What’s that old saying? Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach; and those who can’t teach, teach phys ed?
Something like that.
Well, on Sunday afternoon that will be proven entirely wrong — except for that gym teacher thing, that’s totally true — at Mount Royal University as some of the Conservatory instructors will get their chance to shine. Or strum.
From 2:30 p.m. until 4 in the TransAlta Pavilion they’ll be hosting the Guitar Showcase, a special event in the 2017/2018 Taylor Centre Concert Series that kicked off this September with a three-night stand by Feist.
“It’s a really good chance for us to promote the people we have here,” says Brad Mahon, the director of the MRU Conservatory. “I always say the Taylor Centre is a beautiful gift and it’s a tremendous opportunity.
“That said, the greatest resource I have is the people in the building. And I believe that … Here’s a chance on Sunday for us to show what makes us different and show off some of the staff I have here.”
It is, Mahon notes, a group of people with incredibly “diverse backgrounds,” including some who are full-time with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, while others are freelancers and even more are at MRU full time.
His own background is a fairly diverse one, being an MRU alum, graduating from the post-secondary program, then instructing part-time there before jumping one province east to head the Conservatory of Performing Arts at the University of Regina.
He’s also had a long career as a musician, releasing a trio of acclaimed classical guitar albums, and having worked with the CPO and other orchestras and ensembles.
Mahon has been back at Mount Royal since January, and he says the experience of working with such a talented faculty has been “humbling” and one that he’s “grateful” for.
“I have a real mix of instructors, but I think … for all of them it’s a vocation,” he says.
“They’re here passing it on to that next generation.”
That includes some students who go on and have great careers in music, which Mahon admits is “exciting,” but there are also those students who merely gain a better understanding and appreciation of it, taking that into their lives.
“I really believe that their experiences here at the Conservatory will help them with whatever they do in life,” he says. “They learn to work on their own, they learn to work on a team, they learn to be creative or have those creative muscles massaged.”
He continues. “Ultimately we produce people — or I like to say we compose people — but I think we produce the kind of people who are, quite frankly, they’re not going to go out there and build walls. They’re not going to build walls between countries, they’re going to go out and be just great citizens.”
And on Sunday, they’ll also get the opportunity to appreciate the talents of those who are teaching them, with Mahon calling the event an open house for the program with the skills and diversity of the instructors on display for all to see.
There will be solos, duos, trios — including his own Oberon Guitar Trio with Murray Visscher and Ralph Maier — and a quartet performing a program of what he describes as a
“potpourri,” with sounds and styles from all over the globe.
“I encourage my students to come because I always say to them ‘It’s a chance for you to come and see if I’m practising what I preach,’ ” he says and laughs. “And I think it’s always good for them to see their teachers under a little duress.”
“Exactly,” he says with a laugh. “I think it will be a lot of fun.”
The MRU Conservatory Guitar Showcase takes place Sunday, Oct. 22 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the TransAlta Pavilion in the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts. Admission is by donation. Parking on campus is free on Sundays.