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Alberta

This is how a Local Musician is giving back to her Community

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Kate Stevens is a local Calgarian and Bishop Carroll High School Alumni making a splash in the Canadian music industry with her original music and community investment initiatives. A talented singer-songwriter, she plays the ukulele, piano and guitar and writes all of her own music. 

Growing up in a musical household, Kate’s passion for music began at an early age and stayed with her all through her school years, eventually landing her in the music program at Bishop Carroll High School in Southwest Calgary. The education structure at BCHS allowed Kate to focus strongly on her love of music and develop as a young artist, impressively recording an entire studio album during her senior year. She also sang in choir and vocal jazz groups, building lasting connections within her high school and across the Calgary music community. 

Just 20 years old, Kate graduated from BCHS in 2017, the same year she released her debut EP, Handmade Rumors. Since graduation, things have been crazy for Kate. From bringing home YYC Music Awards Female Artist of the Year in 2018 to 4 nominations at the 2019 YYC Music Awards, releasing another single and launching the Youth Musicians of Music Mile Alliance (YOMOMMA) to help nurture young musicians in Calgary, busy is an understatement. However, despite her exciting rise and packed schedule, Kate remains deeply invested in her community, and recently launched a new initiative to give back to the BCHS program that helped her get her own start. Using funds from a recent licensing agreement for one of her songs, she has elected to sponsor an annual scholarship for a BCHS vocal student in their final year. 

“I was lucky to attend Bishop Carroll High School, “says Kate, “the incredible music program there helped me to develop as an artist, and I would like to give financial support to future musicians.” At $250 dollars a year, the scholarship will be awarded by the BCHS Choir Director to a student who shows exemplary leadership skills and wants to pursue music after graduation. Having been on the receiving end of scholarships throughout her own high school career, Kate is aware of the positive impact these types of grants can have on the lives of developing youth, and wanted to be a part of the process that helps young musicians chase their dreams. “If I can support someone in this industry and really encourage the idea that music is important, then I’ve done my job.” 

Currently, all of Kate’s upcoming performances have been cancelled as a result of COVID-19. Although she misses interacting with crowds and performing on stage, she remains optimistic and excited for the future. To hear her music and read more about her story, visit https://www.katestevensmusic.com.

Check out WeMaple video in partnership with Calgary Arts Development featuring Kate Stevens here.

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

WestJet extends temporary suspension of international sun flights until June

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CALGARY — WestJet says it will extend its temporary suspension of international sun flights to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean until June 4.

Canadian airlines in January suspended all flights to sun destinations until April 30 at the request of the federal government. 

WestJet President and CEO Ed Sims said in a release that it made the decision with the clear expectation that as more Canadians are vaccinated, government policy will change.

He says guests with affected itineraries will be notified of the cancellations.

WestJet says since Nov. 1, 2020, it has been providing refunds for all travellers where WestJet initiated flight cancellations.

Sims says WestJet continues to advocate for the replacement of mandatory hotel quarantines with a testing regime that is equitable and consistent with global standards at all points of entry into Canada.

“Alongside an accelerated and successful vaccine rollout, this policy transition will support the safe restart of travel and help stimulate the Canadian economy, where one in ten jobs are tourism-related,” he said Tuesday.

“A safe travel-restart framework is the most effective way to support those interests and restore jobs.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Canada's world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

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CALGARY — Canada’s world champions in beach volleyball are amping up preparations for the Summer Olympics coming over the horizon.

The COVID-19 pandemic kept Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., and Toronto’s Melissa Humana-Paredes apart and docked from competition for much of 2020.

The Canadian duo plans to compete in at least five tournaments over the next two months starting Thursday in Cancun, Mexico.

The world governing body of volleyball, FIVB, created a hub of three straight World Tour events in Cancun to afford teams the chance to qualify for the Tokyo Summer Games opening July 23.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes booked their Tokyo berth when they won the women’s world title in 2019. 

The upcoming tournaments, however, are crucial game reps for a duo that’s short on them.

“I think Cancun will be a real test for us against every team because it is such a lengthy event, to see where we’re really at,” Pavan told The Canadian Press.

“Other teams are scrambling to accumulate points. Obviously we want to win every tournament we play . . . but to be able to take a very objective approach and just see it as information gathering for Tokyo is definitely a luxury.

“We are able to use all of these events to gather information both on ourselves and the things we need to get better at, but also on tactics teams are using against us, or improvements or changes they may have made during COVID.”

Toronto’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson also in the Cancun women’s field have essentially qualified for Tokyo based on their FIVB Olympic provisional ranking of sixth.

Canada can send a maximum of two teams in each gender, but the men have some work to do this spring.

Samuel Pedlow of Barrie, Ont., and Sam Schacter of Richmond Hill, Ont., rank just outside the top 18 in the provisional rankings. 

Calgary’s Ben Saxton and Toronto’s Grant O’Gorman are also trying to qualify.

Pavan, 34, and Humana-Paredes, 28, aren’t facing qualification pressure, but they want to recover their game form in the upcoming tournaments.

“Do I think we’re playing at the level that we need to be in July? Absolutely not,” Pavan said. 

“I don’t think we’re performing at a gold-medal level right now, but fortunately we still have a few months to be able to hit our stride.”

The duo intends to compete in World Tour events in Sochi, Russia in May and Ostrava, Czech Republic in early June. 

They’re also contemplating another tournament in Gstaad, Switzerland in early July to avoid six weeks without a match heading into Tokyo.

Pavan lives in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Canada’s requirement of a 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving outside the country was a barrier to the teammates crossing the border to practise together.

Neither woman felt she could afford the deconditioning that happens during two weeks of isolation too many times.

Humana-Paredes headed to California on Jan. 2 to join her teammate and stayed there. She doesn’t expect to return to Canada until after the Olympic Games conclude Aug. 8.

“I won’t be able to go home until after Tokyo,” Humana-Paredes said. “That’s the mindset I’ve had to come to terms with.  For the majority of the time, I’m in a good head space and happy to be able to train and be with my team and continue to get better. 

“Sometimes I miss by people back home and than can weigh on me a little sometimes. Last summer was so difficult because there was so much uncertainty.  We do have a schedule to look forward to, a routine and things we can plan for and the Olympics are still on.”

Her boyfriend, Connor Braid of Victoria, is a member of Canada’s rugby sevens team bound for Tokyo.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes finished second in the Katara Beach World Cup in Doha, Qatar on March 12 in their first major international competition in 18 months.

The field didn’t include all of the world’s best teams, said Pavan, but the result was important for the Canadians’ confidence.

“We had signed up for the event, but we didn’t feel ready and we actually made the final decision to go a week before the event,” Pavan said. 

“We were unsure, but we decided to just use it as a measuring stick. There were some teams that weren’t there, but to be able to fight through that event while not being as crisp as we’re used to was good.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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