An Action Learning Project Put Into Action



SSS Members enjoy a recent Secret Sounds event at the Masters Gallery, featuring The Torchettes

The Calgary Folk Music Festival’s donor outreach program, Secret Sounds Society, was born as an Action Learning Project (ALP) during my time as a student in the third cohort of the Rozsa Arts Management Program (RAMP).

Secret Sounds is a membership-based social club; members are told the dates and times of the four events in the season, but we keep the location and the concept of each event a secret until 48 hours before. Members follow hints on our Instagram @secretsoundssociety and Twitter @secretsoundssoc to get a sense of what is ahead. Two days before the event they receive an email that gives them all the information needed for the night out. There is always music featuring Calgary’s fantastic local artists and an extra element showcasing Calgary’s vibrant arts and culture scene.

Each Secret Sounds event is unlike the others; we have had a songwriter’s circle featuring Tom Phillips, T. Buckley and Mariel Buckley in the basement of a western store to a scavenger hunt at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre followed by a Lindi Ortega concert at the King Eddy.

The impetus behind our “social club for cultural adventurers” was three fold. The primary idea was to have people experience the programming of the Calgary Folk Fest year round. With the opening of Festival Hall in 2012, we transitioned from being a seasonal to a 365 organization and this was one way of letting people know. The second was to create an accessible entry point for philanthropy. Having spent nine years of my career in fundraising and resource development, I discovered that the idea of philanthropy for a younger generation seemed totally inaccessible. I wanted to show our audience that they could be donors to the Folk Festival Society at any level- and get some fun recognition for it too! The third was to connect arts and culture enthusiasts and create belonging. For some, integrating into the arts scene can be intimidating. Creating a vehicle for new and veteran arts consumers to meet as well as exposing them to music, art and spaces that may not have sought out on their own, will serve as an investment to strengthen our community over time.

Now halfway through its third season, Secret Sounds is stretching further to partner with arts organizations, individual artists and musicians and unique spaces to continue creating experiences that get our members talking and inspire them to become champions of the Calgary Arts scene.

To partner with Secret Sounds Society or to become a member, please contact Development Manager, Stephanie Mok 403.233.0904 stephanie@calgaryfolkfest.com or visit our website at calgaryfolkfest.com.


The Torchettes playing at a recent Secret Sounds event at the Masters Gallery.

#ALP #RAMP #ArtsLeadership #ArtsManagement

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