NMC and CPL team up on gig nights for youth

November 26, 2015

by guest blogger, Chad Schroter-Gillespie

Guitar Club is a free, after-school program for youth that takes place every Thursday from 3-6pm at NMC. Run primarily by amazing volunteers, this program gives youth between the ages of 13-19, a fun environment to meet others, jam together, get a snack, and build some musical skills.

For the past five years, Guitar Club has hosted its annual Gig Night which gives Guitar Club students the opportunity in front of an audience of their peers, parents and teachers. This year is unique though. NMC is moving into its new home, Studio Bell, in 2016. This means, as we make the transition to our new building, we need a space to host Gig Night. Thankfully, the Calgary Public Library (CPL), our future neighbors in the East Village, have stepped up to the plate to help out.

Not only will Gig Night be hosted at the CPL this year, we have also collaborated on a free, all ages open mic event that will be taking place on Friday, November 27 from 6-9pm at the Central Library.

The CPL is no stranger to hosting musical events in their space, as they presented an all ages concert last spring called, The Dewey Decibel System. The event featured local bands and proved to be a huge success, piquing both organizations’ interests to explore this exciting new collaboration. I spoke with Erik Komarnicki from the CPL earlier in the week to discuss the upcoming open mic, and the promising new partnership between NMC and the CPL. Here’s what he had to say…

How did this collaboration with NMC come about?

We held a “Community Conversation” meeting, along with several other community organizations, at the Central Library last summer. The idea of hosting a teen open mic at the library came up at that meeting. There was great enthusiasm for the idea and we found that the students of Guitar Club were also keen. I decided to make the activity part of a monthly teen oriented program called After Hours at the library, which features programs run in collaboration with community partners after library hours. Because this program seemed easy to organize and both partners together had the resources necessary (space, chairs, staff – CPL; PA, instruments, guitar club students – NMC) we went ahead with the collaboration.

Guitar Club 2014-2015_web_17

Guitar Club student performing at Gig Night. Credit: Chad S. G.

What value do you think this collaboration has for the community as a whole?

I think that it’s important that teens have a sense of belonging in their community. Activities geared toward teens reinforce that. The performance opportunity can also help teens build confidence and self-esteem, as well as building valuable presentation skills related to public speaking. It is also a great opportunity for teens to connect with other teens that have similar interests, working together at a creative pastime.

What excites you most about the potential of future collaborations, as both the CPL and NMC move into the new spaces in the East Village?

Many of CPL’s resources require an additional party to put them to best use – particularly our abundant space. We are excited that NMC can help us activate our spaces, and hope that we can help them better connect with the community through our spaces. So far, our relationship with NMC has been great, so we anticipate fertile collaborations in the future. Between our gorgeous new library and the NMC’s space, our two organizations should make a valuable contribution to an East Village that will be a source of civic pride and enthusiasm for Calgarians.

Toddler listens to Calgary band, The NItehawks at CPL's Dewey Decibel System. Credit: Calgary Public Library.

Toddler listens to Calgary band, The Nitehawks, at CPL’s Dewey Decibel System. Credit: Calgary Public Library.

Who can take part in the event on November 27th, and how does one get involved?

The event is aimed at teens, so any teen that is willing to get up in front of a small audience is welcome (there will be guitars there for anyone who needs them). Of course anyone who wants to come and watch but not perform is welcome too. The focus for performers is teens, though the event is all ages, so no one should be excluded, though performing teens will definitely be prioritized.

Teens can participate simply by dropping in and expressing an interest to perform. I will host the event and have a sign up sheet for those wanting to perform.

Hey teens! Are you looking for a place to perform? Check out After Hours at the CPL’s Central location on Friday, November 27 from 6-9pm. To find out more, visit CPL’s program listing. And don’t forget to drop in on Guitar Club every Thursday at NMC.

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