Celebrate 40 years

We are turning 40 and we’re celebrating with you.

Find out more

Music Matters: Free Concert for School Kids

Help our local youth discover the magic of choral singing!
Donate now

All Together Now - HCC Alumni Reunion Breakfast

Get together and exchange fond HCC stories over coffee and scones!

Free event for alumni

70s Karaoke Night

Come enjoy classical 70s tunes!
Buy tickets

Can you feel it?

40th anniversary concert

Saturday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m.

The Great Hall, Hamilton Place, 1 Summers Lane, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y2

Music connects us, transcending age and boundaries. In addition to the family of HCC choirs, this inspirational performance showcases internationally acclaimed Finnish a cappella group Rajaton and cutting edge percussion quartet, TorQ.

Music is a universal language and one of the most personal forms of expression. We invite you to share with us and join in our 40th anniversary celebration.

Hamilton Place box office numbers:
General Info Line: 905.546.3050
Accessible Seating: 905.546.3050

1 Summers Lane,
Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y2

For choir families:

Special rate: $15 (HST +$2.57 Hamilton Place capital improvement fee included). Additional ticket prices for family members of choristers.

Purchase during rehearsal. Click here for more information.

Call 905-527-1618

Email info@hamiltonchildrenschoir.com

Pick up 252 James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2L3

Back our crowdfunding campaign!

Sign up to receive updates on the 40th anniversary


Guest artist


Rajaton is a Finnish a cappella ensemble, founded in Helsinki in 1997. The Finnish word Rajaton translates as “boundless” – a word that so accurately describes the way this six-voice a cappella ensemble approaches music. Regularly performing around a hundred concerts and workshops each year, Rajaton exposes their audiences to the kind of diversity of repertoire, singing style, and stage presentation that has made them a phenomenon on the world stage.



TorqTorQ Percussion Quartet

Canada’s premiere percussion ensemble, TorQ Percussion Quartet continues to bring new vitality to percussion repertoire and performance in every situation and opportunity. Renowned for their engaging performances, members Richard Burrows, Adam Campbell, Jamie Drake, and Daniel Morphy are committed to making percussion music accessible to audiences that span generations and as The Toronto Star states “[TorQ] can stand proud among the growing throng of chamber percussion ensembles around the world.”

All Together Now

Alumni Reunion Breakfast

May 30 at 9 a.m.
Christ’s Church Cathedral (the home of the Hamilton Children’s Choir)
252 James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2L3

From artists to teachers to engineers to accountants, HCC alumni have gone on to various paths in their professional and personal lives. Featuring founding conductor Donald Kendrick, the reunion brings together HCC alumni throughout the years for one unique celebration of friendships united by music. Get together and exchange fond HCC stories over coffee and scones!

Greetings by the Mayor of Hamilton, Fred Eisenberger. Thank you to Detour Cafe for sponsoring our breakfast!

Alumni are advised to register to secure a spot for the breakfast.

Want to connect with your fellow HCC alumni? Email Gillian at gilliannicolamusic@gmail.com to be added to the HCC Alumni closed Facebook group!

Eventbrite - All Together Now - HCC Alumni Reunion Breakfast

Music Matters: Karaoke Night

8 p.m. Friday, May 29 *Doors open 7:30 p.m.*

Mills Hardware, 95 King Street East

Come enjoy classical 70s tunes!

Live band: Gillian Nicola & The Radio Interference
Raffle, snacks and more! Featuring alumni, artistic staff and friends of the Hamilton Children’s Choir.
19+ event. Bell bottoms welcome!
A fundraiser in support of the Hamilton Children’s Choir’s Financial Award Program.

Eventbrite - Music Matters: Karaoke Night Or call 905 527 1618 to purchase

Music Matters: Free school concert

Friday, May 29 at 12:30 p.m., Hamilton Place

Your chance to watch how our 40th anniversary concert comes to life – it is a backstage pass to the HCC performance experience, complete with our roster of guest artists and an interactive vocal session between the audience and choir.


