October 12, 2023 – The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra is committed to supporting educators and students through its educational programming. This year, that strong commitment to investing in future musicians and music appreciators continues with new and expanded education programming. 

The HPO is proud to highlight its commitment to education by announcing this season’s  Adopt-A-Schools, Fall School Concert Tour and Educational Concert. 


The HPO is proud to announce Prince of Wales Elementary School and Bernie Custis Secondary School as this year’s Adopt-A-School participants. The program includes a wide variety of educational experiences with HPO musicians and staff, such as musician visits to the school, an in-school concert, composition workshops, and a visit to FirstOntario Concert Hall for either a rehearsal experience or tickets to our educational concert, and more! 

“The Bernie Custis Music Department is excited and honoured to have been chosen for the Adopt-A-School program this year,” says Alecia Blackman, Head of Music at Bernie Custis Secondary School. “Bernie Custis firmly believes in the pride and excellence that can be achieved at a community school, and this partnership absolutely promotes our goal of celebrating community music making. Our students are thrilled to work with the HPO’s musicians and look forward to using their expertise on our continuous journey towards musical excellence.”   

“Prince of Wales’ music program always strives to offer an enriched learning experience for grades 1-8,” says Caroline Carrington, music teacher at Prince of Wales. “We look forward to the immersive and engaging first-hand experience of working with professional musicians from our own community.”  

HPO’s Adopt-A-School program has offered extensive free programming to eight HWDSB schools since its inception in 2016. This year, the HPO has increased the program by offering it to both Elementary and Secondary schools. With 16 applicants to this year’s program, it is clear that schools are in need of support for music programming more than ever. If you would like to sponsor one of our Adopt-A-Schools, please contact our Director of Donor Experience Lorna Zaremba at lzaremba@hpo.org

School Tour 

From October 27 to November 7, thousands of students across Hamilton will go home and tell their families about the HPO concert they saw at school! In collaboration with the HWDSB, our Brass Quintet and Woodwind Quintet will tour all 13 of the board’s secondary schools presenting a program of dance music from various cultures and eras. These secondary schools will also be inviting grade 7 and 8 students from their feeder elementary schools to join them for the concert. Our 23-24 HPO School Tour will reach over 3,000 HWDSB students during those 2 weeks. Special thanks go to the title sponsor for this new program, the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild, for their support through the Music Performance Trust Fund. 

“I’ve long been an advocate of the value of educational programs such as this going back to the sixth grade when The Canadian Brass played at my school,” says Hamilton Musicians’ Guild President Larry Feudo. “Programs like this are vital to the cultural enrichment of young people which is probably more important today than ever before, and we are pleased to fund this wonderful project and look forward to more in the near future.” 

Educational Concert 

On the morning of December 8, hundreds of Hamilton and Burlington-based students will come together at FirstOntario Concert Hall to attend this year’s Educational Concert, The Hockey Sweater. Composed by the HPO’s very own Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson Schulte, and based on the iconic book by the same name written by Roch Carrier and illustrated by Sheldon Cohen, The Hockey Sweater has thrilled and entertained countless orchestra audiences of all ages across the country since its premiere in 2012. Several other winter-themed works fill out the program, all with a focus on music as an invaluable tool for storytelling. This educational concert will also be made available to Hamilton’s homeschooling community, who can obtain tickets by contacting our Music Education Manager Megan Benjafield at mbenjafield@hpo.org

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About the HPO: For over a century, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has presented orchestral music and education programs with a mission to enrich the wellbeing of the greater Hamilton region. Music Director Gemma New and the professional musicians of the HPO present dynamic orchestral performances ranging from standard classical repertoire to popular music and world premieres by living composers. As one of Canada’s leading professional orchestras, the HPO has proudly contributed to the shaping of Hamilton’s cultural landscape and continues to uphold values of high calibre, inclusive and accessible orchestral music and education for all. 

Media Contacts: 

Varinder Nandhra 
Marketing and Communications Manager 
Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra 
905.526.1677 x 205 
Megan Benjafield 
Music Education and HPYO Manager 
Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra 
905.526.1677 x 203