Attracting office workers, mothers with young children, seniors, visitors, or like me, recent devotees, these casual concerts at 12 noon every Wednesday throughout the year, showcase talented musicians in the historic setting of the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer in Calgary's cultural district.
You can bring your lunch and eat it while you listen or close your eyes and lose yourself in the music. Audience members are usually respectful to the musicians and don't talk during performances. Everyone is welcome and on the occasions I have been, there were no empty pews in sight.
Organised by the ProArts Society, a non-profit organisation, the noon concert series comprises diverse performances including solo musicians and singers, choirs and musical theatre, encompassing classical, jazz, folk and contemporary music. The concerts are free to attend and you can donate as little or as much as you wish at the end of each one-hour show.
A ProArt noon concert in the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer
Recent concerts I have attended included a solo performance by the wonderfully gifted Phoebe Powell, a young classical harpist, who is a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. This was the second in a series of six Emerging Artist Concerts. On another occasion I listened to piano recitals from two mature students from Calgary Arts Summer School Association.
There's a great sense of community when you attend a ProArts concert at noon. The last time I went, I was offered a piece of melon by a lady behind me and someone will invariably have a chat with you before the music starts. Gurgling babies are not frowned upon, and the atmosphere is sufficiently casual for you not to be afraid to cough in the middle of a performance. Most one-hour shows comprise two to four pieces and you are not compelled to stay for the whole time if you have to rush back to the office.
Located on the corner of 7th Avenue and 1st Street, the concert venue at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer is a few minutes' walk from the eastbound Centre Street and westbound City Hall C-train stops.