Hadfield: In Our Space


Colonel Chris Hadfield is landing in our space at the Bella Concert Hall.

The first Canadian astronaut to walk in space will be the first astronaut to set foot on the stage at the new Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts… and he’s bringing his guitar.

Hadfield states his keynote address will be, “A mixture of some Canadian stories, some space flight stories and a personal interweaving between the two.”

The high-flying author of two best-selling books just released his third publication, “The Darkest Dark” a children’s volume on conquering fear. It’s just one of his creative passions he has pursued since landing back on his home planet.

The Music To Your Ears Concert Season at MRU Conservatory, which has featured the likes of Ziggy Marley and Chantal Kreviazuk already this fall, celebrates the pursuit of musical excellence, and Hadfield is quite at home on a concert stage.

Fans wishing to hear the famed space cowboy strum a tune might just be in luck. As the first human to record an album of music while off-planet and cover David Bowie’s Space Oddity to the tune of 33 million views on YouTube, he knows how to attract an audience. Ticket holders on November 26th will likely hear something from the album, “Space Sessions: Songs From a Tin Can” which features original music by Hadfield and his brother David.

Due to these many passions, he’s excited to bring his experience to the concert hall environment. “My intent,” he says, “would be to tell some stories and use some music to help illuminate them.”

Although Colonel Hadfield’s performance is sold out, there are more stellar guests in this year’s line-up at

  • By JLove

Space Oddity

Seven Series Centre Stage



The excitement is electric.

The sound-check’s done and… we’re about to take centre stage.

In 2015, we completed construction and opened the Award-winning Bella Concert Hall and the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts.  While it still has that ‘new theatre smell’ we’d like to amplify its acoustics by showcasing the finest local, national and international talent to play it.

We would like to announce the debut of SEVEN CONCERT SERIES taking place at the versatile venues in the Mount Royal University Conservatory’s Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts in 2016-17. These concert events will showcase some of the most innovative contemporary artists to bring music to your ears. We want our MRU Insiders to be the first to know what’s up.

Join us on May 13th, 2016 as we announce the line-up.

This will take place at the James Ehnes concert, our final Wyatt Series event for this season.

For tickets, go to or call 403-440-7770.

Our follow us online for up-to-the-moment social media releases. (Follow @MRUConservatory or

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Soundscape Series

The Bella Concert Hall was built on sound.

The Soundscape Series showcases the amplification of these artistic vibrations in their acoustic glory.

* 5 concerts from local, national and international influential artists and ensembles.


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Importing world-class musicians from around the globe. Let’s give them a true Calgarian white-hatted welcome.

* 5 concerts will take audiences on musical adventures in many musical genres.  


Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 2.46.38 PMNorthern Lights Series

2016 is the Year of Music in Calgary.  2017 is Canada’s 150th Birthday.

What better way to celebrate our home and native land than to feature some of its finest artists.

*5 concerts will define our country’s energy, diversity and talent.


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Our celebrated Wyatt Series continues to feature contemporary masters of classical works in performance and mentorship of our music students. This series honours the late Hal and Marnie Wyatt, longtime supporters of the Mount Royal University Conservatory.

* 3 concerts from modern masters.


Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 2.48.22 PMFamily Portrait Series

Music, Speech Arts and Theatre are for all-ages. To ensure that the younger family members, and those who are young at heart, get to experience amazing music and storytelling, we have the Family Portrait Series.

* 2 narrative shows that will inspire imaginations, whether it’s your first or ‘bazillionth’ time at a performance.

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The Spotlight Series showcases our diverse and talented instructors in performance. We’re so proud of our instructors, we want to bring their talents to centre stage. This monthly feature is as varied and exciting as the programs we offer.

Salon Series

Historically, the Salon was a favourite meeting place for musicians of all styles to play, listen and collaborate. We’re bringing it back. Throughout the season, we’ll be offering these opportunities for folks to mix, mingle and enjoy a variety of musical entertainment.

Of course, we’ll still be presenting concert events featuring all of our incredible performance ensembles and programs, including festive favourites Winter Fantasia and Sounds of the Season.

Connect with us on social media for your chance to win tickets to each of the series, or the grand prize, seasons tickets to ALL concert events in our 2016-17 Season!

Like, follow and spread the message to your friends and family.  It’s going to be an inspiring season of sound at the Mount Royal University Conservatory!

– by JLove


Mount Royal Conservatory speech arts hits golden jackpot

calgary speech arts, mount royal university conservatory, mount royal conservatory, jennifer orr
Mount Royal University Conservatory Speech Arts and Drama coordinator Jennifer Orr with six of her seven students who won gold medals for top marks through the Royal Conservatory of Music convocation last week.

Sunday was a golden day for Mount Royal University Conservatory’s Speech Arts students.

