Capturing the Future

Imagine a week in the life of the revitalized and expanded Massey Hall. Multiple venues, with ample space to spark connection. A modern, digitally equipped facility to capture and share riveting performances. Rehearsal spaces and music outreach events that are truly accessible. Performances in the main auditorium by Blue Rodeo or jazz crossover artist Esperanza Spalding. Pre-show events in the lobby spaces, with opportunities for meet-and-greets. Visiting artists collaborating with high school students, and later presenting new songs in the new performance space.New artists launching their first album on Centuries’ stage. A digital content hub to capture performances from all three stages, to be shared later — or even streamed live. The reinvigoration of Massey Hall and the central role it played in Toronto’s public life from its very founding.

A multi-use facility and centralized hub for video capture of live performance (as well as artist interviews, workshops and collaborations) will also build a digital archive of the countless Massey moments described in these pages. This hub will enhance Massey’s already crucial role in artist development, and be a buzzworthy source of new music content.

A digitally equipped flexible-use facility is an essential resource for artists in this country, providing excellent quality content — captured live, on site — to help reach an audience hungry for new music. If you enjoyed the Live at Massey Hall series, you already know the potential. It has been taken a step further with the Ghost Light Sessions, employing the ambience of Massey Hall as a stunning setting for Mappe Of’s expansive soundscapes, or Donovan Woods’s finely-hewed classic songcraft.

But don’t take only our word for it. The Constantines’ Steve Lambke — a songwriter who runs an independent record label (You’ve Changed Records) and programs Sappyfest in Sackville, N.B. — responded with excitement. “I can’t stress it enough to artists: having that video is so important. We work almost exclusively with up-and-coming bands, and the first thing I tell them is: ‘Do a session — wherever and whenever possible.’”

It’s true that often the most talked-about live bands in this city have yet to record any of their music. A session is the most efficient way to find their audience.

Massey has an important role to play in the lives of artists and performers: for those who are ready to fill Massey Hall, and those who aspire to. Massey Hall will continue to be a music venue of the highest calibre, keeping everything we cherish about the building, yet enhancing the experience with technology that wasn’t available last century — and not possible to incorporate, until now.