After many years of artistic and organizational growth through the 60s, 70s and 80s, the 1990s proved to be a challenging decade for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. The organization was forced to shut down in 1996 due to these challenges, leaving our community and musicians without a professional orchestra. Fortunately, thanks to the incredible community in Hamilton, the shutdown did not last long and the HPO re-emerged on a more sustainable path that continues to this day. There were a few key players working behind the scenes after the shutdown to revive orchestral music in our city, one of whom was Gordon Bullock.
Bullock, a long-time Hamilton resident, is known for his tenure at the Hamilton Spectator with titles ranging from reporter to publisher before his retirement in 1994. An active community member, Bullock gave his time and expertise to many organizations, including the HPO as a board member in the mid-1970s. When the organization was forced to close, Bullock is one of the people who stepped in to save it. Through community organizing with other Hamiltonians including Sam Taylor, Bullock was able to rally the necessary support to revive Hamilton’s professional orchestra.
Bullock was no stranger to community organizing. Years before stepping in at the HPO, Bullock was part of a community team that saved the Tiger-Cats from extinction in the early 1990s when low ticket sales threatened their future. Throughout his life, Bullock also volunteered time with the YWCA, McMaster University and numerous City of Hamilton committees and initiatives. Bullock was inducted into the Hamilton Public Library’s Gallery of Distinction in 2000 for his contributions to the community.
Today, more than four decades after initially serving on the HPO Board of Directors, Bullock is still an active patron and a member of our Ambassadors Council. Bullock continues to be a staunch advocate for the arts in Hamilton and making our community a great place to live. His passion for civic engagement and community building are truly astounding and we are grateful to call him an HPO patron.