Nestled in the heart of Aurora, ON, in a restored Victorian schoolhouse, stands The Aurora Cultural Centre. Its work engaging and inspiring people through music programs and events makes the centre the talk of the town.

Since introducing music programming in 2011, the charitable non-profit organization has spotlighted both local and nationwide talent. Musicians have attracted an audience drawn primarily from York Region, as well as guests from Toronto’s downtown core – and beyond.

The Aurora Cultural Centre presents all kinds of music, from worldbeat to classical to jazz to bluegrass, for its diverse audience. This includes a yearly series curated by the renowned pianist of CBC Radio’s The Vinyl Café, John Sheard. During the concerts, guests can converse with performers and learn intimately about their art. The centre has hosted countless SOCAN members, including Dan Hill, Russell de Carle and Sultans of String.

“It’s creating a whole new concert experience in the heart of York Region,” says Jane Taylor, the centre’s Program, Event and Communications Manager. “As long as we’re celebrating the Canadian songwriter [and] musician, we can be broad in our offerings and serve our community.”

Adding to the venue’s medley of activities are educational music programs, as is fitting for the schoolhouse setting. Students can connect with musicians such as David Partridge, who teaches guitar at the centre.

In the centre’s efforts to make use of its versatile space, musical activities are often complemented with visual art and architectural heritage. This includes encouraging the guests to look through the centre’s four art galleries after arriving for a concert, or during intermission.

The centre also encourages browsing its gift shop, filled with a curated selection of hand-crafted, locally-made items. The funds raised in the shop support the centre’s operations, so that artists can continue to perform there.

Of course, the centre helps artists by being among the more than 30,000 businesses in Canada that are Licensed to Play music by SOCAN.

“We want to show our community the level of commitment we have to our artists,” says Taylor. “These musicians work hard, and give such value for what they deliver to the audience. We want to let artists know how much we value them, and Licensed to Play is the way to do so.”

For Torontonians, The Aurora Cultural Centre offers a memorable musical excursion just a short drive north of the city. The staff of the centre look forward to continuing to grow both its music program and the breadth of artists hired to perform.

To learn more, or become Licensed to Play, click here.