Home Authors Posts by Hamilton Music

Hamilton Music


Sinfonia Ancaster “Home For The Holidays” Friday December 2

Hamilton, Ontario – Ancaster residents should know by now that we are home to a brilliant community orchestra.  “Sinfonia Ancaster is a musical treasure that’s been around for twenty years”, says Music Director Jeffrey Pollock,  “but now that our concert season finds a place on the entertainment roster of our new Ancaster Memorial Arts  Centre, you’re bound to hear more about our roots in the community. Did you know, for example, that the orchestra gives Ancaster High School students within the Specialist High Skills Major “Arts and Culture” program the opportunity to learn about how a symphony orchestra functions? Facilitated by AHS music teacher Marilyn Wylie, students shadow the Front of House Manager, Stage Manager, Concert Manager, and Social Media Manager for a hands-on experience in how a concert event is put together.” 

The December 2 program is all about fun and holiday spirit. Concertmaster Megan Jones along with Caitlin Boyle (violin) and Amber Ghent (cello) will delight the audience with their solo performances in the Pastorale from  Arcangelo Corelli’s Christmas Concerto. Hamilton’s Ensemble Lyrica, a choral group under the direction of Brent Fifield, joins the orchestra for Gustav Holst’s Christmas Day as well as a mashup piece called Nutcracker Jingles. Rousseau Elementary teacher Michelle Fawcett will be a soloist in a spirited medley of Christmas carols  arranged for horn and orchestra. And it wouldn’t be a Christmas concert without an audience sing-along! 

“I look forward to playing in this Christmas concert every year”, says the orchestra’s first clarinet and Ancaster  resident Paul Burnip. “It’s a great way to start off the month, singing and playing Christmas music on the Friday  evening so we’re totally in the spirt the next day when our whole family will be putting up the tree.” 

Admission to the concert is $25 for adults, $20 seniors, and $15 for children under 14. Tickets can be purchased online through the Center’s Box Office, (https://www.memorialarts.ca), or in person at the door (cash or credit  card). 

And finally, back by popular demand, a silent auction will take place on site. Make a bid and you might complete  your Christmas shopping sooner than you think! 

Make a night of it and consider dining before the concert at Ancaster BIA restaurants: The Coach and  Lantern Pub, India Village, Brewers Blackbird, and Symposium Café. You’ll get a 10-15% discount by  showing your ticket. 

The new 470-seat state-of-the-art Peller Hall in the Memorial Arts Center is fully accessible. The street address is  357 Wilson St. East, Ancaster but you will want to use the free parking at the rear of the building off Queen Street. 

Box office tickets: https://bit.ly/3Sx3t8n  


Junestone Duo at Westdale: Hamilton Originals Series

Junestone is the innovative and illuminating musical vision of Olivia Brown, Borys Franiczek, Ian Aisling, and Justin McHugh.

Audiences are transported through endless floors of heavenly wonder as the band’s strikingly eternal love for jazz, funk, and indie alt-rock transfigures into psychedelic songs of fun and freedom. This music is for people who just want to be themselves and for once it’s fine.

Treat yourself to a new experience! Tickets: https://www.thewestdale.ca/…/hamilton-originals-with…/

Musician Entrepreneur Conference 2022

Three free online sessions designed to build the careers of Hamilton-based musicians. Presented by the City of Hamilton.

Register here

Diana Panton to release tenth album “blue” October 28th

HAMILTON, ONTARIO – Two-time JUNO Award winner Diana Panton has established herself as one of the brightest lights on the international jazz scene, a songbird praised by listeners, musicians, and critics alike for her thoughtful song selection and emotional intensity. Diana is pleased to announce the October 28 release of her tenth album, blue.

Diana Panton – Vocals, producer, Phil Dwyer – Saxophone, Reg Schwager – Guitar, Don Thompson – Piano, arranger, Jim Vivian – Bass

blue represents the culminating gesture in a musical narrative about romance that began with pink (Silver Disc Award winner in Japan), followed by RED (2015 JUNO winner). With release dates spanning more than a decade, this trilogy charts the emotional arc of an ill-fated romantic relationship. The eponymous colours symbolically suggest content: pink is the infatuation of first-time love, RED, the passion of true love, and blue, the heartbreak and mystery of love lost. 

