C/O Elena Mozhvilo

While the value of a work-life balance may be well known, its individuality is of supreme importance

By: Ardena Bašić, Contributor

Students and professionals alike are often encouraged to find a work-life balance to avoid burnout and maintain motivation in the long run. However, while we typically think of a stereotypical scenario of this balance being achieved, for example working diligently during the week and relaxing for the weekend, approaches are unique to every individual. 

It is important to reconcile this concept of individuality in our approach to a sustainable lifestyle to avoid feeling like an outlier and remain confident in how we spend our days.

For most people, striking a balance between our responsibilities and our hobbies and passions often comes with general recommendations. Taking breaks from sitting at our desks, making sure to exercise and making time for social activities are only a few such suggestions

However, in looking to apply such recommendations to our lives, we may find them difficult and unsuitable for our particular lifestyles. For example, students may have days completely full of class; on such days, they truly do not have time for more leisurely activities. 

Moreover, busy professionals or parents with children may have to lean more towards work than life — or vice versa — depending on what the day brings. Adhering to such standard suggestions may be doing more harm than good, in that not being able to live up to them can be disheartening and deleterious to our confidence levels. 

A more suitable approach to finding balance in our lives should involve reflection on our priorities at a given moment in time. Each individual will likely have varying primary concerns at each stage in life. 

For students, achieving success in school and related endeavours may mean that their idea of “balance” is more focused on work at the moment. For example, one could find solace in running every day, whereas another person could consider that more of a “work” item in their version of balance. 

Such comparisons should be avoided as, ultimately, one needs to focus on what is best for their objectives and interests over what they feel society expects of them. 

One must also understand the dynamic nature of their life in considering work-life balance. Although one could easily balance work and leisure on a given day, the same is not promised for the following day. 

We need to let go of such perfectionist expectations and instead approach each day with a flexible mentality — one that is adaptable and takes into account both a person’s happiness and goals. 

Letting go of such expectations and the need to fit into societal expectations of the perfect work-life balance is the only way to truly foster individuality and maintain motivation to work for what makes one feel most alive. 

There cannot be a uniform approach to such a concept that is deeply personal to our lives. 

Similar to how we all have different approaches to our education, health and professional life, our unique balance should be perceived in a similar, distinct fashion. 

Photos by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor 

By Marzan Hamid, Contributor

McMaster University’s Welcome Week is loud and full of spirit — and rightfully so. It is the one week of the year where students are allowed to be shamelessly rowdy and proud of the school they go to. It is a time for first years to make McMaster and its community their home. 

However, in order to truly make Mac a home for everyone, the week needs to be accessible to a wider range of personalities. It needs to welcome both those who love the noise, and those who don’t. 

McMaster is a diverse university in many ways. As its students, we have many different mother tongues, we coexist in different faiths and we study different passions. Students at Mac come from all points of the personality spectrum, too. However, these differences don’t seem to be taken into consideration. 

Welcome Week events are synonymous to heaven for extroverts. Loud crowds during faculty fusion? Hell yeah. Meeting 300 new people in a day and introducing the same three details over and over again? Nothing better. Raving to Bryce Vine in a mosh pit? Wouldn’t miss it for the world. 

On the flip side, introverts find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. For people who want some downtime away from the large crowds where they cannot find much more than a few superficial connections, Welcome Week can be emotionally draining. While faculty and residence reps can be a huge resource for this exhaustion, it is undeniable that a disproportionate number of Welcome Week events cater to extroverted students, leaving their introverted counterparts feeling forced into situations they would much rather avoid. 

The few low-key events that do exist are not as well promoted or organized. Things like painting or hikes can get crowded easily and limit the intimacy of connections that can be formed. Not to mention, introverted out-of-province and international students can easily feel isolated if they don’t already have friends on campus. 

Small group activities are especially hard to come by in larger faculties where organization becomes difficult — however, we must remember who and what the week is for: for embracing new Marauders. Despite the challenges we may encounter when making students feel at home, it should be emphasized that there is truly something available for everyone to try. Whether that is through small group activities running alongside the bigger events (which are promoted just as much), or having designated areas on campus for downtime activities, we need to make strides to make this nervous time of year easier for everyone. 

Many students are on their own for the first time in their life; this comes with its own set of problems and anxieties. Welcome Week shouldn’t have to be another. It should be a week as enjoyable for the social butterflies as it is for the wallflowers. 

 

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Eden Wondmeneh

Consent education seems to always be an afterthought at McMaster University. The word “consent” is consistently thrown into events, seemingly out of place, with no elaboration, discussion or focus.

During Welcome Week, the word was plastered on posters that appeared at all the major events and was projected in vibrant colours on the big screen prior to the concert.

