In the heart of Calgary, within a few walls drenched in candlelight, music and art, is a house. While only a temporary home to the musicians and artists who pass through it, along with those of us who get to enjoy their talents, you never really leave the Cliff House. To be sure, the Cliff House never leaves you.
It is truly wonderful to watch someone experience their first show, to see the joy come over them, just as it had my first time. Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra was performing that night and a toe-tapping, knee-slapping dance party it was! What an introduction. All the shows that followed – Ben Rogers, Kris Ellestad, Hannah Epperson, Morlove, and the Sled Island Pre-Flood Series with Renny Wilson, Jessica Jalbert and Cold Water Road (to name a few) blew me away no less. Each experience unique, but collectively satisfying the hunger for meaningful and authentic spaces to meet with friends while making new ones, sharing in food, libations, art and music.
From the first show with Mike Tod and Spencer Jo in May 2012, Sarah Erickson could not have imagined the impact she would have on the community. By providing a space for local and travelling musicians, as well as visual and spoken word artists, she has been able to bring together the young and young at heart to inspire and be inspired. While we are sad to lose Sarah this December when she moves to Toronto to intern with legendary music promoter Richard Flohil (while hunting for a space to re-open the Cliff House there), we are nothing but grateful for what she leaves behind: a true example of what can be accomplished with hard work, community and passion. The Cliff House as we know it will be gone, but keep your eyes and ears peeled for those who have been inspired by her to open similar spaces, because The Cliff House never really leaves you.
By Tess Van Den Bosch
Photos: Maria Lykouris