March 09, 2015
From musicians, artists, and historians, to accountants, technicians, and videographers—the collection staff at NMC is not your typical bunch of pencil pushers. Each team member has a diverse skill set that contributes to the care and management of our unique instrument collection. You’ll be seeing a lot more of these faces over the next year, as we document the process of moving the NMC collection into our new space in the East Village. We invite you to take the chance now to get to know the key players behind the collections management department at the National Music Centre. Want to hear more about the collections at NMC? Be sure to check out our monthly blog in Amplify.
Jesse Moffatt – Director of Collections
The founding member of NMC’s collections department, Jesse has been with the organization since it’s early days as the Chinook Keyboard Centre in 2000. An accomplished keyboard instrument restorer, Jesse comes by piano restoration and conservation naturally, as his family has been restoring and servicing musical instruments in Calgary for over four decades. Originally trained in the art of piano technology by his father, Jesse continued his formal training with renowned technician Bill Garlick of Steinway & Sons, Dowd Harpsichord, and the North Bennett Street School of Piano Technology in Boston. Jesse supplemented his restoration knowledge with training in artifact conservation through the Canadian Conservation Institute and an internship at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. As a result of his diverse training, he learned the importance of bridging old and new technologies, and gained an understanding of the complexity of preserving historical artifacts. Jesse’s skills as collection manager were put to the test during the 2013 Calgary flood, when he was forced to coordinate 65+ volunteers and 25+ staff members to evacuate 7000 square feet of collection space in less than two weeks. For his efforts, Jesse was rewarded an Alberta ‘Hero of the Flood’ award in recognition of his outstanding service to Albertans in response to the June 2013 disaster. In his spare time, Jesse indulges his creative side by building one-of-a-kind Art Case Piano designs. For the past three years he has been commissioned by the Calgary Downtown Association to create outdoor piano installations, designed to motivate people into engaging, activating and claiming ownership of their urban landscape.
Claire Neily – Collections Manager
Claire comes to the NMC with expertise in objects conservation, collections management and databases. She holds both a master’s degree in Art Conservation from Queen’s University, as well as a diploma from Fleming College’s Museum Management and Curatorship program. Claire’s passion for her work has allowed her to complete contracts all over the world, from Ottawa, to Mongolia, to the U.S. and now Calgary, where she looks forward to amusing her NMC colleagues with her novice ukulele playing skills. Claire played a large role in organizing and preparing the artifact collection for the move into Studio Bell. As Collections Manager, she is responsible for the daily care and management of the artifact collection, coordinating staff and volunteers, and performing conservation treatments when needed.
John Leimseider – Electronics Technician
Before coming to the great white north in 2002, John spent 25 years playing music and working on gear for a wide variety of musicians in Los Angeles. He originally joined the collections department at NMC on a two-year contract, but lucky for us, he has stayed in Calgary for the past 12 years, repairing instruments and playing the occasional gig now and then to appease his adoring fans. As an electronics technician, John specializes in the repair of electronic musical instruments, particularly synthesizers. His focus for the last few years has been on the conservative restoration of NMC’s three mixing consoles: the Olympic Studios Custom Console, The Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Studio and the Trident A-Range Console. He is looking forward to the major restoration of The Original New Timbral Orchestra (TONTO) after NMC’s move to the new building.
Jason Tawkin – Manager, Collections Access
Like many of the collections team members, Jason comes to NMC with a wide variety of skill sets. He holds a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Calgary, where he majored in painting and printmaking. While at university, Jason was also active in the local campus radio station, CJSW 90.9 FM, volunteering as a live sound technician. Jason originally started as a gallery assistant at NMC, but his role has expanded greatly since he first came to the organization over 2 years ago. In addition to helping with collections care, he provides support to both the acoustic and electronic technicians, and has been heavily involved with the conservative restorations of NMC’s three recording consoles (Olympic Studios Custom Console, the Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Studio and the Trident A-Range Console). With over 10 years of experience in recording music, Jason also plays a key part in supporting NMC’s artist in residence program. His knowledge of analog recording technology in particular allows artists to maximize the potential of their time with the collection. In his spare time, Jason is an avid collector of musical instruments and recording equipment, as well as a musician. He is the (self-proclaimed) “King of Kijiji” and enjoys the thrill of finding a deal.
Mike Mattson – Digital Content Coordinator
A regular face around both SAIT and the University of Calgary campuses, Mike has led a multi-faceted career as a professional musician, audio engineer, video producer, multi-media developer, educator and researcher. A veritable jack-of-all-trades, Mike is currently at NMC applying his many skills towards the creation of the Oral History of Music in Alberta. Over the next few years, Mike will be conducting over 100 video interviews with pivotal Albertans that helped shape the culture and fabric of our province’s musical history. While interviewing local celebrities may seem a daunting task to most, Mike is not one to get star-struck, as he has not only interviewed two of Alberta’s premiers, but his band has also opened for Cheech and Chong. In his role as Digital Content Coordinator, Mike is helping set the direction for the expansion of NMC’s collections into digital media and digital asset management. The information documented through his video interviews will provide NMC with a new medium of primary sources to strengthen the collection.
Jason Barnsley – Collections and Exhibitions Technician
With a diverse background in pipe organ building, theatrical design, home renovation and music experience, Jason is one of the many multi-talented employees at NMC. Originally from Lloydminster AB/SK, Jason spent 17 years in Pennsylvania where he attended university and honed his talents as a pianist, classical organist, singer, choir director and musical director for musical theatre productions. Currently, Jason serves as organist/choirmaster at the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd in Calgary. At NMC, Jason wears both collections and exhibitions technician hats. He can often be found restoring organs in the Studio Bell workshops, designing and building materials for new exhibits, or tuning the interactive instruments on display around the building. Pop by Studio Bell Wednesday-Friday and you might also catch him performing the 3pm Kimball Theatre Organ demonstration.
Hayley Robb – Objects Conservator
Hayley is an emerging conservation professional, specializing in the care and treatment of electronics and historical objects. A graduate from Fleming College’s Cultural Heritage and Conservation Management program, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Art History from Queens University. After spending 6+ years in Ontario, Hayley is back in her hometown of Calgary, and is on contract with the collections department of NMC. As objects conservator for NMC, Hayley is responsible for the recovery and re-organization of the electronic parts collection damaged in the Calgary flood of 2013. Though new to the world of electronics and instrument conservation, Hayley hopes to learn as much as she can from the talented collections team at NMC.
Tallia Chau – Collections Assistant
Tallia first came to NMC in the summer of 2012 as a practicum student, and has been a part of the organization ever since, working both part-time and full-time as a collections assistant. During the fall and winter, Tallia splits her time between the collections department at NMC and the University of Calgary campus, where she is finishing up a combined degree in Ancient and Medieval History and Accounting, with a minor in Museum and Heritage Studies. As the collection department’s resident “excel whiz”, Tallia’s duties include processing new donations and acquisitions, updating object files, and organizing many, many spreadsheets.
Meghan MacKrous – Archivist
Meghan comes to the NMC Collections Team fresh off her recent graduation from the University of Western Ontario, where she earned a master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences. Originally hailing from Cape Breton, Meghan has an avid interest in history and archives. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Greek and Roman studies from the University of Calgary, and recently completed a work practicum at the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. As a archivist at NMC, Meghan played a large role in preparing the artifact and archival collection for the move to Studio Bell. Along with monitoring the daily environment conditions of Studio Bell, she assists with cataloguing and inventory of the instrument and archival collections.