Seven young students earned medals from the Royal Conservatory of Music for receiving the highest mark in their grade in the province.

The awards were presented Sunday at the RCM convocation in Calgary.cons_img_fac_orr

Of the 16 provincial speech medals awarded in Alberta, 10 were students from Mount Royal Conservatory.

Mount Royal University Conservatory Speech Arts and Drama coordinator Jennifer Orr, who was a member of the team that produced the 2000 edition of RCM Examinations Speech and Drama syllabus and works as an adjudicator and specialist consultant, said she is proud of her students.

“Only piano had more medalists in Alberta than speech, which speaks to the size of the program here and to our support and leadership. Of the 16 provincial speech medals in Alberta, 10 were taught at MRU.  I’ve had lots of medalists over the years, but seven is quite the jackpot,” said Orr.

Mount Royal instructor Jilliane Yawney had two speech medalists (preparatory and Grade 3), Jim Dobbin taught the Grade 10 medalist, and Susan Duska taught student Heather Macnab, the national gold medalist for ARCT Speech and Drama Performance.

A partnership between RCM Examinations and Mount Royal Conservatory’s speech program has yielded the RCM Examinations’Speech Arts and Drama Syllabus, 2011 edition. The Conservatory speech program and faculty continue to provide leadership in curriculum and teaching as speech teachers throughout Canada meet the challenge of this new syllabus.

Speech arts and drama training truly exemplifies the benefits of arts education. It is both a remarkable artistic endeavor and a fundamental, empowering life skill. It is founded on two main areas of study: training the speaking voice, and performance and presentation in such forms as verse-speaking, acting, storytelling and public speaking. Students gain a deep appreciation of literature and the power of language, and develop clear thinking and speaking abilities that they will carry into every aspect of their lives.

Speech arts and drama is for everyone; it is a boost for shy children, a haven for children that love literature, and a magical outlet for children that are driven to perform. it gives students the confidence to speak, to communicate, and to be heard. The confidence and ability it offers its learners is a gift they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.

The Speech Arts & Drama program at Mount Royal Conservatory is the largest in Canada, with faculty and programs recognized as the finest in the nation. Our teachers are professional speech instructors with backgrounds in speech, voice, literature and drama.

Sherri Zickefoose, Nov. 4, 2014

Children’s speech arts festival: Conservatory outreach builds confidence, self-esteem

Mount Royal Conservatory Speech Arts faculty members Jennifer Orr and Grant Paterson adjudicated at Applause 2014 children's speech arts festival April 2 and 3, 2014. The Leacock Theatre is offered free of charge to the 26-year-old event.
Mount Royal Conservatory Speech Arts faculty members Jennifer Orr and Grant Paterson adjudicate at Applause 2014 children’s speech and drama festival April 2 and 3. The Leacock Theatre is offered free of charge for the annual event.

With poems about pulling pigtails, dismal dinnertimes and other silly stories, Calgary’s only elementary school speech arts festival took centre stage at the Conservatory this week.

Applause 2014, a students’ speech and drama festival held April 2 and 3 in Mount Royal’s Leacock Theatre, was packed with 750 school children from all quadrants of the city.

Now in its 26th year, the Applause festival is a non-competitive speech arts event hosted by Mount Royal Conservatory since 1988. The festival offers elementary school students their own arena for developing performance skills on stage.

The children’s festival is a unique partnership between the Conservatory, the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District.

And to ensure this beloved festival keeps thriving, the theatre is offered to the schools free of charge  – the only outside event that receives the Conservatory’s donation.

“The Conservatory has always supported us. We couldn’t do it otherwise,” said event organizer Marilyn de Waal.

“It is, to me, the most memorable thing children can be involved in. It’s a group effort, so if someone has low self-esteem they have their friends beside them,” said de Waal, who operates Words Alive.

MusicMakers Speech Arts
MusicMakers Speech Arts

“They really learn what good speech is at an early age, and they carry that with them through their school presentations. They’re not as fearful to get up in social studies class.”

Students are learning invaluable skills: memorizing poems and stories, incorporating drama, enunciating, and becoming entertainers. Students also write reviews to praise school performances and offer encouragement and constructive feedback. Sometimes, they send candy, too.

Organizers say being on stage is special for students, who create memories and delight in listening to storytelling.

They agree that the Conservatory’s community outreach is making a difference in children’s lives.

Conservatory faculty act as adjudicators, said Jennifer Orr, instructor and coordinator for the Conservatory’s Speech Arts and Drama Program.

“Teaching young people to care about words and ideas and how you say them is a powerful thing — it’s what we do here and we are happy to encourage teachers who do it in schools.”

This summer, the Conservatory is offering MusicMakers summer camp for children 5-9.

Registration is open now for the Aug. 11-15 camp, which Inspires children to sing, dance, act, play and create!

Learn more about our year-round Speech Arts programming here.