Skip to content

Orchestra takes residence in Balzac

The Airdrie-area art scene is growing with a local orchestra taking up residency in the East Balzac.
Taking Residence
Members of the Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra perform in their new space at the Polaris Centre for the Performing Arts during a gala in January.

The Airdrie-area art scene is growing with a local orchestra taking up residency in the East Balzac. In September 2018, the Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra began rehearsing at the Polaris Centre for the Performing Arts near Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, said Music Director Carlos Foggin, and will begin performances at the space later this month. “We were approached by a gentleman who was interested in building this facility, and asked if we would be interested in taking up residence there, and we said, ‘Absolutely,’” he said. The Polaris Centre is very new, Foggin said – currently in the first of four phases. The orchestra uses a rehearsal and performance space, and the centre also includes a dance studio and recording studio. Future plans for the facility include a stage and lobby area that the orchestra will use, he noted. The orchestra was excited to move into its new space, and didn’t want to wait until all phases of construction were complete, Foggin said. Since its formation in June 2016, the Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra has grown and faced challenges finding an appropriate space. “This space is wonderful,” Foggin said. “The problem with traditional rehearsal space is we’re usually in a school band room or a church basement – there’s not a lot of purpose-built space, even within the City of Calgary.” The orchestra was rehearsing in a church in Calgary, but being in too small of a space can result in overwhelming sound, Foggin said, leading to the orchestra of between 45 to 50 players reining themselves in. “When you get to performances, things aren’t in balance,” he said. “It was important for us to have a space that was large enough that the sound was good enough so we could rehearse the orchestra.” The facility is already furnished with all the equipment the orchestra needs, Foggin said – proper chairs, music stands and room for large percussion instruments. “We were looking for something a little more appropriate for our needs – a little bigger, that we could also…do concerts in,” Foggin said. “Important to us was to have the art facility outside the city.” Beside accommodating the orchestra’s players – who reside in a variety of places as far away as Red Deer – Foggin said occupying a space outside Calgary helps make the orchestra accessible to those who might otherwise not attend or participate in the performing arts due to cost or location. “The Rocky Mountain Symphony was formed out of a desire to make orchestral music more accessible, in terms of programming, in terms of cost and in terms of geography,” he said. Finding a home in Rocky View County contributes to that goal, Foggin said, attracting an audience from outlying communities. “This centre is only 10 minutes from Airdrie, and it will draw from Irricana,” Foggin said. “Even for folks from Bearspaw and North Calgary, this is closer than heading downtown.” The orchestra will conduct a performance in its new space on March 22 with a Celebration of Spring.

Be the first to read breaking stories. Allow browser notifications on your device. What are browser notifications?
No thanks