I’m halfway through! Welcome to day 5 of my 10 day series on why I think Calgary is Awesome, inspired by Julie Van Rosendaal’s post on my new favorite blog, Calgary is Awesome. If you haven’t already seen her list, check it out here.
Do you think I’m getting tired of talking about this great city? Not even close.
Today I have another non-food entry to write about. Have you ever heard about a place called The Chinook Keyboard Centre? Probably not but that is what it was called when I started working there about 10 years ago. Then I was lucky enough to make my small imprint on the place and name it Cantos (that is a story for another day), but you know what? The place is growing so much it had to get another name. Even though I no longer work there I am excited to keep up with all the exciting things happening over at the National Music Centre.
I may not be on the staff anymore but I still love this place and think it is very special. At one time it used to be known as Calgary’s best kept secret but it isn’t anymore. Currently housed at the old Customs Building at 134 11th Avenue SE is the heart of the place, a unique and one of a kind collection of keyboards and electronic instruments. The building has changed a lot since I worked there but when you come into contact with this living museum you feel like you are in the presence of greatness.
One of my favorites is Elton John’s piano. I was visiting after hours and hadn’t had a chance to see the new acquisition yet. It was sitting in the workshop getting ready to be put out on the floor and I was told I could go back and have a look at it. This is the piano that Elton John and Bernie Taupin used to write many songs, most notably, Your Song. It was a sacred moment when I walked in the room. It was quiet, no one else in the place but me and the piano. I truly felt the souls of all those songs wash over me and I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that this object, this normal looking upright, white piano could elicit such emotions. Ok, I’m getting choked up just thinking about it.
There are so many other pieces I could talk to you about but I really must urge you to go and see the place for yourself and make your own discoveries. And it is not just a visual experience but an audio one as well. Even if you don’t play the piano you will be able to create music. Trust me!
The other exciting thing about the National Music Centre is that they are in the middle of their biggest project to date. In the fall of this year they are looking to break ground on their new facility. Down in the East Village, they will be taking the old King Eddy Hotel and transforming it into a world class facility that will not only celebrate music but bring our community together. Their website is very good and you should go check it out.
They have not asked me to do this, but I know that they are still raising funds for the King Eddy project. If you would like to donate to this worthy cause you can find details on their web page.
I’m excited for the future of the National Music Centre. Keep watching them because they will be making Calgary awesome for years to come!