“The release dates were deliberately spread over a decade from the first to the final album in the trilogy in order for the music to better reflect different stages in a relationship,” says Diana Panton. “I knew that my voice and perspective would be more mature if I waited to record the blue album a little later in my life.”

blue showcases Diana Panton, exuding confidence and completely in command of her interpretive powers. Her lustrous, evocative vocals are backed by the artistry of four longtime musical colleagues who made significant contributions to the beauty and passion of the RED album of 2015. The four include three Order of Canada honourees: tenor saxophonist Phil Dwyer C.M., guitarist Reg Schwager C.M., and pianist/arranger Don Thompson O.C., plus first-call bassist Jim Vivian. The sonic landscape of blue also features the extraordinary talents of the Penderecki String Quartet, who acquired their name in 1986 upon the invitation of the great Polish composer himself.

Diana Panton’s tenth release is not a casual listen, but a penetrating delve into feelings that accompany the fragments of a broken relationship. “Where Do You Start?” shows that Panton knows precisely where to start, and that is by delivering the pure, unaccompanied poetry of her beautiful, clear voice with its bold superiority of interpretation and intonation. Pianist Don Thompson provides his own musical commentary to the quixotically titled “Where Do You Start?” and the pair segues into the haunting strains of the popular song from the ‘60s, “Once Upon a Time.”

Highlighting his interpretative gifts as a composer/arranger and pianist, talents required to create the unfiltered emotive content permeating blue, is Don Thompson’s work on “The Trouble with Hello is Goodbye.” This song from the ‘70s showcases the Penderecki String Quartet’s artistry, features a supremely emotive sax improv by Phil Dwyer, and underpins Diana Panton’s uncomplicated, honest way with a musical phrase. In “To Say Goodbye,” Panton dips into the rich lower register of her vocal range to capture the profound sadness of the song’s lyrics, an expression so true that the listener instinctively feels she is living every word. Also noteworthy is Diana Panton’s interpretation of Norma Winstone’s poignant lyrics for “Just Sometimes,” inspiring another flawless solo from tenor saxophonist Phil Dwyer.

Diana Panton’s unerring selection of repertoire for blue smoothly encapsulates the complete epoch of the Great American Songbook. In 1937’s “Without Your Love,” a lilting swing sets the backdrop for the tenor intro, followed by Diana Panton’s exquisite delivery of the charming melancholic lyrics. Listeners are treated to supremely creative improvisations from both Phil Dwyer and Reg Schwager before Panton offers a reprise that captures the very essence of 1930s sentiment. In a virtuosic display of stylistic contrast, Diana Panton chases “Without Your Love” with Stephen Sondheim’s mystical song of loss and disorientation from the 1970s, “Losing My Mind.” Panton again spins her interpretive skills to take listeners straight from the beginning of the ’70s to 1978’s “You Are There” by the great team of Dave Frishberg and Johnny Mandel.

In command of a keen aesthetic sense, Diana Panton has attracted the attention of some of the jazz world’s most respected masters.  When legendary multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson first heard the nineteen-year-old Diana sing, with unabashed enthusiasm he urged her to audition for the renowned Banff Centre for the Arts Jazz Workshop. It was there that she studied under Norma Winstone, and, in subsequent visits, with Sheila Jordan and Jay Clayton.  When the time arrived for her to go into the recording studio, award-winning guitarist Reg Schwager was invited to join Don Thompson in laying down a collaborative sound that has proved to be, on all of her albums, the perfect setting for the delicate nuance of Diana’s pure vocals. The late, great jazz critic Len Dobin called the product of that first session, yesterday perhaps, one of the finest debut albums he had heard in years. 

Since the release of that first album in 2005, Diana Panton’s career has gathered astounding momentum, drawing international acclaim for her nine albums and the impressive variety and quality of her catalogue of songs. The numerous honours garnered include JUNO Awards for RED in 2015 and I Believe in Little Things in 2017, two Silver Disc Awards in Japan, seven JUNO nominations, nine Hamilton Music Awards, and a host of National Jazz Award nominations and Canadian and American independent music award nominations. I Believe in Little Things charted simultaneously on Billboard’s Jazz and Children’s Music charts and went to #1 on Amazon’s “Movers and Shakers” chart, following an interview on NPR. The album received a four-star review in DownBeat magazine and was one of their Best Albums of 2016. Panton’s albums have made the year-end lists of ICI MusiqueNOW MagazineJazz Critique Magazine, the Montreal Mirror, and DownBeat, among others, and, in addition to reaching #1 on Amazon and iTunes in Canada and the US, have made bestseller lists in Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan.

blue will be available on all download and streaming services.

