The intimate Recital Hall of the Guelph Youth Music Centre is the perfect space for Guelph Musicfest—it was designed with chamber music concerts in mind. The wood and stone design, all lovingly built by volunteers, produce wonderful acoustics. The small size of the hall, seating 170 at capacity, lets everyone hear and see the performers perfectly. You are up close and personal with the music and musicians. You will be hard pressed to find a better chamber music experience.
From the beginning, the major goal of the Guelph Youth Music Centre, beyond the obvious one of providing high-quality space at an affordable cost for the many children’s arts activities in the community, was a desire to make music and the arts available to children who might not otherwise be exposed to them, or for whom such exposure would otherwise be difficult. The philosophy of the Centre is that every young person should have the opportunity to engage in an activity that provides personal fulfillment. Children who wish to engage in artistic activities should have access to facilities equal to those made available by the community for other purposes.
The initiative began as a search for permanent space for the Suzuki String School of Guelph; however, it was immediately apparent that the focus should be broadened to encompass the very many performing arts activities for children and young people with which the City of Guelph is blessed. Over a period of nearly fifteen years a small but resolute group negotiated with the City of Guelph, worked with the planning committee of the River Run Centre, investigated shared space with the University of Guelph, did battle with the Ontario Municipal Board, sought both public and private financial support, and in the end, in 1995, began renovation of the facility which opened in September 2001 as The Guelph Youth Music Centre (GYMC).
The $1.4 million renovation was accomplished through personal and corporate donations, in-kind donations of construction materials, and more than 20,000 hours of volunteer labour. No public funding went into the renovation, and none goes into the operation of the building. It is entirely self-sustaining.
Anyone who was involved in the evolution of the Guelph Youth Music Centre feels a strong, emotional bond, and all agree that watching children, young people and families bring the building alive is worth every cent and every hour that went into it. The concept of the Guelph Youth Music Centre is unique in Canada. It began as the vision of a very small group. It was realized through the community spirit and determination at which Guelph excels.