All the City's a Stage
Winnipeg boasts one of North America’s most richly diverse music scenes, making it a living classroom for music programs. There are many fun, interactive ways for students to connect with Winnipeg’s top-notch musicians, while a variety of performance opportunities for bands and choirs abound.
A morning spent with members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) will surely be music to your student’s ears.
The WSO has made a name for itself through a diverse range of programming, as each year they play over 80 concerts covering genres as diverse as pop, masterworks, and experimental. Their Destination WSO program pulls back the curtain and offers students insight on what it takes to become a professional musician. Students will attend a dress rehearsal matinee, be invited to a Q & A with the conductor, and a pre-performance chat with the musicians so they can learn about the work before it is performed.
In the evening, head to the Manitoba Legislative Building, one of the most fascinating and impressive neoclassical buildings in Canada. Its primary architect, Frank Worthington Simon, was a freemason who secretly created a temple of hermetic knowledge using symbolism, Greek and Assyrian mythology, hieroglyphics and numerical architectural features — a fact that lay hidden in plain sight for over a century. On a Hermetic Code Tour — often hosted by Dr. Frank Albo, the architectural historian who uncovered this mystery, this staggering building will be brought to life in an evening of intrigue that will ensure your students never look at architecture the same way.
As an added bonus for choir groups, the Legislative Building also doubles as exceptional space for performances, with the Grand Staircase and the bottom of its famed Rotunda offering tremendous acoustics.
Make it a morning of music at the University of Manitoba (U of M) whose Desautels Faculty of Music features an exceptional array of talent, with faculty members being top brass in Winnipeg’s jazz, chamber, opera, classical and choral groups.
U of M’s music clinics provide students with the opportunity to work with these luminaries through workshops and seminars, while also providing insights into the academic workings of the music world.
In the afternoon go back to the 1850s through a living history lesson at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, North America’s only restored stone fort from the fur trade era.
Buildings and walls that have stood on the bank of the Red River for more than 180 years tell inspiring tales of innovations, discovery and struggle, while costumed interpreters bring the fort to life and introduce students to the social and racial tensions resulting from the fur trade in the Red River region.
After the tour, bands and choirs can perform to a multitude of school groups during the academic season in Lower Fort Garry’s main theatre, which is a perfect fit for a merry group of musicians.
Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet have been dazzling audiences across the globe since 1939 (it’s the second oldest ballet company in North America), and here in Winnipeg — along with putting on over a dozen performances per year — they offer students a behind-the-scenes experience that is almost tutu good to be true.
Start your morning with an en pointe experience that shows the painstaking work that goes into producing beautiful and inspiring ballets that touch people’s hearts. Depending on the daily schedule, students may witness rehearsals, meet the physiotherapists and visit the astounding wardrobe department, all while learning of the company’s storied history from guides who are themselves former professional RWB dancers.
Spend the afternoon at the Royal Canadian Mint, where the experience is worth every penny. This facility produces over one billion coins per year utilizing state-of-the-art processes that students will marvel at on these worldly tours. Over 55 billion coins for more than 75 countries have been brought into circulation at this stunning facility and tours can be tailored to test a students’ knowledge of Canada and the globe using interactive exhibits and hands-on experiences.
Come evening, head to Celebrations Dinner Theatre where students can truly get into the act! This live theatrical experience features a three-act musical comedy accompanied by a three-course meal where everyone, including your server, is part of the play. Students may even be asked to participate on stage in short scenes!