Spreading holiday cheer and support to those who need it most

Stream-Flo Group Communications and Marketing Director Markus Lemke and his New West Symphony & Chorus host charity Christmas concert for Calgary’s less fortunate

Being able to enjoy a Christmas concert at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary is a special experience.

Thanks to the generosity and support of the New West Society and multiple sponsors, it’s a special experience many in Calgary who would never be able to afford such a holiday treat, can now lay claim to. Children especially.

“Last year we decided that not only would we do a Christmas concert, but we would do a second one the day after in partnership with agencies in Calgary that provide for people who have experienced some really terrible circumstances,” said Stream-Flo Group Communications and Marketing Director Markus Lemke, who is also the bass sectional lead for the New West Symphony & Chorus.

“Whether they’re homeless or domestic abuse survivors or brand new immigrants fleeing conflicts and so on, these agencies, working with us, we are able to find sponsors to cover the costs of 1450 tickets so that these people could attend a Christmas concert with their kids, for free.”

In addition to the free concert, Lemke says they were able to give every person attending the afternoon event gift bags featuring not only some Christmas goodies, but also various necessities of life.

An overhead view of New West Society’s Gifts Back charity concert and event from 2022. 

“Music has a lot of power,” explained Lemke. “Healing power and spreading joy and all those clichés about it, but to be able to combine that with some specific action is something we like to do at the New West Society.”

The New West Society, of which the New West Symphony & Chorus falls under, has a mission to “Bless people of all ages, leading them to experience love through music, community and compassionate giving” as stated on their website.

Its symphony and chorus boasts over 100 people and they also have a student ensemble, with young aspiring singers and musicians getting the same chance to stand on stages such as the Jack Singer alongside their more seasoned and adult counterparts.

Stream-Flo Group Communications and Marketing Director Markus Lemke performs at the Jack Singer Concert Hall during a previous New West Symphony & Chorus Christmas concert.

For Lemke, whose love of music and singing he attributes to his parents and their singing as he grew up, the 2023 marquee Christmas concert marked an extremely special occasion, with three generations of Lemke’s performing on stage at the same time.

“It was fantastic,” said Lemke. “I got to sing with my daughter, who is one of the first sopranos, and her son Henry at age six had his debut on the Jack Singer stage. He can sing, the little guy.”

Like any good marketing professional, Lemke is quick to sell New West and all it entails.

“I get a real thrill from knowing that everybody around me knows what they’re doing and it’s up to me to make sure that I know what I’m doing — and when that hits — which we aim for all the time, when you’re making music that causes not only your own hair on your arms to stand up but the audience to respond the same way, that’s the best. And to be able to do it in a venue like the Jack Singer Concert Hall, which is specifically designed for musical performance, if all the acoustics are right and everybody’s in tune and singing with each other and doing it the way it’s supposed to be done…it’s just thrilling.”

Thanks to the New West Society and their sponsors, many in Calgary who never had a chance to experience that thrilling sensation, now have. Their kids too.

A mother and her child pose with the Grinch at New West Society’s Gifts Back event last year. 

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