Meet HCC alumni: Gillian Alexander

Gillian is a glue that brings together our Hamilton Children’s Choir alumni as we celebrate our 40-year milestone! She was with the choir for nine years. We’re so fortunate and thrilled to have her back and continue to be a part of the HCC.

Meet HCC alumni: Chelsea Kolic

Alumna Chelsea Kolic was a part of the Hamilton Children’s Choir for a decade. She’ll be completing a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice Performance at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec in the fall

Letter from HCC alumna Ardra Shephard

The ways in which my years as part of the HCC have affected my life and who I am today are too manifold to count. HCC was the most influential experience of my teenage years and I am incredibly grateful for it.

Meet HCC alumni: Katerina Gimon

Hamilton Children’s Choir’s Ilumini choristers will remember singing “Dream a Dream.” Alumna Katerina Gimon has a heart-warming story about how and why that song holds a special place in her heart.

‘This must be what Heaven sounds like’

For many years, almost a quarter of a century, I was music critic of the Hamilton Spectator. What a privilege it was to be immersed in the musical life of Hamilton.   Pianist Valerie Tryon, and flutist Suzanne Shulman, performed at the highest international level. The sometimes controversial Boris Brott, who with his original ideas, took the Hamilton Philharmonic into the steel mills and schools, malls and meeting places of this city and the charming genius Daniel Lipton who transformed Opera Hamilton into an internationally renowned company. These and many other incredibly talented people, made my job a truly marvelous experience. One of the chiefest joys was the Hamilton Children’s Choir. The seeds of its existence go back beyond the present celebrations of a mere 40 years to the all-male boy-treble-topped choir of yore in Christ’s Church Cathedral in imitation of the Anglican musical tradition. For sometime the HCC, as it became, was the purview of the organist of Christ’s Church and could sometimes get on my nerves with its too slavish copying of the Cathedral style.   One such occasion I can vividly remember, had the HCC as a tiny group of tiny choristers piping away almost inaudibly in the aisle of Central Presbyterian Church, stifled, it seemed to me, of all joy and spontaneity. That, and the sometimes unnecessary stiffness of discipline, made me sad. An example of that was the little chorister, who had starred as the Queen of the Night in Dawn Martens’ Buchanan Park Elementary School Opera Club’s memorable production of The Magic Little Piccolo by Wolferl Mozart. Hers was rip-roaring, tour-de-force of a performance that had Lipton floored with admiration as she hit every high F in her aria...

Meet HCC alumni: Meghan Quinlan

Alumna Meghan Quinlan’s first experience with the Hamilton Children’s Choir dated back to 1997. She went from being a chorister to a conductor before moving to Oslo to study conducting.

Meet HCC alumni: Alyssa LeClair

Alumna Alyssa LeClair is reaching another significant milestone in her musical career. This week, she’s graduating from New York University with a masters of music specializing in musical theatre. Alyssa talks about how the Hamilton Children’s Choir gave her a voice, contributing to her personal and professional growth.

Meet HCC alumni: Zachary Windus

Alumnus Zachary Windus started singing at the Hamilton Children’s Choir in first soprano at the age of eleven. He sang with the HCC for four years from 1994 to 1998. He has never stopped pursuing his love for music.

Artistic team

Zimfira Poloz - Artistic Director


_DSC1291Zimfira Poloz is a highly respected conductor, educator and adjudicator with a distinguished international reputation. She has been decorated with numerous awards in her long career, including the Honoured Representative of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan Award, the city of Hamilton’s V.I.P. Award, and the Leslie Bell Prize Award for Choral Conducting from the Ontario Art Council . She is invited regularly to serve as clinician for festivals, lead workshops for educators, and jury International Choir Competitions, including the renowned Choir Olympics. Zimfira first established her musical credentials in Kazakhstan, founding the country’s first Choir School. The school provided an outstanding music program that grew to employ 35 music teachers with an enrollment of 450 children. In addition to her duties as Principal of the school, she also served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the school’s Concert Choir, “Koktem”. It was through her strong leadership, vision and musical expertise that “Koktem” attained top international choral status and was a recurring prize-winner in choral competitions and festivals around the world.

