Event and Theatre Services raise the curtain for a new season

Performances and classes resume in-person for Fall 2021


Like many arts organizations in Calgary, the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on Mount Royal’s Event and Theatre Services’ 2020-2021 plans. Regardless of the unusual circumstances, the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts (TCPA) and the Conservatory exceeded expectations with their online initiatives, and are advancing in opening the Fall 2021 chapter with remote and in-person options.

Back at the Bella

The Taylor Centre Online and Sweater Season has helped keep Calgary’s vibrant arts community connected by showcasing virtual initiatives from local artists and organizations.

“So many arts organizations did an amazing job of converting their offerings to digital formats and continuing to provide people with much-needed creative and inspirational content during the pandemic,” says Phil Cimolai, manager of Theatre and Performance Services.


A musician performs at the Bella Concert Hall.

Bella Live From Your Couch, which originated as an online concert series, is now being delivered in a hybrid format – giving supporters the option to either attend in person at the Bella Concert Hall, or watch via live stream at home.


Sweater Season highlights included conversations and performances with Connor Curran, Local Laundry's chief laundry folder; Sara Leishman, executive director of Calgary Folk Music Festival; John Morgan, Revv52’s artistic director; Shelley Youngblut, Wordfest's CEO and creative ringleader; Aine Kay Sison, Calgary Youth Orchestra tuba player; Kate Stevens, Calgary-based R&B/soul singer-songwriter; Mary Kate Aquino, local singer-songwriter and more.

Cimolai expresses his excitement to feel the energy from live audiences and performers alike.

“While the digital offerings over the pandemic have been significant, there is nothing quite like experiencing the arts with like-minded people. When you experience the arts in person you take part in a singular moment that happens only for that audience, one time,” Cimolai says.

Bella Live From Your Couch, which originated as an online concert series, is now being delivered in a hybrid format – giving supporters the option to either attend in person at the Bella Concert Hall, or watch via live stream at home. The pivot from in-person to virtual events offered venues like the TCPA to experiment with different methods of showcasing talent moving forward.

“We’re excited to bring hybrid concerts to the Bella Concert Hall stage this upcoming season and are particularly excited about continuing our online series, Bella Live From Your Couch, which will see performances live-streamed and recorded to be enjoyed from the comfort of your home, often on demand to view at your convenience,” Cimolai shares.

Kicking off this leg of Bella Live was Land’s End Ensemble, a trio comprised of three Conservatory instructors who took to the Bella stage on Sept. 11. R&B singer/songwriter Justine Tyrell and composer, producer and pianist Timothonius are set to take the stage later this year.

“With the generous support of Canada Council for the Arts we are looking forward to providing high-end artistic performances for everyone, anywhere,” Cimolai says.

In-person instruction resumes at the Conservatory

Classes at the Conservatory have been powering through in a virtual learning environment, with teachers going above and beyond to help students thrive and students showing exceptional talent both in their art and in adaptability.

“Our students were able to connect with international instructors online, which we anticipate will continue and greatly advance the learning of our students and expand the resource opportunities our instructors can draw upon to facilitate the level of instruction we value at the Conservatory,” says Jean-Louis Bleau, interim director of the Mount Royal Conservatory.


A Conservatory student playing the violin.

The Conservatory has classes for anyone at any level, from beginner to advanced.


The Conservatory’s repertoire of classes is always expanding, while continuing to offer staple music, voice, acting and theory classes.

“We are working to be as flexible as possible providing students instruction in a way that they are most comfortable with,” Bleau says.

Orchestras and choirs will once again resume activities, and Bleau shares that he’s most excited for the relaunch of community-facing ensembles like group guitar, ukulele and taiko classes.

“Over the course of the pandemic, group music instruction had to be suspended as it is not possible to play in an ensemble online,” he says. “The possibility of making music as a community once again has us all very excited and looking forward to the year ahead.”

The Conservatory will provide the Mount Royal community and frontline health-care workers with a significant discount on fall/winter classes, knowing that people are eager to engage in group activities. The Conservatory has classes for anyone at any level, from beginner to advanced.

Event and Theatre Services’ ongoing events are subject to change as government and AHS COVID-19 guidelines are updated.

Immerse yourself in music at the Bella.

Oct. 1, 2021 — Katherine Sharples

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