The way consent education was treated during Welcome Week foreshadowed how the subject would be addressed during the rest of the year: just enough to get a hypothetical participation award in disrupting trends of sexual violence but too little to make a legitimate impact on campus rape culture.

This culture is something that does not go unnoticed by those who are most likely to be targets of sexual violence. A late night food run is never complete without words of caution and offers of someone to walk with. It’s unfortunately not uncommon to walk with your keys in between your fingers.

Once when I was walking home, after parting ways with my group of friends, a male acquaintance yelled back, “Be careful! Campus rape culture is still a thing”.

To him I say, believe me, I know. There is rarely a moment, at a party or anywhere on campus during non-peak hours where my friends or I don’t feel discomfort, or even fear.

Following the news of sexual violence within the McMaster Students Union Maroons, this tension is especially high. Prospective Maroons are hesitant to submit returning applications and attending events run by or affiliated with the MSU is often met with a little more resistance.

The MSU’s response to the allegations and overall toxic campus culture has been dismal.

In the beginning of March, posters commissioned by the Ontario government were hung up in several residence buildings. It reads “If you are watching it happen, you are letting it happen. Consent is everything”.

This was the first attempt I noticed to address the importance of consent in my residence. Although this message is true and important, it being the only form of consent education on residence is frankly pathetic.

McMaster is not treating consent education as a major priority. Any educational materials, workshops or sessions produced or run by the MSU or its services are only accessible to those who actively seek out those learning opportunities. Even campaigns run by the Student Health Education Centre, while important, have limited reach.

Despite their value, consent education needs to reach beyond those populations to those who need it the most.

The issue of consent cannot be addressed on small poster in the basement of a residence building. Misconceptions or being ignorant to consent needing to be mutual, voluntary, informed and continuous directly results in continued sexual violence on campus.

In order to shift toxic campus rape culture, there needs to be open lines of discussion about consent that are inherent to the structure of Welcome Week, life on residence and campus life in general. These discussions need to be backed by action; posters and platitudes are not enough.

The nonchalant backburner approach to consent education fails to create an inclusive and safe community for all students.

 

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Photos C/O Kyle West

The McMaster Students Union recognizes over 350 clubs. According to the MSU Clubs page, the purpose of these clubs is to “provide an insightful and meaningful contribution to the McMaster and Hamilton community.”

Being a MSU recognized club affords certain privileges including being eligible for funding from the MSU. This funding comes directly from the MSU organizational fee, a $130.26 fee that all full-time undergraduate students pay. Within this fee, $8.02 are collected per student to support MSU clubs.

As students are paying for the operations of these clubs, the MSU has a responsibility to ensure that these clubs are not deliberately sharing and promoting misinformation that can be harmful to students.

McMaster Lifeline is the pro-life group on campus. Their mission statement is “to advocate with loving care the legal rights and social support of pregnant women and their unborn children.”

While the presence of a pro-life group on campus is already cause for controversy, the issue at hand is not solely the groups’ existence but that they use student space and resources to share information that is factually incorrect.

The group can often be found at a table in the McMaster University Student Centre, a privilege of being a MSU club, spreading scientifically false information on abortions and reproductive health. In addition to misinformation, the group is known for distributing graphic and potentially triggering images.

Groups like McMaster Lifeline should not be given a platform by the MSU to disseminate false information about individuals’ health.

Namely, the group fails to state that abortions are safe, medical procedures that are fully legal in Canada. Instead, they spread the false rhetoric that “abortions are never medically necessary”, which is simply a lie.  

In fact, any student-run group on campus does not really have the credentials to provide healthcare information or advice to students. Abortion is a serious topic that should be discussed with a healthcare professional who can provide factual, non-judgemental information, not with students who some of which have “no experience engaging with people on the topic.”

The MSU should be cautious in ratifying clubs that provide this type of information, as the results can be extremely harmful to students.

With over 350 clubs, it can be difficult for the MSU to ensure that operations of each of their clubs are aligned with the core goal of supporting students. However, that is not an excuse for allowing this behaviour to occur.

Multiple students have on many occasions voiced their concerns against these clubs’ actions. The MSU failing to take action blatantly goes against their responsibility towards their student constituents.

The MSU Clubs Operating Policy states that the MSU “will not attempt to censor, control or interfere with any existing MSU club on the basis of its philosophy, beliefs, interests or opinions expressed until these lead to activities which are illegal or which infringe upon the rights and freedoms of others”.

Due to this policy, on March 22, pro-choice students who were protesting McMaster Lifeline’s table in MUSC were removed and not allowed to distribute pro-choice pamphlets. A claimed “victory for free speech on campus” by the MSU only served to help promote the misinformation on campus.

