National Music Centre amps up visitor experience at Studio Bell

January 17, 2019

Local legend Jett Thunders brings his radical style and gnarly air guitar skills to Studio Bell on Feb. 2. Photo credit: Dean Mullin.

The National Music Centre (NMC) is amping up Studio Bell’s visitor experience with regular weekend music activations and new and improved tour offerings, beginning on January 26, 2019.

Performances, hands-on activities, and presentations from an array of touring and local Calgary musicians, historians, musicologists, educators, and more will occur every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, thanks to support from Scotiabank Backbeat. These activations will offer a platform for the greater music community to be heard and enjoyed by visitors. Artists and community groups interested in presenting at Studio Bell can tell us more about their projects here.

Scotiabank Backbeat will bring more weekend activations and performances to Studio Bell and NMC’s resident sound scientist Evan Rothery will dig deeper into what makes music tick with his new series. Photo credit: Brandon Wallis (top) and Dean Mullin (bottom).

“As an evolving organization, we always want to be tweaking our programs based on the feedback from our visitors,” said Andrew Mosker, NMC’s President and CEO. “With this new program, we want to amplify Studio Bell’s role as a vibrant and welcoming community space that can be used and enjoyed by all.”

Upcoming Scotiabank Backbeat activations include:

  • NMC’s resident sound scientist Evan Rothery leads a Science of Sound Series, pairing musical instruments with the newest technology to gain a deeper understanding of what makes music tick, beginning on January 27
  • Beloved banger Jett Thunders brings his wildly fun Air Guitar Workshop to Studio Bell on February 2
  • Black History Month festivities with playwright Cheryl Foggo and musician Miranda Martini as they present excerpts from “John Ware: Reimagined” on February 9
  • International Women’s Day festivities with performances and presentations by The Torchettes, and an all-female choir featuring women in the local music scene on March 9 & 10
  • 8-bit videogame electronics with Grayscale and musical Rube Goldberg Machine experiments in honour of World Creativity and Innovation Day on April 20 & 21

In addition to regular weekend activations supported by Scotiabank Backbeat, public tours will begin to go “behind the glass” with amplified live interpretation, allowing visitors to see and hear the National Music Centre’s collection come to life. Each musically trained guide will bring their own skill set to the 60-minute tour, during which visitors will learn more about a rotating roster of artifacts, from the Wurlitzer Sideman drum machine to the Mellotron Tape Replay, whose eerie tones can be heard on tracks like “Strawberry Fields Forever” by the Beatles to Garnet Amps, instrumental in the Winnipeg rock sound of the ‘60s and ‘70s. For hardcore music fans, visitors can check out exclusive Backstage Pass Tours every Sunday at noon and 1:30 pm.

“Playing off the success of the Backstage Pass Tours, we’re excited to add more in-depth interpretation to our public tours and even more interactive experience to Studio Bell,” said Adam Fox, NMC’s Director of Programs.

Studio Bell’s amped-up visitor offerings will launch on January 26, 2019. Public tours will be offered Wednesday to Friday at 2:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. Tickets for public tours cost $7 for adults, $5 for students/seniors, and are free for youth and children (12 years of age and under). All public tours can be booked in person at Studio Bell.

Public tours are free for NMC Members, so buy your membership today! Details here.

Look for more Scotiabank Backbeat events and activities to be announced throughout the year!

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