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Brennan Wows Crowd! Performing at the ANCA Naturally Autistic People awards


Posted by Kelly Green on November 12, 2010

Brennan Wows Crowd


Brennan wows crowd. Colin Brennan gave an inspired solo, a cappella performance of the national anthem at UBC Robson Square Theatre in Vancouver for last month’s Naturally Autistic People Awards. Supplied photo

NORTH OAKVILLE TODAY – Colin Brennan’s singing of “O Canada” gave the audience goose bumps.

Last month, the 8-year-old vocalist stood alone in the middle of the stage at UBC Robson Square Theatre in Vancouver for the Naturally Autistic People Awards and sang out the national anthem a cappella.

“He had no nerves before,” said Colin’s father Gord Brennan. “I was the one all in knots, but he was fine. He was like ‘okay daddy, I’m going to go up there and sing.’”

When he was done, his dad said Colin walked off the stage like it was just another day at the office.

“He was like, ‘I did my thing, that’s my thing, that’s what I do,’” said Gord. “He sat down like it was not big deal.”

The 300-plus people in attendance were left awe struck.

Colin, who has autism, was discovered on Facebook by the organizers of the awards who then asked him to open the inaugural event with the national anthem.

He was also given the opportunity to sing the event’s theme song “It Will All Work Out” with west coast pop phenomenon Janet Panic, the composer of the tune.

The awards, which took place October 30, celebrated the talents of autistic people from around the world. Nominees hailed from Canada, the United States and Australia.

“This was huge in the sense it was history in the making,” said Gord, “because it has never been done before.”

He continued, saying the awards allow for a new understanding of autism within the general public.

“Usually when you think about autism…it’s usually a negative stereotype,” said Gord. “It’s a disability. It’s a disorder.

“In this case they’ve completely flipped it around. They’re saying, ‘well yes, there are some problems associated with it, but there are also a lot of good things.’”

According to Colin’s father, the awards were highlighting the gifts that some autistic people possess instead of just focusing on the negative aspects of the disease.

Gord said the affects this paradigm shift will have on autistic people will be immeasurable.

“When this type of stuff happens the self-esteem goes [up],” he said. “It’s huge in the sense that they feel better about themselves. Their natural talents come out.

“It sort of tells them that it’s okay to be autistic. It’s not as bad as you think. We do have a contribution to society.”

The planning for the second annual Naturally Autistic People Awards is already underway. For more information, visit