St. John’s is a musical town, from its big festivals, arena shows, and smaller acts playing George Street, to mid-day harbourside concerts in the summer. “Music in the Courtyard,” an initiative which the Cahill Group started in 2013, builds on this reputation by offering quality outdoor concerts to its own employees and visitors alike.
“We were looking for other opportunities to support and showcase the vibrant arts scene and culture of our province in a corporate setting,” says Fred Cahill, President of the Cahill Group. “Our office, which is located at The Tower Corporate Campus at Waterford Bridge Road, features an open-air courtyard that has enviable acoustics.”
Wanting to do something different for their employees, and considering their access to the courtyard and existing partnership with the Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues Festival (which they’ve supported since 2011), Cahill says the outdoor summer concert series made perfect sense.
“Similar to the lunch-hour concerts at Harbourside Park, it provides exposure to local talent to everyone working at TTCC. When the weather cooperates, it gives employees a break from their work and allows them to see some of the ways we support our community outside the office.”
The Cahill Group works with Wreckhouse to select music for each event, aiming for a mix of established and up-and-coming artists and musical styles. They’ve also featured acts that include employees and try to include a representation of diverse cultural experiences.
“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to see everything from The Dardanelles to Kat McLevey to Bob MacDonald,” Cahill says.
The Avalon’s famously unpredictable weather recently led to some changes to the format of the concert series, moving to a pop-up style event because of past cancellations.
“Our relationship with Wreckhouse has been key to making this a success,” Cahill says. “They accepted the challenge of an unplanned event, every week, without hesitation.”
This shift in format has come in handy during the cool, rainy summer in St. John’s this year. For the opening concert with Stompbox Duo on July 17, a last-minute decision was made to move the performance inside because of rain in the forecast and Cahill says everyone jumped on board. The current format will be reviewed in September.
In addition to Wreckhouse, Cahill also supports the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra (NSO), the LSPU Hall, and Opera on the Avalon.
“Some members of our senior management team and employees sit on boards and volunteer their time with the NSO, the Folk Arts Society, and the East Coast Music Awards, to name a few,” Cahill adds.
Cahill says arts sponsorships, including the summer concert series, are vital because they support the local arts community, benefit employees, and demonstrate the importance of partnerships between the arts and business communities.