Label: Independent

Release Date: October 28, 2022

 Diana Panton – Vocals, producer
 Phil Dwyer – Saxophone
 Reg Schwager – Guitar
 Don Thompson – Piano, arranger
 Jim Vivian – Bass

Penderecki String Quartet:
 Jerzy Kapłanek – Violin
Jeremy Bell – Violin
 Christine Vlajk – Viola
 Katie Schlaikjer – Cello

Chad Irschick – Engineer, Inception Sound Studios

BLACKPINK Born Pink World Tour hits Hamilton Canada November 6,7

Korean K-Pop megastars BLACKPINK will play Hamilton’s First Ontario Centre as the only Canadian stop on their Born Pink world tour. Dates are Sunday November 6th and Monday November 7th.


All photos from BLACKPINK official Facebook page

BLACKPINK’S second album Born Pink is to be released September 16.

Visit BLACKPINK’S website for more information

FirstOntario Centre

Uncle Lift Off’s Out of It: A Brief Overview 

By C. Kathleen Zhao 

Music album Out of It was released on September 5th by Uncle Lift Off, a Hamilton group of artists and siblings: Olivia Brown, Ian Aisling, and ELINOR. For the most part the album is upbeat, a trend established as early as its playful first song, “Airport Security.” As its title  indicates, airplanes comprise most of the song’s imagery; the theme of planes taking flight not  only lends the group the “Lift Off” in its name, but also introduces the album with a fitting metaphor for the launching of artistic creativity. 

Out Of It is Uncle Lift Off’s debut album

“All of Your Love” continues the shiningly sunny, energetic atmosphere of “Airport Security”  with a chorus catchy enough to get stuck in one’s head within two listens. However, the album also includes some slower, lower energy songs such as “Show My Love” and “Slow Motion  Pigeons.” “Show My Love” stands out in particular for the undercurrent of longing and  bittersweetness present in its lyrics and their delivery, and for the way its instruments combine  to create a song that sounds—for lack of a better description—like water flowing and flowers  blooming. A somewhat similar effect also arises in the well-spirited “I Left the Bar,” in which the piano sounds like fresh rain. 

The album excels in igniting the visual imagination. For example, “Out of It” (which shares its  name with the album) is a song suited to endlessly shifting colours, transitions between flickering images, and kaleidoscopes. It has a dreamlike quality to it—not in the way of the quiet, soothing peace of sleep but in the way of the shifting, vivid energy of dreams. Meanwhile, “Extinction Level Event” uses an upbeat, beach-esque vibe and the sounds of sea  birds to take you back to another place and time: a humid, lush, tree-filled age of dinosaurs of the verge of decimation-by-meteor. The song strikes a charming balance between its morbid topic and its peppy, light-hearted, almost celebratory delivery. In the second half, the beat builds and intensifies, creating a sense of anticipation that doubles as a countdown to disaster. 

My personal favourite from the album is “Canned” for the way it moves so naturally and  seamlessly between a variety of remarkably different sounds, all lively but no two “sections” atmospherically identical. The song feels like three different songs that have been cut apart and  interlocked with one another, and somehow it sounds amazing. It’s not that I didn’t get whiplash, but rather, that the whiplash when it happened was welcome, a surprise that impressed instead of perplexed. My favourite sections are those with the cello warmly playing, as they abruptly threw me into a field of British farmland under the purple gold of a setting sky. I can almost reach out and touch the white wool of the sheep catching the colours of the sinking sunlight. 

Also of note is “Dragon Blessings,” the 8-bit beginning of which immediately evokes video games, and indeed, the whole song could be easily set to an animated music video where an RPG group of adventurers led by a knight chubby in his pixel armour wander through different lands, solving puzzles and navigating dungeons on their way to the final boss: a fat grass-green  dragon with a ridged yellow belly, short arms, stubby horns, and smoke trailing from its oversized snout.

“Get Up,” the album’s final song, has similar electronic tones, though less of a  narrative—not necessarily to its detriment, as its focus on showcasing a particular kind of sound serves well as a sort of auditory palate cleanser that helps clear the head and wraps up the album nicely. Out of It can be listened to on the following platforms: Bandcamp, YouTube, Spotify, Apple  Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, and YouTube Music. The album comprises twelve songs: “Airport  Security,” “All of Your Love,” “Show My Love,” “Canned,” “I Left the Bar,” “Nobody,” “Zone,” “Dragon Blessings,” “Extinction Level Event,” “Slow Motion Pigeons,” “Out of It,” and “Get Up.”