While the actions of McMaster Lifeline may not be illegal, they certainly are harmful to students and may actually be violating the Clubs Judicial Policy, stated under the MSU Clubs Operating Policy.

Specifically, their actions may be considered to “unnecessarily cause a significant nuisance for an individual or group” (5.1.1.3), have “conduct unbecoming of an MSU club” (5.1.2.7) and most importantly, actions that “unnecessarily jeopardize the safety or security of any person or property” (5.1.3.3).

If the MSU truly wishes to provide a meaningful contribution to the McMaster and Hamilton community, it can begin with properly investigating clubs that may be found guilty of any offences described by the Clubs Judicial Policy. Only then can they truly ensure that their clubs support and protect McMaster students.

If students do wish to learn about their options with respect to their reproductive health, the Student Wellness Centre offers birth control counselling. If a student wishes to speak in a more informal setting, the MSU Student Health Education Centre offers relevant literature, referrals and peer support.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

Students entering university are faced with many new things: new classes, new friends and sometimes even new living arrangements. But students living in on-campus residences should not have to worry about their safety.

To help students transition into living away from home, and to enforce the rules of residence life, McMaster University community advisors live with first-year students in their residences. Their purpose is to “develop and maintain an environment that is conducive to learning and personal growth.”

To be a CA, one must fulfill many qualifications including maintaining a minimum sessional average of 6.0, being a full-time McMaster University student, demonstrating responsibility and leadership abilities and have a working knowledge or building community within students.

But for all the listed requirements, CAs are not required to complete any sort of police background check, including a very important vulnerable sector check.

VS checks are a collection of offence information that is restricted to applicants seeking employment or volunteering in a position of authority or trust over vulnerable persons in Canada. They can be obtained easily from the police service in your residing jurisdiction.

The lack of VS checks for CAs is problematic for many reasons. For one, many incoming students are under 18-years-old. In these cases, it is evident that these students are considered vulnerable persons and subsequently require additional protection from those in positions of authority and trust like CAs.

But even for incoming students who are legally adults, their role as a first-year student inherently places them in a lower position of power relative to their CAs. This power dynamic can be harmful if the CAs have a history of offensive behaviour.

CAs have a lot of influence over the first-year students under their supervision. CAs are oftentimes students’ first interaction with upper-year students and are meant to be the go-to person for questions about campus and residence life. To not conduct a proper background check on them is negligent of the university in ensuring that students are protected.

The lack of VS checks is not an exclusive issue of CAs. In addition to CAs, residence-affiliated positions such as the residence orientation representative are not required to complete VS checks.

In fact, part-time managers, the board of directors and other McMaster Students Union positions do not require the completion of a VS check.

Considering that almost all of these roles involve interaction with and power over a vulnerable population of students, it makes no sense why these roles do not require VS checks. If anything, the lack of VS checks puts students in avoidable danger.

In addition to VS checks, McMaster University should do a more thorough job of ensuring that individuals hired for their positions are positive reflections of the university. This includes ensuring that these individuals have not been reported to university administration or asked to withdraw from their positions previously.

The lack of sufficient and necessary screening of individuals in positions of power within the university is alarming. For McMaster University to truly commit to ensuring student safety, they must create better hiring policies that begin with implementation of VS checks.

 

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Photo from Silhouette Photo Archives

Canada is currently plagued by an opioid crisis. Opioids such as fentanyl are drugs that are commonly used to relieve pain. These drugs, however, can be extremely addictive and their misuse has led to thousands of overdoses and deaths.

In 2017, 88 Hamilton residents died from opioid overdoses. So far into this year, Hamilton Paramedic Services has already responded to 161 incidents of suspected opioid overdoses. In comparison to other cities within the province, Hamilton has the highest opioid-related death rate.

While there is no publicly available data on the demographics of opioid use in Hamilton, in general, young adults aged 18 to 25 are the most vulnerable to opioid misuse. As the rate of opioid misuse increases annually, it is imperative that students are aware of the availability of naloxone.

Naloxone is a fast-acting drug that temporarily reverses the effects of opioid overdoses until medical emergency services can arrive. As of March 2019, Public Health and the Naloxone Expansion Sites in Hamilton have distributed 2496 doses of naloxone, with 285 people reported as being revived by the drug.  

McMaster University’s student-led Emergency First Response Team and McMaster University security officers carry and are trained to use naloxone nasal kits in case of emergency situations. While Mac’s security officers only recently began to carry the kits, EFRT responders have been carrying them since August 2017.

Fortunately, EFRT has not had to use any of their kits since they began carrying them. While this may imply that opioid-related overdoses have not occurred on campus, this does not guarantee that students are not at risk at opioid misuse.

