Calgary Sets Sights on "Turning Up the Volume of Culture" with National Music Centre

Calgary Sets Sights on "Turning Up the Volume of Culture" with National Music Centre
As Calgary continues to expand in population, the city is slowly evolving into a cultural hotbed in Western Canada. One major component of this is the National Music Centre, a massive project being undertaken by the CANTOS Music Foundation. A state-of-the-art facility in Calgary's East Village, the National Music Centre will host CANTOS's Collection of Keyboard Instruments, as well as a recording studio, a radio broadcasting space, a live venue and, as was announced earlier this spring, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Speaking with Exclaim!, National Music Centre CEO Andrew Mosker explains that the Hall of Fame will occupy a portion of the facility's 21,500 square feet of gallery space. In addition to the gallery portion, the Hall of Fame will have a larger reach into the community.

"We have to discuss how best to realize the Canadian Music Hall of Fame," he says. "There's going to be a much stronger online presence, and there will be programs for elementary schools. We want to have artists and the general public design their own content for the Hall of Fame." With such a sprawling country represented, one can't help but ask why does Calgary get to house the Canadian Music Hall of Fame?

"We get to represent the rest of Canada for a number of reasons," Mosker explains. "CANTOS Music Foundation is here. CANTOS is becoming the National Music Centre through a name change, and we as an organization have been operating in Calgary for over a decade. We are Canada's largest and most experienced organization in preserving musical instruments, memorabilia exclusively, and building public programs around the content of music. We're the largest and most experienced."

Aside from CANTOS, Mosker cites a "will and desire to make it happen in Calgary." Part of that keen attitude stems from a desire to develop a reputation outside of the oil industry. "There is a desire in Alberta to evolve the province. A good way to evolve is to build a cultural infrastructure, and that's one reason why the NMC has had so much traction. There's desire in this part of the world and in this province to create more of an identity that has not a strong business base in oil and gas, but also turning up the volume of where culture sits in the city."

Because of that desire on a municipal, provincial and federal level, the National Music Centre has received a combined total of $75 million pledged from the government. This brings them just past the halfway mark of the proposed $132.5 million target. As such, Mosker says they're "still in fundraising mode" as they design the 135,000-square-foot facility.

 To learn more about the National Music Centre or donate money, check out the organization's website here. The National Music Centre is expected to be open in 2014.

National Music Centre Release from Big Shave Productions on Vimeo.