Here’s the link to listen to Uncle Lift Off’s Out Of It

C. Kathleen Zhao writes on her blog here

Uncle Lift Off releases “I Left the Bar”

I Left the Bar” is a single from the recently released debut album “Out Of It” by Hamilton’s latest homegrown trio, Uncle Lift Off. The track is our choice to commemorate the release. We hope you enjoy it!

Out Of It is an in-house achievement, destined to become a paragon in Hamilton Canada’s music saga.

The album is bursting with power and fresh ideas. The tracks one by one erupt from a hot mountain atop a music magma reserve that is deep and wide.

The refreshingly solid musicianship, expansive lyrics, catchy/dirty funk, slow builds over lo-fi sparsity, original vocalizations in thick and sweet layers are powered by an uncommon, unbridled self-confidence and artistic authority.

This collection is a trendy example of the ‘screw everyone I’m doing what I want to do!’ mentality.

I suppose it’s true, one can only hold back a creative surge within the soul for so long. The pressure to create new and exciting art is a real force of nature.

Here we are seeing what happens when the creative energy is let fly high and wild. Out of It was recorded, mixed and mastered in the basement and loft studios of the tightly knit (sibling) bandmates ELINOR, Olivia (Junestone) and Ian Aisling.

Each of them have been influenced to a degree by their time in Mohawk College’s Applied Music “warming oven” and now are maturing in their tastes, skills and commitment to their ideals. One thing that has stuck with them from their college days is the notion that making good music is serious business, but also must be serious fun.

Uncle Lift Off can be gotten here:

Oh I’m Cold
Reasons never die
Leavin’ friends behind

Hey, do you know where insert description here is?
Can’t find them anywhere
Ya I already checked the bathroom
Oh okay thanks

My home and native land
Qui est sanctifiė

I left the bar, I left the bar
I can’t figure out where you are
I left the bar, did you take my car
I can’t figure out where you are

Oh I’m so cold
And then those seasons never lie, lie, lie
For leavin’ friends behind

My home and native land (land, land, land, the land)
You’re a special friend
My home and native land
Unraveling the plan (plan, plan, plan, woah, uh uh uh uh uh uh eh eh eh eh eh uh oh)

I left the bar, I left the bar
I can’t figure out where you are
I left the bar, did you take my car
I can’t figure out where you are

Finding a phenomenon, made up a pleasant one
Today I’ll fight fires with a gun and then be gone
Reading ready player one, what’s going on
Today I’ll piece out so I’ll paint draw or something
Summoning all my personalities, this fish is easy on release
Just wait til’ our brains release me, 
girl whatcha gonna say elegantė

Bitter with the sweet, changin’ on my feet
In 500 meters, make four left turns
Stayin’ on the street
Maine and Carole King
Union jack, i got your back
Queen gone missing, double those tracks
I’m colder than men and I’m holdin’ it in
Girl whatcha gonna say elegante

I left the bar, I left the bar
I can’t figure out where you are
I left the bar, did ya take my car
I can’t figure out where you are

(I left the bar, I left the bar) Oh I’m cold,
(Cuz I can’t figure out where you are) And those reasons never die-e-e-e
For leavin’ friends beha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hind
Oh oh oh, and those reasons never die
For leavin’ friends behind, ah nNNnnnd, oh

Hmmmmmmm (Unravel in the plan, plan, plan)
Huh whuh, huh whuh?
Huh whuh, huh whuh?

the MUSICIANS of Uncle Lift Off:

Ian Aisling:  https://www.instagram.com/ianaisling/
Olivia Brown: https://www.instagram.com/junestoneol…
ELINOR: https://www.instagram.com/elinor.jean…

Uncle Lift Off: ELINOR, Ian, Olivia

Jesse Adams Releases The Darkest Hour

“Jesse Adams at the age of 23 has well over thirty songs waiting to be produced. She jokes that her sound is piano ballad meets Hans Zimmer.”

We’re pleased to announce that Jesse Adams has released her new single The Darkest Hour.