Immediately upon her arrival to Canada, Zimfira’s boundless energy and her passion for choral music found an outlet, first as a member of the Toronto Children’s Chorus Artistic Staff and later as vocal coach at St. Michael’s Choir School. At present, Zimfira is the Artistic Director for both the Hamilton Children’s Choir and the High Park Choirs of Toronto. She has enjoyed the recognition earned at national and international festivals/competitions with both choirs.

As a leader in her field, Zimfira has been awarded the Audience Choice Award & 2nd Place at the Tolosa Choral Competition in Spain (2006), won the CBC Radio National Choral Competition in both the Children’s Category and Best Canadian Performance by a Children/Youth Choir (2008), earned the Cantabile ‘Grand Prize’ Award for best performing choir at the CBC Radio National Choral Gala Competition in Quebec (2008), obtained the Grand Prize Award at the World Choral Singing Competition (2009) and was awarded first place in the Children’s Category at the 2009 “Let the People Sing’ Euroradio Choral Competition in Oslo, Norway. In addition to her global travels as clinician and conductor, Zimfira still continues to teach, lecturing on ‘Vocal Pedagogy for Young Choirs’ at the University of Toronto. She now makes her family home in Toronto, and she continues to work tirelessly with educators and children alike in the pursuit of music excellence.

Melanie Tellez – Assistant Artistic Director; Conductor, Esprimas Choir

_ND33807Melanie Tellez brings an active, energized approach to choral leadership. An experienced conductor, clinician and pedagogue, Melanie holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice and Choral Conducting from Dalhousie University and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Alberta. Melanie currently directs the Early Education Music Programme at Hillfield Strathallan College and has been a conductor with the Hamilton Children’s Choir since 2010.A finalist in the 2012 Sir Ernest MacMillan Foundation Award in Choral Conducting, Melanie is an emerging leader in Canada’s choral community. Past engagements include: Toronto Children’s Chorus, High Park Choirs of Toronto, Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir, Sherwood Park Festival Singers, and The King’s University College Concert Choir.

Diane Murray-Charrett – Conductor, Esplori choir

Diane-H-Factor_edited-resizedDiane Murray-Charrett is thrilled to bring her passion for working with children’s voices to the Hamilton Children’s Choir Artistic team. She holds a Master of Music Education from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Music Education from Brandon University, and Orff Certification from the University of Manitoba. Her conducting training includes study with Dr. Rodney Eichenberger and Dr. Doreen Rao, as well as masterclass sessions with Diane Loomer and Dr. Anton Armstrong. Originally from the prairies, Diane relocated to the Halton region in 2006 after a number of years leading community and school vocal music programs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She has spent a large part of the past 22 years working with award winning choral groups and vocalists of all ages.Diane is the founding conductor of the Gaudeamus Choirs of Halton Hills, and a Music Specialist in the Halton District School Board, where she conducted the Regional Elementary Mass choir for the board’s annual ‘Showcase’ concert in 2010 and 2011. Diane enjoys supporting the wider choral community through work as a board member for Choirs Ontario, and as a frequent workshop presenter in the areas of Choral Music Education and Music Curriculum.

Janice Courtemanche – Conductor, KinderSing choir

_ND33791Janice Courtemanche has a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the University of Western Ontario, a teaching certificate from Althouse College, Associate Level in piano and won a silver medal for the highest mark in Ontario in her Grade 8 voice exam. She taught elementary music for the Hamilton School Board for 32 years, during which time she led many award-winning children’s choirs. She has been a member of the John Laing Singers since 1993 and before that was a chorister in the Bach-Elgar Choir. She also sings in the Central Presbyterian Church choir with Paul Grimwood, organist and choir director.She is thrilled to be a part of the prestigious Hamilton Children’s Choir organization.

Emily Taub - Conductor, Komenci and KinderSing choirs

DSC_2572BW-croppedAn alumna of the Hamilton Children’s Choir herself, Emily is very honored to have a place on the artistic team this season. Whilst completing her degree in Voice at McMaster University, Emily had the privilegen of not only participating in its concert and chamber choirs, both as a chorister and soloist, but as well, leading the concert choir as assistant conductor to Rachel Rensink-Hoff.

