For their first date in the early 1970s, Alan Clark took his future wife Marlies to a performance by the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. in the following decades, the couple would become some of the HPO’s most dedicated supporters.   

By the time they were married in 1975, Alan and Marlies were a regular presence at HPO concerts and events. Marlies started as an active member of the HPO Women’s Committee, an essential arm of the HPO in the 1960s and 70s which was responsible for countless outreach, social and fundraising activities. 

Marilies Clark in the Hamilton Spectator, 1984

In the 1980s, the Women’s Committee evolved into the HPO Guild. Independent of the orchestra itself, the HPO Guild was a dedicated group of volunteers working on outreach and fundraising. Marlies was the first Vice President of the guild and went on to serve as President and Past President. As Guild volunteers, Alan and Marlies were known for their leadership and commitment, both organizing many successful fundraising events. They could often be found furiously preparing food and drinks for cabaret-style HPO fundraisers frequently held at the Royal Botanical Gardens, which happened to be right next door to the Clark’s home.  

The cover of the brochure for the 1982 Decorator Showcase fundraiser

One of the Clark’s most memorable contributions to the HPO was their involvement in organizing the 1982 Decorator Showcase. Patrons bought tickets to tour a “dream home” in a new development in Waterdown built by Branthaven Homes Ltd. The home featured new luxuries of the time like a microwave, dishwasher and central vacuum as well as high-end furnishings from the local store, Pattersons. The house was open for viewing for 24 days with special events like coffee houses, decorating seminars and even a microwave demonstration! Marlies was instrumental in making this special fundraiser happen.  

Decades after their first date at the HPO, Alan and Marlies Clark continue to support the HPO as patrons, donors and advisors. They are true champions of the arts in Hamilton and we are incredibly grateful to have their support.