100 day reflections from our new CEO

Published January 16, 2023

 

It has been 100 days since CEO Nathan Medd first started at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and he has hit the ground running. With fresh eyes, he has explored all aspects of this great organization and made some wonderful discoveries.

Find out what Nathan has been discovering – you may be surprised too.


Dear VCM Community,

100 days after joining the Victoria Conservatory of Music, I write to share five exciting things I have learned as a newcomer. You probably know about some of this already. Taken together, they strengthen my belief that the Island’s home for music is the most extraordinary, best-kept secret in arts and culture across all of Canada.

 

The Victoria Conservatory isn’t a music school, it’s five schools.

Eight years ago, on the occasion of the Conservatory’s 50th anniversary, an ambitious expansion resulted in the launch of a School of Music Technology and Creativity, as well as the Chwyl Family School of Contemporary Music. This has exploded the range of programming taking place, making new space for trends and historically underrepresented genres. Other schools are the Department of Postsecondary Studies (in partnership with Camosun College for 40+ years), the Early Childhood Music Department, and the Ann and George Nation Conservatory School of Classical Music. There is an outstanding artistic leader behind each of these schools, wrangled for the past ten years by Dean and Chief Academic Officer, Stephen Green.

 

It’s also a performing arts centre.

Other downtowns the size of Victoria typically have a multi-venue centre for the performing arts, the heart of the city’s civic and cultural life. We have one too, the Victoria Conservatory of Music. The more we remind people that this is our downtown arts hub, the better! Three venues, 55 studios and music classrooms. In the coming years, we will continue to enhance the facility’s public spaces and backstage amenities, completing a transformation that began nearly 25 years ago when the property was acquired.

 

It is a wellness centre inside of an arts centre.

When we talk about the work of the Victoria Conservatory of Music, it surprises people to learn that alongside the five schools of music is a long-standing, leading-edge music therapy clinic that serves 1,900 clients each week. The stories of impact, artistry and creative expression that come from the Department of Music Therapy at the Victoria Conservatory are among the proudest examples of our mission in action. It is an extraordinary success story that we will be finding new ways to share in future.

 

It’s also a public library.

Another surprise was the presence of the Music Library at the Victoria Conservatory. It’s public, and has regular open hours for browsing and check-outs. I learned that the collection includes 30,000 sheet music titles, including work from Canadian composers – some under-recognized – that cannot be found elsewhere. Not widely advertised, but well-used by faculty and students. This is one of the only public libraries in Canada dedicated solely to music.

 

The sound surrounds the region.

What happens under the roof downtown accounts for just some of the Victoria Conservatory’s programming. The rest takes place around the community, from daycares and assisted living homes, to Mount St. Mary’s hospital, the Native Friendship Centre, schools like Tillicum Elementary, rec centres like SEAPARC in Sooke and Saanich Commonwealth… it is a long list. In 2016, a year-round, satellite location opened in Langford, to better serve the growing region. There really wasn’t much of a slowdown during the pandemic – a tremendous credit to the staff, faculty, and board. In fact, over the past two years, the Conservatory was the largest charitable arts and culture organization of any kind on Vancouver Island.

 

Looking ahead, in 2023 the Conservatory will advance its inclusion, equity, diversity and accessibility commitments; re-imagine its website; undertake new health & safety initiatives; and launch programs that respond to the shifting needs of music communities.Hearing from artists, audiences, students, families and supporters about what the Victoria Conservatory of Music means to them has been the highlight of my first three months. I look forward to learning your stories.Sincerely,Nathan

 

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