National Music Centre 2016 Canada Day Grand Opening

We did something special on 2016 Canada Day in Calgary by attending the grand opening of the National Music Centre (NMC) Studio Bell (Twitter)! Yes, the lineup was long and around the block (~1.5 hours) even at 10am in the morning but it totally worth our time in the wait because of the special guest pxerformances we got to watch (more on this later). Regular admission fees are $18 for adult, $14 for Seniors/Students, $11 for Youth (3-12), free for Children (under 3) and free on this grand opening day. And there is cool as there is a FREE/complimentary admission for “new Canadian citizens within their first year of citizenship. New citizens can apply for the CAP online at and present their pass upon arrival at Studio Bell for free entry.”

The NMC really has great exhibitions (22 stages) and a wonderful unique collection (with about 2,000 objects)! Have a watch of following clips and check out some photos at the end of this post.

One of our most memorable experiences on this grand opening day visit was to listen to Willy Joosen‘s epic LIVE performance using NMC’s Kimball Theatre Organ (NMC info). (Note: I’ve included a better audio quality Zoom H1 recording of Willy’s performance.) NHL Calgary Flames fans may know Willy (Twitter) as the organist for the Flames since 1988!


I was amazed by historical significance of TONTO and yes, the unit used by Stevie Wonder for his ground breaking albums is now in Calgary! Check out the story here and TONTO & Stevie Wonder!

And did I say the NMC has the Rolling Stones‘ Mobile Recording Truck?! While the Recording Truck was behind closed door (window was covered with paper) so we couldn’t see it on grand opening day, I did get to see it in action in this Inside Tour produced by CBC The National news!

The NMC has a YouTube Channel and has some great videos. Here are a few I LOVE! If you are a musician, for sure to check out the NMC Artist in Residence program (video of artists) , (artists in residence: Gotye, Kid Koala and Money MarkClara Venice), (more info, full instrument list (PDF file), program application info)!

The National Music Centre’s Artist in Residence program is designed to feed and nurture artistic creativity and technical innovation by providing artists at various levels of professional development with uninterrupted time and space, and the use of our unique collection and expertise to create new and innovative works.

Program Elements

This self-directed program seeks to enhance creative skills and personal progression by facilitating concentrated artistic exploration and discovery in a context that is tailored to each project and creative approach.


Artist = professional, established, and emerging musicians, bands, ensembles, composers/arrangers, songwriters, producers, technicians, educators, academics and interdisciplinary project participants.

And there is even a video talking about NMC’s Garnet Amplifiers! Enjoy!

Interview with Brad Cloepfil – lead architect on NMC at Studio Bell project

Even though some details of the building (the outside edges and corners of walls, etc) are not complete, it is worth checking out this “fly through” to give yourself a sense of the building exterior and interior.

Check out these  80+ photos taken in our first NMC visit!

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