The Wesley Music Centre is part of the Wesley Uniting Church complex in National Circuit, Forrest. It was opened in 2002 and includes a purpose-built Music Room with excellent acoustics seating up to 140 people with a stage which is 3.6m x 8.3m. The sought-after space was designed specifically for small-scale chamber concerts for instruments, keyboard and voice, for master classes, for recordings and other musical events and is also ideally suited for lectures, symposia, seminars and workshops. The acoustics can be varied for different events. Associated spaces include a seminar room, a tutorial room, a recording studio (bio box), a foyer with kitchen facilities and the Centre office. In 2012 KDVL Acoustic Coinsultants carried out extensive testing of the acoustics. Their report is here. The Centre has a number of instruments including an excellent Yamaha grand piano and a harpsichord.
The Centre was financed entirely by the Wesley Music Foundation (ACT) which was set up by Wesley Uniting Church in 1999 to promote music and music education with the aim of ensuring a strong music program and community outreach in perpetuity. The Foundation is on the Register of Cultural Organisations and has a Public Fund for tax deductible donations by individuals and corporate bodies. There is a Friends of Wesley Music group supporting events and fund raising. To date the Foundation has raised well over $2 million for the construction of the Music Centre, for musical instruments and for the Wesley Music Scholarship Program funded jointly with Wesley Church (92 scholars to date). All funds have been raised by gifts, pledges and operations, including Music Centre concerts, other public events, joint ventures with musicians and hirings by individuals and organisations. There have been no church or government grants.
In the year ended June 2011, there were around 120 concerts or other public musical events as well as a diversity of other activities including music courses, recording sessions, private music teaching, regular U3A courses, music examinations, master classes and public lectures. Since 2005 the Centre has organised four national ecumenical church music seminars and courses involving in total 550 people from around Australia. Nearly all these events were held in the Music Room of the Centre. Organ concerts and large scale choral events took place in Wesley Church which also has excellent acoustics.
An increasingly popular activity at the Centre is the regular Wednesday Lunchtime Live concert series which runs for an average of 45 weeks every year from February to December. The 40-minute concerts are from 12.40pm to 1.20pm and they feature a great variety of performers, including talented students from the ANU School of Music, Wesley Scholars, students from secondary schools and private music studios, professional musicians, artists in musical shows and visiting internationals. The growing audience includes people bussed from retirement villages, workers in nearby offices, colleagues and friends of artists and a diversity of people from the community at large.
A number of joint ventures have been organised with community associations, including the Canberra Classical Guitar Society, the Carillon Society of Australia (awards for young composers), Harp Centre Australia and The Canberra String Festival. The Music Centre also supports fund raisings for charities and students in need of financial support for various purposes, including attending seminars and overseas studies.