News / Calgary

Calgary Dog Orchestra set to sing at third annual Beakerhead

If you are into the wild, wacky world of science and technology, Beakerhead has an idea that just might be barking up your tree.

For the third annual science, art and technology spectacular, organizers will be putting together a “dog orchestra” made up of Calgary’s own furry friends.

“Last year we tried it and people really enjoyed it so this year will be the souped-up improved version,” said Claudia Bustos, community engagement manager for Beakerhead.

The orchestra works using a technology called a “makey mekey board” — a product designed by the Lifelong Kindergarden Group at MIT— that allows you to turn anything conductive into a switch.

“When you pet the dog it will let you complete a switch that will trigger a note,” said Dana Scholls, a Beakerhead collaborator who is designing conductive dog booties the dogs will wear, enabling them to make the music.

Using the booties, and alligator clips attached to the makey mekey board, each dog’s technology will be programmed to make different instrument noises and song bits, composed by another Beakerhead collaborator.

As Beakerhead gears up the five-day September event, organizers will be holding dog orchestra auditions on Aug. 15 from 10 a.m. to noon.

“We are looking for dogs who are friendly, who fit well together and who can handle being pet for up to 45 minutes,” said Bustos.

Beakerhead is also looking for a “dog conductor,” which Bustos said is a fancy way of saying dog handler, and they ask anyone who thinks they might fit that position to contact them.

The dogs will be performing three of the five days at Beakerhead, Sept. 16- 18, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Stephen Avenue.

More on