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4 win Surrey Arts & Business Awards at SBOT’s annual luncheon

‘Arts and culture-related industries… provide direct economic benefits to Surrey’
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Surrey Board of Trade president Anita Huberman, left, with 2023 Surrey Arts & Business Awards winners Ellie King, Jacob Brand, Stephen Horning of Surrey Children’s Choir and Mary and Rolando Reyes, PraiseTEAM founders. The event was held Tuesday, Nov. 28 at Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Surrey Children’s Choir, PraiseTEAM, Jacob Brand and Ellie King were the four winners of Surrey Arts & Business Awards during a luncheon Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Former NHL hockey player Dave Babych was a guest speaker at Surrey Board of Trade’s annual event, held at Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, along with Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.

King won the Legacy Award as founder and artistic director emeritus of Royal Canadian Theatre Company, which stages another panto (“Cinderalla”) at Surrey Arts Centre’s Main Stage starting Dec. 15. King was the lone finalist for this award.

Jacob Brand won the Music Award for his “spirit of perseverance and artistic brilliance,” including current work as music director of “Snow White & the Eight Dwarfs,” a panto staged by White Rock Players’ Club starting Dec. 6. The other two award finalists were Glisha Dela Cruz and Jackson Hollow.

Winner of the Cultural Ambassador Award was the Stephen Horning-directed Surrey Children’s Choir, set to perform a “Songs for a Winter Night” concert Dec. 9 at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in South Surrey. The other two finalists were Amarjeet Singh (Naad Arts Centre Society) and Sireen El-Nashar (Zaytuna Services Society).

The Arts and Innovation Award went to Praise Theatre Ensemble and Arts Ministry, or Praise TEAM, established in 1997 in Surrey, blending faith with the performing arts. The two other finalists were SMASH Theatre School and Studio Seventy Three.

Bios for the four award winners are posted below, as submitted by Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT).

“Arts and culture-related industries, also known as creative industries, provide direct economic benefits to Surrey,” said Anita Huberman, SBOT’s president and CEO. “They create jobs, attract investments, generate tax revenues, and stimulate local economies through tourism and consumer purchases.”

Arts and Innovation Award

Winner: Praise Theatre Ensemble and Arts Ministry (PraiseTEAM)

“Established in 1997 in Surrey, the Praise TEAM initially focused on dance classes for children, blending faith with the performing arts. Starting at St. Matthew’s Parish, they expanded to Our Lady of Good Counsel School, teaching various dance styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop and contemporary and musical theatre. The initiative evolved, training teen and university students to become instructors and choreographers. Praise TEAM has competed locally at the Surrey Dance Festival, Canada National Music Fest, Dance World Cup, and Canadian Hip Hop Championships. Internationally, they have gained recognition and awards for their unique style and storytelling choreography at prestigious events such as Maxt Out, Vibe, World of Dance, Hip Hop International and the Arena. The Praise TEAM has significantly impacted the lives of its performers, as many of its alums are now working professionally as teachers, choreographers, performers, directors, or studio owners.”

Cultural Ambassador Award

Winner: Surrey Children’s Choir

“Established in 1992 as part of the Surrey Choral Arts Project, the Surrey Children’s Choir has become a remarkable representative for Surrey across local, provincial, national, and international musical choral platforms. Under the artistic direction of Stephen Horning, the Surrey Children’s Choir, comprising the Junior Training Choir, Intermediate Training Choir, and Surrey Community Adult Chorus, has evolved into one of the most esteemed choral entities in the Lower Mainland. This award-winning ensemble unites young artists from diverse backgrounds to create harmonious symphonies celebrating musical excellence and diversity. Recent performances like Moments in Time and In Paradise showcased the Choir’s 30-year journey, featuring timeless favourites and collaborations with talented musicians. The Choir’s Memories concert transported audiences into the world of Broadway, highlighting the depth of talent within its diverse membership. A cultural treasure, the Surrey Children’s Choir embodies inclusivity, unity, and artistic excellence, demonstrating the profound power of music to bridge divides and inspire harmony.”

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Jacob Brand kisses his Music Award at the 2023 Surrey Arts & Business Awards event, held Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 at Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Music Award

Winner: Jacob Brand

“Jacob Brand embodies the spirit of perseverance and artistic brilliance. He has defied learning challenges since his early days in the Fine Arts Program at White Rock Elementary, proving that music is his language. Over two decades, he has enriched Surrey’s cultural fabric as a versatile musician, singer/songwriter, actor, and dancer, leaving an indelible mark on the local theatre scene. Jacob released his debut album, Beyond, in April 2023, earning regional and global acclaim. Some of his accolades include a 2023 Fraser Valley Music Award Nomination for Indie Artist of the Year, a Dakota Leslie Memorial Fan winner in 2023, a Broadway World nomination for Best Ensemble (Forever Plaid in 2020), a Community Theatre Coalition award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (Seussical in 2019) and a CTC Award Nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical (Iolanthe in 2018).”

Legacy Award

Winner: Ellie King

“Ellie King is the Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of The Royal Canadian Theatre Company, a not-for-profit society producing semi-professional theatrical and entertainment events. Ellie trained in dance and drama before taking the road as the bass player and singer with a touring band and later worked as Artistic Director for Charades. Ellie is a multi-faceted talent well-known as an actor in theatre, animation and on-screen, writer, director, producer, designer, and scenic artist. As a director, she has over 70 productions to her credit. She holds qualifications from various institutions, including the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Royal Academy of Dance. Ellie has been a steadfast champion and vocal advocate for the arts in Surrey. Ellie formally retired last year from the Royal Canadian Theatre Company.”



Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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