West End Cultural Centre more than music venue
West End institution awarded for community excellence
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This article was published 07/11/2016 (2393 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There’s a lot more than live music taking place at the West End Cultural Centre (WECC) (586 Ellice Ave.) and it’s getting noticed.
The WECC recently received the Community Excellence Award at the Western Canada Music Awards for its ongoing programming for area residents.
WECC’s Kerri Stephens, formerly the community outreach co-ordinator, says it’s great to be recognized for the work they do.
“In the past we’ve won venue of the year and that’s always exciting,” Stephens said. “It’s always really neat to be recognized for something that happens that we’re all so passionate about… we spent the last year and a half really pushing for programming that we offer the residents within the West End and west central area.”
Stephens said it can be hard to get the word out about different programs at the WECC, although some of them are in their second or third year. Most of what is offered is geared towards youth and free, though there are programs for adults and seniors as well.
“One program we’ve had here the longest is our Tune In program which is our free after school music lessons for youth ages nine to 17,” she said. “The kids come in between 4 and 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and we have instruments ranging from drum kits to ukuleles to keyboards and guitars and electric guitars and bases and often when the kids come in they end up creating bands and jamming together and writing songs.”
WECC also offers Play and Record, a camp where youth come in and professionally record an original song. Stephens said one of the groups that have recorded had the opportunity to play at Sherbrook Street Festival this past summer.
“It’s neat because we see some of the youth that come through these programs and then they’re given opportunities by other places,” she said.
A few times a month WECC staff and visiting musicians will visit Lions Manor, a residence for seniors, to lead them through singalongs and perform concerts.
“It’s one of our favourite programs,” Stephens said. “We had no idea what to expect, we thought we would do a pilot of it and after three months we thought, ‘Yes, we have to keep doing this.’”
The WECC also offers a free holiday turkey dinner each year for 150 residents with live music and a visit from Santa. Stephens said volunteers and donations are always welcome for the event. In the summer, they also host the Ellice Street Festival, which sees some 2,000 area residents attending.
“Of course we want to be this great venue where we have musicians come in and people just love the shows but we also want to really celebrate our community and the area the WECC is in,” Stephens said.
For more information about programming, visit wecc.ca