Music Space, the downtown Yellowknife studio that acted as a form of community centre for the city’s musicians, is to close in June.
The business opened in January 2019 after winning the City of Yellowknife’s annual business incubation contest, Win Your Space, several months earlier. It occupied rooms in the basement of the Graham Bromley Building.
Writing on Facebook, Music Space said it would close after “two good years,” adding a “massive, heartfelt thank-you” to the city’s musical community.
According to Music Space, some 150 individuals and families used the centre each week in early 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
Though the business gave no reason for its forthcoming closure, the pandemic has had a particularly damaging impact on the Northwest Territories’ music industry. Gatherings have been restricted for more than a year and singing in public settings, for example, has been specifically prohibited for much of the pandemic.
Music Space hosted workshops for residents of all ages alongside lessons, recordings, rehearsals and a range of regular events.
Established musicians like Yellowknife composer Carmen Braden were clients of the space. Braden, posting to Facebook beneath Music Space’s announcement, said she would miss the space “a ton.” Owner Mary Kelly and the space, Braden said, had “done so much for me on a personal and professional level.”
Winners of the city’s Win Your Space competition have had varying fortunes since opening.
The 2019 winner, a plan for a fish restaurant, never took off. Japanese bakery Ja-Pain, the 2017 winner, is now a downtown staple. Music Space won in 2018 and there was no contest in 2020.
Music Space wrote of its “gratitude to everyone who stepped out of their comfort zone to learn a new musical skill, or summoned the courage to share their music creation with others, or brought their baby or young kids for early music experiences in a community setting.”
“All of these experiences, learnings and connections will live on,” the Facebook post concluded. “Music is for everyone – all ages, all abilities – so keep making music wherever you are.”