77% of National Music Centre staff temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 cancellations

The National Music Centre in Calgary has laid off 77 per cent of its staff and rolled back wages for the small remaining team, due to the impacts of the global novel coronavirus pandemic.

The temporarily layoffs affect 39 part-time staff and 23 full-time staff, the NMC said in an email.

The National Music Centre is a non-profit museum and performance venue, with more than 2,000 rare instruments and artifacts from Canada’s musical history in its collection.

Studio Bell, the centre’s home in downtown Calgary, has closed temporarily, with upcoming events postponed or cancelled, the NMC president and CEO announced Wednesday.

“We find ourselves in very challenging and unprecedented times, but one thing we know for certain is that Studio Bell will reopen eventually, and we will recall NMC staff back to work and our dedicated crew of volunteers when the time is right. NMC’s team is world-class and our culture is strong,” president and CEO Andrew Mosker said in a letter posted to the organization’s website.

“Our current situation is a setback, but it is only temporary and the health and safety of our community as a whole is now our collective first priority — so please stay home!”

Mosker wrote that although the pandemic is having a devastating effect on communities and arts organizations around the world, music has also been a tool used by people to support each other through the crisis — from sharing songs from balconies to online video.

“We have always believed that music heals. Thus, for the duration of this global crisis we’ll continue to tell the story of music in Canada and bring people together in a different way,” he said, encouraging supporters to purchase memberships, preorder tickets or make donations to keep the centre running.

The Glenbow Museum also announced it was laying off 80 per cent of its staff on Wednesday.

There were 419 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta as of Wednesday afternoon.


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