Home Special Interest Saskatoon artists welcoming refugees with variety show

Saskatoon artists welcoming refugees with variety show

Saskatoon artists welcoming refugees with variety show

It’s an all-star concert and one heck of a welcome to Canada. This Friday night artists including Brad Johner & The Johner Boys, Yann Martel and Elly Thorn will put on a show in support of a Syrian family destined for our city.

The show was the best way organizers knew to raise money for the Ahlan Refugee Project. Ahlan is Arabic for welcome. It is a joint effort between St. Paul’s and Grosvenor Park United Churches.

I think people understand this is a life and death situation. -Brenda Baker, Organizer

As soon as the call went out, artists of every discipline came out to share their talents to raise money. “I think people understand this is a life and death situation,” says Brenda Baker, one of the organizers. “We appreciate this family is having to start all over again. It must be heart wrenching to leave everything you know behind.”

While the committee had hoped the family they are sponsoring would be here for the concert, the immigration process has slowed considerably and they are still awaiting their arrival. They are currently awaiting a young couple and their two pre-school children from the war-torn country.

Baker will be the emcee for the evening alongside her 7 year-old daughter Tanaya Slade.  The format is a variety show with musical performances, readings, hoop dancing and even a performance by Chinese Ehru player Jiaqi Shang.

There are no tickets for this show, the group wants you to give what you can in donations. The money will go to help the family adapt to life in Canada. The group will provide day-to-day needs like clothing, groceries and transportation.

“People in our congregation and on our committee have volunteered to help our family practise their English, find the right doctors and schools,” explains Baker. “We just want them to make sure they are loved and give them the warmest welcome possible.”

Friday April 15, 2016


Grosvenor Park United Church


Britainy Zapshalla With more than 15 years as an arts reporter at CBC Radio-Canada under her belt, Britainy Zapshalla considers herself not only an expert but also a die hard fan of Saskatchewan’s entertainment scene. She’s a regular contributor to CTV Morning Live in Saskatoon and loves to help people plan their weekends with Brit’s Picks.


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