The National Music Centre (NMC) in Calgary launched a new temporary exhibit at Studio Bell this week that celebrates groundbreaking Alberta musicians.
Trailblazers: Alberta showcases artists successful on local, national and international levels, who also influence the next generation of rock stars, virtuosos and music mavens.
“It celebrates a lot of the music industry icons and not-so-well-known individuals from this province,” said Andrew Mosker, president and CEO of NMC at Studio Bell.
“It’s really important that we celebrate our homegrown talent, regardless of where that talent is in their career,” he added.
Trailblazers: Alberta features wall graphics, interviews and concert footage from industry leaders, including Holger Petersen, Feist, Tegan and Sara, Shawn Everett and Chad Kroeger.
“I think visitors take away stories they hadn’t heard of in the province of Alberta,” Mosker said, “whether it’s in Calgary, Leduc, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Jasper, Banff — that this province has a rich, rich, rich musical history in all genres of music: from electronic music to classical music to country music to indie to jazz.”
“People who come visit the exhibition will learn that, ‘Oh wow, I had no idea that these types — a wide-range of artists — had come from this province that represent all different styles and genres of music,’ ” he said.
The exhibit also features emerging artists like Lindsay Ell and nêhiyawak, as well as the Static Shift.
“Born and raised here, we’ve played here our whole lives and to be a part of the National Music Centre, which is located right here in our hometown, we’re honoured,” said Mitchell Brady, the Static Shift’s guitarist and singer. “It’s very cool. A very unique experience, to say the least.”
“I think it just brings together the community,” said bassist Keone Friesen. “Especially in Calgary, we have such a great local music scene here — in a lot of different cities, that scene doesn’t always come together. Here, it’s so great that we have places like the National Music Centre to bring us in somewhere, help us out when we need it and support local talent.”
The group has advice for anyone considering a career in music.
“Just because music can be a difficult industry, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying to do,” Brady said. “You can fail at anything, so you might as well try doing something you love. Music is what we love and we’re happy to be a part of this place.”
Trailblazers: Alberta is put on by ATB Financial’s Storytellers program in an effort to document the province’s music history.