Hamilton, ON – The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) celebrates Canadian icon and Hamilton native Ian Thomas in A Life in Song: Ian Thomas and the HPO on Saturday, October 17 at 7:30pm. This world premiere of Thomas’s work with live orchestra features hits like Painted Ladies, Long Long Way, Pilot, Hold on and Right Before your Eyes.

Thomas began his career as a member of the rock band Tranquility Base, the pop group-in-residence with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra from 1970 to 1971. His debut album, Ian Thomas, included the 1973 hit Painted Ladies, which was popular in Canada and the United States. Over the years he has acquired a Juno award, four SOCAN classic awards, a UNICEF Danny Kaye Humanitarian award, Juno and Gemini nominations and 15 albums. Thomas’s songs have found international success with many artists including Santana, America, Chicago, Bette Midler and Ann Murray. He is also founder of the internationally acclaimed group The Boomers.

Thomas has a soft spot for the orchestra as evident in songs like Pilot, Long Long Way and many album tracks over the years. His latest project, A Life in Song, is an album recorded with a full 60-piece orchestra and the HPO is thrilled to be the first to perform Thomas’s work live on October 17. Thomas stresses that the HPO will be much more than a backdrop for his band, with many early hits having been rearranged for the orchestra. Thomas says, “Returning to FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place) on October 17 is really a full circle for me and the HPO. I debuted Long Long Way, my second Album in May of 1974 with 40 members from the HPO and I am debuting the material for my next album A Life in Song on the same stage with the HPO. Love it.”

Thomas is joined onstage by composer and saxophonist Darcy Hepner, who leads the HPO as conductor in this debut concert. A native of Hamilton, Hepner has performed with a multitude of legendary performers including BB King, Aretha Franklin, Sergio Mendes and Henry Mancini, and toured internationally with Blood, Sweat & Tears, Buster Poindexter and Artie Shaw. He was the Founding Department Head of the Selkirk College Music Program in Nelson, British Columbia and a full-time faculty member at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 2005, Hepner returned to his hometown and today can be found teaching Ensembles, Ear Training, and Arranging at Mohawk College.

A Life in Song: Ian Thomas and the HPO offers audiences a rich cross section of Thomas’s life as a singer-songwriter from the 1970s until today, and the sounds of the HPO shine in this premiere of his work with live orchestra.

Ticket Information

Single tickets for A Life in Song: Ian Thomas and the HPO are $23 to $67 (plus applicable taxes and fees) and are available online at staginghpo.wpengine.com, by calling 905.526.7756 or in person at the HPO Box Office in FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place) at 10 MacNab Street South or FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place) Box Office the evening of the concert.

Special hpoGO tickets for the under 35 crowd are $17 (plus applicable taxes and fees) and can be purchased online, over the phone, or in person.  To receive special discounts and invitations to special events, under 35 patrons can sign up online at staginghpo.wpengine.com.

HPO at the Library

In partnership with the Hamilton Public Library, this FREE program features HPO musicians and guest artists in an intimate community setting. Join us to learn more about our upcoming concert A Life in Song: Ian Thomas and the HPO.

Friday, October 16, 12:45 to 1:30pm
Central Branch, Hamilton Public Library (55 York Blvd.)

Reserve your Table before the Concert

The Dinner and a Concert package offers guests a fabulous three course, prix-fixe dinner at one of Hamilton’s local restaurants, followed by an evening of great music with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Each restaurant is conveniently located within half a kilometre from FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place) with public parking nearby. Call the HPO Box Office at 905.526.7756 to reserve your table.

Incognito Restaurant & Wine Bar – $65
93 John St. S                 

The Hamilton Club – $85
6 Main St. E


Media Contact: Diana Weir, Director of Communications and Development
| Tel: 905.526.1677 x230 | Email: dweir@hpo.org
The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1884 as The Hamilton Orchestral Society and grew to become one of Canada’s major professional orchestras. Today, the HPO is a leader in Hamilton’s robust arts community where it provides professional orchestral services and music education programs to address the needs of the community. The HPO continues to commission and premiere works and is one of the artistic jewels of the Hamilton area. The combined musical talents of its artists continue to enrich the community and enhance the quality of life for its residents.