Emily also had the pleasure of vocal directing several musicals during her studies with McMaster Musical Theatre and continues to provide vocal instruction when required. Emily took to directing so fondly that by the fall of 2011 she had co-created, directed and composed for the very first show choir ensemble at the university. Absolute Pitch still thrives today and Emily continues to provide workshops on her a cappella arrangements throughout their season.

Choir has given Emily so many opportunities and knowledge, providing her the chance to travel worldwide and experience workshops encompassing the global conducting community. A student of Tom Schilling and the “vocalway studio”, Emily continues to pursue excellence in classical voice. Through knowledge gained in choral and solo opportunities, Emily has developed a music studio teaching piano, voice and theory of her own in Hamilton’s west end.

André Heywood - Conductor, Lads & Gents

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERABorn in Trinidad, André-Louis Heywood grew up and studied in London, Ontario earning undergraduate degrees in both Biochemistry and Music Education, and a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from The University of Western Ontario. A former chorister of the Amabile Boys’ and Men’s Choirs, André served as the group’s assistant conductor for two years before moving to Minnesota in 2007 to become Artistic Director of The St. John’s Boys’ Choir. While stationed at Saint John’s, André also served as a faculty member in the Music Department at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, directing two choirs and teaching graduate conducting. He also directed the liturgical music program at Saint John’s Preparatory School, conducted the Saint John’s Abbey Schola (monastic choir), and served on the faculty of the VoiceCare Network.

A specialist in working with developing young male voices, André has served as Boychoir Repertoire & Standards Chair for the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA) at both the state and division levels. He is a highly sought-after clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor, being selected to direct many honor choirs, most recently the 2013 ACDA-Minnesota Boys’ Honor Choir and the 2014 Ontario Music Educators’ Association Honour Choir. He has twice been awarded by ACDA-Minnesota – in 2011 with the VocalEssence Creative Programming Award, and in 2013 as the Outstanding Young Choral Director of the Year.

André is currently on sabbatical at the University of Toronto where he studies with Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and directs the University of Toronto Men’s Chorus. His return to Canada has been very active, also acting as Interim Junior Choir Conductor at St. Michael’s Choir School, serving on the board of Choirs Ontario, and piloting Lads & Gents – the new boys’ and men’s choir program of the Hamilton Children’s Choir.

Laura Pin – Accompanist, Esprimas and Ilumini choirs


_DSC1288Laura Pin has worked extensively as a collaborative pianist playing with many talented soloists and choirs including Maureen Forrester, Kevin McMillan, the Amabile Youth Singers, Faculty of Music Singers (U.W.O.), Vox Nouveau, Burlington Civic Chorale, and the Brenda Uchimaru Singers. As a choral accompanist she has toured in Europe, the United States, and across Canada. Laura has completed music studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts and The University of Western Ontario where she studied with Arthur Rowe and was awarded the Alumni Gold Medal. She also holds an Associate of Music in piano performance from the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music.Laura’s collaborative performances and recordings have often received glowing reviews: “Laura Pin must be one of the most accomplished accompanists in Canada” (Hugh Fraser—The Hamilton Spectator); “The [Amabile] recording features sensitive piano accompaniment by Laura [Pin]” (Shelly Lawson—The London Free Press) Currently Laura plays with the Harlequin Singers, the Ambassadors Christian Male Chorus, the Pro Musica Choir, and the Hamilton Children’s Concert Choir. She maintains a successful music studio and is in high demand as a teacher, vocal coach and accompanist.

