Youth talent to light up stage at PACMA Showcase

Emma Kuwala performs at the 2024 Prince Albert Winter Festival Country North Show. Kuwala will be among the youth acts that takes the stage on Saturday for the Prince Albert Country Music Association’s Youth Showcase. -- Herald file photo.

The Prince Albert Country Music Association (CMA) hopes to give prospective musicians a boost to start their careers with a Youth Showcase Event on Saturday.

Five local bands and three singers will take the Prince Albert Public Library Stage. Show producer Evan Swalm said they CMA wanted to help young musicians develop their careers.

“There’s not many venues today where young musicians can cut their teeth or learn the ropes … so we wanted to try and provide an opportunity for these folks who are just beginning their music career,” Swalm explained.

The youth showcase was inspired by the Garnet Ebach Memorial Share the Music Campaign. That initiative makes instruments—primarily guitars—available to children who can’t afford them so they can take music lessons.

The CMA decided to take things a step further and provide a venue for young musicians. They’re covering the entire cost of the event, and donating the proceeds from the door.

Swalm said getting used to being on stage can take some time, especially since not all audiences act the same. He said the show will provide these young musicians with valuable experience.

“How to feel comfortable on stage in front of an audience—those are all skills that you can’t open a book and learn,” he explained. “They need to do it to develop that competence.”

The performers won’t be the only youth involved in the event. Swalm said the sound engineer, emcee, and stage manager are all 17 and under.

Scheduled musical acts include the bands Fiberglass, Organized Confusion, Eternal Elysian, Stump Lake Slough Thumpin Brothers, and The Spark, and singers Emma Kuwala, Gaia Smart, and Layla Mogg.

Although the show is sponsored by a country music association, the acts include more than just country performers.

“It’s quite an eclectic collection of music,” Swalm said. “It’s flowing hair rock and roll … to bluegrass and various things in between.”

Proceeds from the event will go towards Children’s Haven. The CMA also plans to donate $1,000 of their own money along with the gate.

Since the show is youth oriented, Swalm said, the CMA though the donation should be too.

“In our community we have a lot of vulnerable youth … and we felt that that would be a good target to put invest some money,” he explained.

The Prince Albert Youth Showcase begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 13 in the Prince Albert Public Library Theatre. Tickets are available at the door for $5.