When Canadian country music icons Michelle Wright and Brett Kissel sat down for workshops with MacEwan University music students this week, it marked the official launch of MacEwan’s Distinguished Visiting Artist in Country Music initiative.

“Workshops like these are only one example of the activities that will be part of the initiative,” says Allan Gilliland, dean of MacEwan’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications. “It’s an innovative, one-of-a-kind project that will give MacEwan music students – aspiring country singers, musicians and producers – the chance to learn from some of the most celebrated names in their field.”

The role of visiting artist will be given to renowned professionals representing various aspects of the country music industry including performing, writing and producing. The distinguished artists will come to campus for short- or long-term visits to engage MacEwan students with activities including lectures, master classes, performances and public presentations.

The university also launched a fundraising campaign in support of the initiative. “I truly wish there was something like this program when I was starting out in the business – it probably would have saved me some money and heartache!” says Kissel, who is lending his star power to the initiative by serving as honorary chair of the campaign. “We need to give aspiring artists the tools to survive and thrive if they’re going to head to centres like Nashville or Toronto. This initiative will provide that – and more. I’m so excited to be involved in this project.”

To get involved with the campaign, please visit Give.MacEwan.ca/Country-Music.

Let’s stay in touch!
Sign up to receive our weekly MacEwan University e-newsletter straight to your inbox.