Brent Fifield – Accompanist, Esprimas and Ilumini choirs

DSC_2563BW-cropped-2A dynamic musician, Brent Fifield enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, teacher, singer, conductor, accompanist, and choral clinician. ‘Born and raised’ in St. John’s, NL, he was surrounded by music from an early age. In 1993 he moved to London, ON, to study at Western University (BMus, BEd) and went on to pursue a MMus in Organ Performance at the University of Toronto. He has performed recitals across Canada, a number of which have been broadcast on CBC, and has performed in numerous cathedrals in the UK while accompanying visiting choirs on tour. He has taught elementary and secondary school music to all grades in Nova Scotia and Ontario, and is currently an Adjunct Lecturer in Music at Redeemer University College. As a Baritone, he sang with the Elora Festival Singers and the Exultate Chamber Singers of Toronto. In 2001 Brent accepted the position of Director of Music at Hamilton’s Christ’s Church Cathedral, a post he held until 2010. Currently he is Director of Music at Trinity Anglican Church in Cambridge (Galt). He conducts the Pro Musica Choir of Burlington and Ensemble Lyrica, a Hamilton-based choir that performs concerts for local charities. Previously he conducted the Brock University Chorus and the Redeemer University Concert Choir. This year he is thrilled to be an accompanist to the Hamilton Children’s Choir. He was the Assistant Conductor in 2004, and has returned after a 10-year hiatus! Brent, his wife Stephanie, and their daughters Audrey and Elizabeth, make their home in Hamilton.

Rachelle Risling – Accompanist, Esplori choir

DSC_2553BW-croppedA native of Saskatchewan, Rachelle holds an Associate (ARCT) from the Royal Conservatory of Music, a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Music in Piano Chamber Music from the University of Toronto. She studied with the renowned pianist, Marietta Orlov and Bill Aide in Toronto. While in Toronto received coachings from other renowned artists Lorand Fenyves, Peter Longworth, and Joaquin Valdepenas . In 2001 she relocated to Sault Ste. Marie where she taught at The Algoma Conservatory of Music and Algoma University. She performed frequently in Sault Ste. Marie as a member of the Tres Chic Piano Trio with violinist Vanessa Mio and cellist Claire Burrows, and as a member of various jazz ensembles. She is currently the organist at St. Andrew’s church and spends the summers as music director and organist of the Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island.

Larisa Gulenco – Accompanist, Komenci choir

_ND33964-croppedPianist Larisa Gulenco received her training at the Moldavian Academy of Music, North Netherlands Conservatory and Royal Conservatory The Hague, where she obtained the degree of Master of Music. Throughout her career Larisa has performed extensively in Moldova, Russia, Romania, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, United States and Canada.She is a prize-winner of several national and international piano and chamber music competitions in Moldova, Romania and Italy. Since July 2008 Larisa resides in Hamilton, Ontario. She maintains a busy schedule as a piano teacher and performer. Recent performances have been in Boston with Burlington Welsh Male Choir, at Brott Music Festival with Jacqueline Woodley (soprano), at Hamilton Place with Adrianne Pieczonka (soprano), with John Laing Singers, Schulte Strings and Rosanne Warren (flute) in Hamilton.

Bahar Aslan – Accompanist, Komenci choir

DSC_2543BW_2croppedMelody Bahar Aslan is a high school student in Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton. She started her piano education when she was four years old. At the age of six, she was accepted to the Istanbul University, Istanbul State Conservatory, Piano Program. She has been taking piano lessons from Alla Zaccarelli since 2009. She has completed her Royal Conservatory Grade 10 piano and is recently working toward her Associate of Royal Conservatory (ARCT) diploma.

She has performed in several competitions, music festivals, fund raiser events and concerts, and received several awards, trophies and scholarships, including the Branford Kiwanis Music festival Piano Award, “Most Promising Pianist” Award in Toronto’s NYCO Music festival and Provincial first place in the Provincial Final Competition. She loves singing and she has been singing in children’s choirs since she was seven. She sang in the Istanbul state Opera and Bale Children’s Choir. She sings in the Marshal Memorial United Church Choir with the director and organist Frank Pierce.

She has been singing in the Hamilton Children’s Choir for six years and is currently singing in the Ilumini Choir. She loves being a part of the Hamilton Children’s Choir and sharing her love of music with others.

Children and youth who have been part of the Hamilton Children's Choir

Staff members

International and local tours

Choir programs

Extend your support


Contact Tricia at tricia@hamiltonchildrenschoir.com or 905-527-1618 for sponsorship opportunities.