The sweet sound of breaking ground
MRU begins work on conservatory project
By Bryan Weismiller
Members of the Mount Royal University conservatory showed off their tremendous talent on April 26 during a ground-breaking ceremony for the school’s new music facility.
However, the EC building will soon be singing a different tune as the sweet melodies radiating through Ross Glenn Hall are set to give way to a much brasher encore performance. An ensemble of jack hammers and backhoes will now take centre stage to begin working on the $73-million conservatory project.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi attended the ground-breaking ceremony and said the conservatory is a “strong, smart investment” to make in the community.
“What makes a community successful is its ability to invest in the things that make life worth living,” Nenshi said. “[Things] that make people happy when they’re in their communities. And we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a thriving arts sector is important for that.”
The City of Calgary has committed $10 million of funding for the project, which Nenshi said was the first time the city has invested on a post-secondary campus. He added it’s important for people of all incomes and backgrounds to be able to take part in the Mount Royal experience.
University president Dave Marshall also spoke about the conservatory experience.
“In 1910, Mount Royal began a hundred-year process of dedicating service to music and art and culture in its community,” Marshall said. “You know, no other performing arts organization in Western Canada can claim to such a history as that.”
“It’s also the largest institution of its kind in Canada. It’s a leader in performing arts. A leader in culture. A leader in music.”
The new facility is expected to provide additional programs for 4,800 community members, on top of the 5,000 students currently being served each year. It includes more teaching studios, ensemble studios and a 750-seat multipurpose performance hall. The conservatory is tentatively scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.