Jesse Adams’ lyrics in The Darkest Hour are fairly evocative, undoubtedly giving inspiration to her melodic shape and emotional expression. The delicate and beautiful melody rises and dips with a controlled lightness that perfectly outlines an intensifying journey through the range of emotions and regrets that follow the end of a relationship. In the lyrics we see that the writer has found some separation from the pain as the lyric “I don’t know when my tears stopped but I know they stopped” shows. Time does its work, and ultimately the sense of hurt and loss has evolved to become a perfect release into a spacious place of self-love.

Two thumbs up for Jesse Adams’ debut single!

Listen here: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/jesseadams1/the-darkest-hour

Cover art for The Darkest Hour by Caroline Li
@carolinaa_li on Instagram

Says Jesse in a recent email: “I wrote this song after receiving a difficult phone call. I was upset, but unlike in the past, I knew I would be okay this time because of personal growth. I ultimately wrote it out of a sense of relief and triumph.”

Here are the lyrics:

I don’t know when the breeze changed
But I know it had something to do with me
And I don’t know when my tears stopped
But I know they stopped

I still cry sometimes
But those times, I’m enveloped in loving arms
Yeah I still cry sometimes
But those arms, they’re mine

And they used to choke me
They used to hit me
They used to shove me
They used to cut me

They held my trophies
They held my misdeeds
They held my jealousy
But they never held me

I am different now
You were my terrified past self
And I wish you could know
That we’re fine, that we grow

It was when I carried you
Even in your darkest hour
You couldn’t see the truth
You thought that we never mattered

It was when I carried you
And I knew for some time you hated me
It was when I new the truth
It was when I knew that I love you

I don’t know when the breeze changed
But I know it had something to do with me
And I don’t know when my tears stopped
But I know they stopped

She continues, “About the recording: we did not use a pop filter on the microphone because we wanted the breath to truly be captured. I wanted the song to start with sparse production then build to an orchestral bridge to take the listener through a journey. Listening to the song on headphones is my favourite because you can hear every natural vocal nuance and emotion. The subject matter is very vulnerable/ intimate and the breath which can clearly be heard when using ear buds or air pods carries the meaning along with the lyrics. The sparse production in the opening also corresponds to the theme, like the emptiness evolves into self-assurance.”

Jesse Adams

From her bio: “Jesse’s music captures that elusive state somewhere between defeat and resolve, misery and joy. After experiencing disparate moments of bliss and devastation, Jesse reached back into her childhood diary of songs, yanked them from their resting place, and revisited each from a more mature perspective.”

Adams’ next single Then I Do, comes out September 16. She continues, “It’s about the crazy things we do when we love someone we shouldn’t. It begs the questions: how far will you go for the slimmest hope? How much will you sacrifice for an unlikely chance at happiness? And how long will you wait?”

We look forward to more from Jesse Adams.

New Guitar Lesson Place Opens in Hamilton’s East End

Borys is pointing to a students guitar

“Teaching an art of patience in a world of distractions”

Starting in September 2022, professional guitarist Borys Franiczek will be offering guitar lessons in Hamilton’s east end. This is great news for Hamiltonians young or old looking for a qualified and experienced guitar instructor. 

Borys Franiczek is holding a guitar and looking cool.
Borys Franiczek

The studio, located at Laidlaw United Church at the corner of Cannon and Ottawa Streets, is a welcoming space in a bright and spacious room. There is lots of free parking, an excellent waiting area for parents with wi-fi, and it’s just steps to the HSR.

Says Franiczek, “As a bonus the main hall of the church is a wonderful live music venue with great natural acoustics and it will be available for recitals if students choose to participate. Rev. Douglas C. Moore is the director at Laidlaw and is an active supporter of the local music community, live music and music education.”

With 13 years of teaching and performing experience and backed up by his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from York University, Franiczek has developed a flexible teaching style that serves all learning styles and skill levels. He strives to provide an environment that fosters emotional and intellectual growth while nourishing a sense of community. He is proficient in a multitude of styles such as jazz, classical, rock, R&B, and latin/bossa nova.

Borys is teaching a student by pointing where to place the fingers on the fret board.
Guitar teacher Borys Franiczek has developed a flexible teaching style that serves all learning styles and skill levels.

Franiczek continues, “I hope to earn the privilege of guiding my students into the journey of musicianship. Anyone with an interest in guitar is encouraged to come in for a lesson with an open mind and a willingness to grow. I welcome the challenge of teaching an art of patience in a world of distractions.”

For more information Borys Franiczek can be reached at


Or call/ text at

(416) 906-6443

A short video about music lessons with Borys can be found by clicking this link: