National Music Centre launches temporary exhibition dedicated to country legend Paul Brandt on June 15

June 14, 2018

The Paul Brandt Legacy Collection: YYC to BNA launches at Studio Bell on June 15, 2018. Photo credit. Neil Zeller. 

The National Music Centre (NMC) is pleased to launch a new temporary exhibition at Studio Bell in partnership with Mount Royal University (MRU), honouring Canadian country music icon, Paul Brandt.

Over the course of his over 20-year career, Calgary-born country singer-songwriter Paul Brandt has won multiple JUNO and Canadian Country Music Association Awards and written chart-topping singles, such as the wedding classic “I Do,” “My Heart Has a History,” and others. He has released 11 studio albums that have produced gold, platinum and multi-platinum certifications, garnering him the honour of the most played Canadian country artist in the history of country radio.

In addition to his musical achievements, including an induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017, Brandt is also the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and numerous other national and regional humanitarian honours.

The new exhibition at Studio Bell, entitled The Paul Brandt Legacy Collection: YYC to BNA, was led by students in MRU’s Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program, and is the first of two exhibitions introducing The Paul Brandt Legacy Collection. Brandt loaned the archive of his career as part of his tenure as Storyteller in Residence at MRU between 2016-2018. The exhibition at Studio Bell in partnership with MRU features a curated selection from over 1,600 objects, including letters, awards, gold records, and more.

“I am so thankful the National Music Centre is dedicated to telling the life stories of artists and celebrating Canadian contributions to the arts in this way,” said Paul Brandt. “Studio Bell and NMC are world-class, and having this collection displayed here is an honour, doubly so as it is right here in Calgary, my hometown. Working with students from my alma mater, MRU, has been incredibly meaningful to me. They have shared my vision for this collection right from the start, that it would be used to bring joy and entertainment, while at the same time contributing to society’s greater good.”

Close to 200 BBA students diligently digitized and organized the entirety of Brandt’s collection. Treasures include: sheet music of provincial country anthem, “Alberta Bound,” from a performance with Brandt and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 2006, as well as an array of textiles, such as the “Not in My City” gown designed by Paul Hardy, and an outfit worn by Brandt during the Calgary Stampede talent search contest that launched his career (The shirt was made by his mom, and inspired by Garth Brooks, whom Brandt idolized).

Canadian country icon Paul Brandt viewing pieces from his legacy collection on display now at Studio Bell. Photo credit. Neil Zeller. 

Through the archive, Brandt’s legacy as a musician, storyteller, entrepreneur, social innovator, and humanitarian is revealed. Working with students each term, the country legend also launched social innovation projects such as Not in My City, an initiative raising awareness about human trafficking in Calgary and across the country. Brandt’s commitment to Indigenous communities and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), who represent half of the women trafficked in Canada, is also evident in the collection.

“Categorizing and organizing the over 1,600 items that eventually became the Paul Brandt Legacy project was at times overwhelming,” said MRU student Jordan Piraux. “I was among the almost 200 students who curated the inspiring and amazing stories mined from this collection. It’s been a labour of love, and I can’t wait for the world to see the product of our work displayed in the YYC to BNA exhibit.”

“Paul Brandt’s impact on country music in Canada and humanitarian achievements are extraordinary,” said Andrew Mosker, President and CEO, NMC. “We are so pleased to welcome another Hall of Famer to Studio Bell to join their peers, and to share the story of a bonafide living country legend in partnership with MRU.”

The Paul Brandt Legacy Collection: YYC to BNA is accessible with paid admission to Studio Bell and will run from June 15, 2018 until December 31, 2018.

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