who value their culture and experiences, is much more likely to be successful and productive as part of their new Canadian community. This is inspiring to their own cultural community, to their families, and to other newcomers from different backgrounds. Our choirs sing music from many traditions, and our mandate takes us all over Edmonton, around Alberta, and even touring internationally as we try to create connections between other choirs and communities, acting as ambassadors for our home community. Though we value the western tradition of classical music and choral singing, we also explore new music and traditions, and strive to present exciting and engaging concert programs that appeal to all ages and audiences. It’s important to us to showcase the true diversity and breadth of culture present in our community as we take our choir around the world as representatives of Alberta’s arts community.Engaging and involving new Canadians in our choirs is not only of benefit to the immigrant youth but also to our whole organization. By including people of many backgrounds in our choirs, we foster understanding and build a stronger and more diverse artistic culture in our city. We encourage our youth, their families, and our broader audiences to view Edmonton as the mosaic of multiculturalism that it truly is, and to understand and value the many artistic traditions present in that community.