Mass Appeal 2016

Inspired by similar events in cities around the world, the Winnipeg Arts Council introduced Mass Appeal in September 2016. Mass Appeal is a free concert series that allows anyone to take part regardless of skill level.  For the players, it’s a chance to participate in the arts in a new way, and for the audience it’s a way to experience the arts in a variety of different settings. It’s an inclusive arts experience that allows everyone to take part, whether they choose to be a performer or an audience member.  Mass Appeal is a fun way to build community through a shared arts experience, and to celebrate the arts in Winnipeg.


Mass Appeal is quite simple: each concert is designed around a single instrument or family of instruments, with a musical director who chooses the songs and develops the music.  All of the songs are posted along with examples and instructions at the Mass Appeal Winnipeg website, where people can start to practice them.  The music director leads a rehearsal with everyone and anyone who shows up, and then the group performs a concert together for the public.


Winnipeg’s inaugural Mass Appeal took place over the first 2 weeks of September 2016 with four concerts held in different publicly accessible spaces around the city.  In total, some 200 people ranging from high school students to retirees, and from the seasoned professional to the very amateur, took part as musicians while hundreds more gathered to watch and listen.  Participants were primarily from Winnipeg but musicians came from other communities including Brandon, Thompson, Portage La Prairie, and Landmark to take part.

The inaugural Mass Appeal was a tremendous success, and plans are afoot to bring it back in 2017.  Thanks to all of the Music Directors, as well as our partners at Via Rail, The Exchange District BIZ, St. Norbert Farmers’ Market, and The Forks as well as AudioWorks Production Services.  See below for some photos of the events, and watch for video of the event coming soon!

Mass Appeal Choir

On September 1 a choir assembled under the dome at Union Station where under the direction of Ben Campbell, its members sang a selection of music ranging from Bach to The Weakerthans. 

All Photos by Matt Duboff

Mass Appeal Horns

On September 7 at The Cube in Old Market Square, Todd Martin led an impromptu brass band through New Orleans style arrangements of everything from Richard Strauss to The Eurythmics. 


All Photos by Matt Duboff

Mass Appeal Fiddles

September 10 was a sunny Saturday morning at the St Norbert Farmers Market, where Patti Kusterok directed an ensemble of fiddlers that jigged and reeled through a repertoire reflecting the diversity of Canada from coast to coast to coast. 


All Photos by Kristen Sawatsky

Mass Appeal Ukuleles

September 15 saw the closing concert took place under the fading daylight at Oodena Celebration Circle with Kate Ferris leading an enormous crowd of ukuleles through a collection of folk and pop songs.


All Photos by Matt Duboff