November 11, 2016 by Bud Roach

    David Fallis (Artistic Director, The Toronto Consort; Music Director, Opera Atelier) in conversation with HAC Board member and Hammer Baroque Artistic Director Bud Roach. November 7th, 2016.
    The Toronto Consort will present ``The Italian Queen of France`` at Hammer Baroque on Sunday, November 13th, 2016, 4pm.

  • Interview with Recordist Alison Melville

    September 30, 2016 by Bud Roach

    This week, Hamilton Arts Council Board member and Hammer Baroque Artistic Director Bud Roach presents the second installment of his new blog video series. This second in-depth conversation features Alison Melville (recorder - Tafelmusik, Toronto Consort) who performs in Hammer Baroque concerts on October 8th (ACTA Recorder Quartet) and November 13th (Toronto Consort).


  • Interview with Cellist Alex Grant

    September 22, 2016 by Bud Roach

    This week, Hamilton Arts Council Board member Bud Roach begins a new video blog series featuring in-depth conversations with members of the arts community. New Arts Council member Alex Grant, cellist at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-On-The-Lake, talks about what attracted him to Hamilton, working at the Shaw Festival, and his favourite moments in the current Shaw production of Sweeney Todd, on stage until October 19th.

  • A Labour of Love

    September 1, 2016 by 5 at the First ...

    Rachel Mercer is Artistic Director of the 5 at the First Chamber Music Series. She joined the National Arts Centre Orchestra as Associate Principal Cello in January 2016 and is a member of the Mercer-Park Duo and Ensemble Made In Canada. She plays the 1730 Newland Celoniatus Cello graciously on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank. Find her at or Follow 5 at the First on Facebook and Twitter @5attheFirst.

    The church sanctuary is filling up as the last audience members take their seats. There is a hum in the air as people chat in low voices, about their day or in anticipation of the concert they are about to hear. Suddenly the house lights dim a bit, the stage lights brighten and there is a hush; a side door opens and in walk the musicians, smiling, with a spring in their step, and ready to give all they can in the couple of hours they share with this audience.

    Audiences at the Oct 2015 concert. Photo by 5 at the First

    This moment, that lasts to the final applause at the end of the concert, is the moment  when the concert presenters finally get to enjoy the fruit of their endless labour. I never realized until I began presenting a series how much goes on behind the scenes to enable those two hours of wonderful music. As a performer, while we communicate for years before the concert about details of programming, fees and travel, the real ground work is being done even earlier with board meetings, fundraising, grant writing, venue booking, programming, fundraising, scheduling, negotiating, promoting, fundraising is a complete labour of love and we performers are so lucky there are those amazing people who love and believe in live music so deeply that they are willing to sacrifice time and financial gain to enable these moments.

    Payadora Tango Ensemble in Nov 2015. Photo by 5 at the First

    While I would never compare myself to these special people, at 5 at the First, my colleague Michele Corbeil and I are the worker bees; me covering the programming, booking, grant writing and financial side, and Michele pounding the pavement with flyers and posters and reaching out to the community for sponsors and volunteers, while being in charge of everything behind the scenes on the concert day. There is always more to do; promotion, finding more money, making sure the artists are taken care of, but that hectic buzz of activity is suspended from the moment the lights go down to the final applause. As a performer, during the concert there are those transporting moments where everything aligns and you lose your self and are just at one with the music, the other musicians and the audience, and time stops; it's an addictive high that feeds our need to perform. But it's another kind of reward, softening and heart-warming, when you sit in the audience and see their smiles, see the heads bobbing, hear your amazing colleagues on stage, hear the audience appreciation in applause and words afterward, knowing that you took part in making it happen.

    5 at the First Artistic Director Rachel Mercer. Photo by Nikki Wesley

    5 at the First's opening concert features String Extravaganza VI - the return of our audience's favourite string group - in a concert of duos, then all six musicians together for Erich Korngold's gem of a Sextet. Korngold has a large body of work, but is most well-known for his film composition, including the score for Errol Flynn's Robin Hood. The rest of the 2016-17 season features players from across Ontario in programs of beloved and rarely-performed music, including Schubert, Haydn, Vaughan-Williams, Rossini, Canadian works, and an all-original jazz concert of Darren Sigesmund's Strands Ensemble. 5 at the First is grateful for support from the Ontario Arts Council and individual donors.

    *Banner Image: Rachel Mercer [Photo: David Leyes]

  • Job Posting: Operations Officer (Parental Leave)

    July 28, 2016 by Stephanie Vegh

    The Hamilton Arts Council is seeking qualified applicants for the limited term position of Operations Officer. This is a temporary 16-week parental leave coverage position commencing Tuesday September 6, 2016 and ending Friday December 23, 2016.

    The Operations Officer of the Hamilton Arts Council is responsible for supporting the Executive Director in the implementation and communication of the vital role of arts and culture in Hamilton region. Over the term of this contract, this position will provide leadership on several key initiatives including Culture Guide distributions, Culture Days, the 23rd Hamilton Literary Awards, and our annual Holiday Party. The successful candidate will have a strong arts administrative background, experience in arts and cultural programming, and a demonstrated commitment to the local arts community.

    The Operations Officer will work on site in the Hamilton Arts Council office and at Hamilton-area arts venues for meetings and events as required. The successful candidate will work both independently and in collaboration with Hamilton Arts Council staff, Board directors and volunteers.


    • Manage content and distributions for the Hamilton Arts Council’s various communications platforms including website, e-newsletters and social media
    • Support the distribution of the 2016-2017 Culture Guide at Supercrawl and via regional deliveries to advertisers, arts organizations and distribution partners
    • Promote widespread participation in Culture Days 2016 activities in partnership with the Culture Days Community Task Force and local partners
    • Lead the successful delivery of the Hamilton Literary Awards event in partnership with our Literary Arts Committee including sponsorships, event planning and promotions
    • Coordinate the annual Member Holiday Party in partnership with our Membership Committee
    • Support the Executive Director with office and administrative tasks as assigned


    • Previous experience in arts administration and/or artist-run culture
    • Excellent written and oral communication skills with well-developed organizational skills and attention to detail
    • Ability to work independently and lead projects with strong personal initiative while remaining open to collaboration and feedback
    • High level of computer proficiency with Google Drive and Apps, Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat and Photoshop; experience with Mac OS and Hootsuite would be considered an asset
    • Demonstrated engagement and experience in Hamilton’s arts community
    • Valid Ontario Class G driver’s license and access to a vehicle would be considered an asset

    The Operations Officer (parental leave coverage) will work 30 hours a week at a rate of $16/hour with specific hours to be determined in consultation with the Executive Director; occasional evening and weekend hours are to be to be expected with this position and will be compensated with time off in lieu.

    Applicants are asked to submit a cover letter, current resume and contact information for two references as a Word or PDF file attachment no later than Friday August 12, 2016 at 4:00pm. Email your application to with the subject line “Operations Officer.”

    The Hamilton Arts Council is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from all qualified candidates.

    Please feel free to download this job posting in PDF form to share with your colleagues.