November 9, 2023The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) is delighted to present our annual tradition full of festive favourites, this season’s holiday concert at 3pm on Saturday, December 9 at FirstOntario Concert Hall: Holidays & The Hockey Sweater! We are thrilled to have the Hamilton Children’s Choir members and Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra musicians joining us once again this year as guest artists to perform joyful classics and touching choral gems. We are also excited to present The Hockey Sweater by HPO Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte, based on the beloved children’s book by Roch Carrier. Carrier’s text will be narrated by CBC Broadcaster Tom Allen and brought to life on stage by the original illustrations by Sheldon Cohen. 

“As many of you know, I love telling stories!” says Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte. “In this work, I attempt to turn the concert hall into a hockey rink through my own music with The Hockey Sweater. The orchestra always does such a fabulous job of bringing this work to life and I can’t wait to hear CBC broadcaster Tom Allen take on the role of the narrator.” 

HPO musicians sharing the stage with members of the Hamilton Children’s Choir (HCC) and Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (HPYO) warms the hearts of our holiday concert audiences year after year. The HCC will perform pieces including Jingle Bell Swing!, Canadian Christmas by Suresh Singaratnam, Snow Angel by Sarah Quartel, and John Williams’ Somewhere in my Memory from Home Alone. The HPYO plays alongside the HPO in festive favourites like Sleigh Ride, Selections from The Nutcracker and more. The HCC, the HPYO and the audience will all participate in our concert’s grand finale, A Holly and Jolly Sing-Along! 

We welcome guest conductor Kalena Bovell as this concert’s guest conductor. Having recently led the Chineke! Orchestra in her BBC Proms debut, Bovell’s twin focus on musical excellence and community engagement led to Connecticut’s Channel 3 News praising her as “one of the brightest stars in the world of classical music.” Now with the MSO full time as its Assistant Conductor, Bovell also leads the Memphis Youth Symphony. Among other accolades, she was previously named a finalist for the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship, a recognition given to talented female leaders in the conducting field. 

Audience members are invited to bring a non-perishable food item to contribute to Core Entertainment’s food drive in the FirstOntario Concert Hall lobby. Adult tickets start at $35, senior tickets start at $30 and youth tickets are just $20 (all prices indicated do not include taxes and fees). Subscriptions packages are also available. Visit for tickets and information. 

Holidays & The Hockey Sweater – Matinee 
December 9, 2023 at 7:30pm  

Kalena Bovell, Conductor 
Tom Allen, Narrator 
Hamilton Children’s Choir, Guest Artists 
Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Guest Artists 

An iconic Canadian story comes to the concert hall this holiday! The Hockey Sweater by Abigail Richardson-Schulte brings Roch Carrier’s beloved story to life*. Sing along to festive favourites performed with the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Hamilton Children’s Choir. 

*We thank Sheldon Cohen for allowing the HPO to share his original illustrations from The Hockey Sweater


  • Johann Sebastian Bach, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring 
  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Christmas Overture 
  • Christopher Eastburn (Arranger), Jingle Bell Swing! 
  • Suresh Singaratnam, Canadian Christmas 
  • Sarah Quartel, Snow Angel 

III. God will give orders/ IV. Sweet Child

  • Emile Waldteufel, Skaters Waltz 
  • Leroy Anderson, Sleigh Ride 
  • Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Selections from The Nutcracker 


  • Abigail Richardson-Schulte, The Hockey Sweater 
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Dance of the Tumblers 
  • John Williams, Somewhere in my Memory 
  • James M. Stephenson, A Holly and Jolly Sing-Along! 

X: @H_P_O 
Instagram: @HamiltonPhilharmonic 

About Hamilton Children’s Choir: Hamilton Children’s Choir is committed to providing children and youth with rich musical education and performance opportunities, creating a sense of belonging, nurturing personal growth, and experiencing the benefits of community. Now in their 49th season, HCC has seen thousands of children and youth participate in the choir. HCC is proud to be one of the most sought-after choirs invited to perform locally, nationally, and internationally. HCC offers six progressive choral music education programs that are currently enjoyed by over 200 young singers between the ages of 18 months and 24 years. Under the artistic leadership of Melanie Tellez and her team of superb artistic staff, HCC is dedicated to exploring fresh approaches to choral music that reduce barriers, strengthen the choral art form, and demonstrate that artists come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Today’s performance will feature our touring ensemble, Ilumini, led by our Artistic Director Melanie Tellez and accompanied by collaborative pianist, Laura Pin. 

About Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra: The Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra consists musicians ranging in age from 12 to 24. These musicians are divided into two ensembles, the Concert Orchestra, for intermediate players who are new to orchestral playing, and the Philharmonic Orchestra, for advanced players with orchestral experience. In addition to rehearsing challenging orchestral repertoire, musicians receive regular coaching and mentoring from the professional musicians of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. The HPYO, currently led by Music Director David Willms, presents three concerts per season, with each full-length performance featuring different orchestral repertoire. 

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