As EFRT responders and McMaster security cannot always be available to respond to students’ needs off-campus, students should be more aware of their ability to carry and be trained to use naloxone kits.

While the Student Wellness Centre does not carry the free naloxone kit, the McMaster University Centre Pharmasave located within the McMaster University Student Centre does, in addition to the Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies located near campus. To obtain a kit, all students must do is show their Ontario health card.

The fact that this life-saving drug is so readily available to students on and near campus is amazing. It is disappointing then that the university hasn’t done a sufficient job in advertising this information to students.

Students should be given naloxone kits and mandatory opioid information and response training at the beginning of the academic term. At the very least, this information can be distributed during Welcome Week along with other orientation events.

The opioid crisis is one that affects us all, especially here in Hamilton. McMaster University should help fight this crisis by ensuring that their students are equipped with the knowledge to recognize an opioid overdose and have the necessary tools to help reverse them.

 

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Photo C/O @phincoffeebar

By: Natalie Clark

Calling all coffee addicts, there’s a new must try spot in town! Phin Coffee Bar is located at 804 King Street West. The Westdale neighbourhood spot is only a short walk from campus. The owner, Andrew Meas, launched the bar’s soft opening on Feb. 16 and has been committed to serving the Westdale community their best cup of coffee since.

This may be Meas’ first coffee shop, but he has lots of experience in the coffee industry and a lot of love for what he does.

After finishing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto, Meas wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. His grandmother, who owned a café in New Zealand, invited him to make the trip to work for her and learn how to bake and make coffee.

Although Meas wasn’t a fan of the baking aspect of the café, he became intrigued by the coffee. Her returned back from New Zealand and starting working at Smile Tiger Coffee Roasters in Kitchener.  

Soon after becoming a pro at brewing coffee, Meas made the decision to start planning his own coffee shop in June 2018. It was a decision of impulse and instinct, and he admits to a little bit of peer pressure.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bt9-J-HgKJh/

This pressure came in the form of the encouragement he had from his friends to take the next big step in career and open up Phin.  

Meas quickly realized that opening up a coffee shop meant more than just knowing how to brew a good cup of coffee. While opening up Phin, Meas ran into some challenges, mostly administrative things he didn’t think of, like cups and insurance.

When choosing a location, Meas knew that the Westdale neighborhood would be the perfect place. The community’s charms and close proximity to McMaster were advantageous to the new business.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuT7jn-BO-n/

Meas is aiming Phin Coffee Bar at students, professors and young adults, and being in the Westdale neighborhood accomplishes that for him.  

When asked what he believes Phin will add to the Westdale community, Meas mentioned that he hopes it will create a lot of foot traffic, encourage the exploration of coffee and brew a reputable cup of coffee.

Meas sees coffee as a gateway into people’s lives, it’s a part of their routine and lifestyle, and Phin Coffee Bar aims to be that gateway by creating a cozy and approachable vibe in the Westdale community.

 

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Shloka Jetha is a woman who has always been on the move. After growing up in seven countries, the 23-year old has finally settled in Toronto and is pursuing her dream of working with at-risk youth. Part of what appealed to her about the new Professional Addiction Studies program at McMaster Continuing Education is that it’s online, which means she can set her own schedule and study on-the-go when she’s away from home.

But of course the biggest draw is the way Jetha feels the program will complement and expand upon what she learned in her McMaster degree in sociology, as well as what she is currently learning in a Child and Youth Care program at another school. With the goal of someday working in a clinical setting like the Sick Kids Centre for Brain and Mental Health, Jetha believes the more practical information she has about addiction and mental health, the better.

“I’m learning a lot in my current Child and Youth program,” Jetha enthuses, “but for me there is a bit of a knowledge gap that the McMaster Professional Addiction Studies program will help to close. It’s an incredibly complex field, every situation is new, and you need to be able read between the lines and understand the difference between what a troubled kid is saying and what’s actually going on in their life.”

Jetha believes that having the rich background knowledge the Professional Addiction Studies program will provide, and being able to link that information to her work in the field, will help her excel faster. Most importantly, she feels it will make her better and more effective at helping and healing kids in crisis.

“I’m specifically looking forward to gaining more knowledge about pharmacology, but also about other things as it’s difficult to learn on the job,” Jetha says. “I can learn a tremendous amount from the kids I work with, and that’s invaluable experience, but coming to them with a deeper knowledge base will allow me to talk with them about drugs and alcohol in a way I otherwise couldn’t.”

Jetha has been fortunate not to be personally touched by addiction, but has lost friends and people in her community from overdose. She is also familiar with the impact of this complex issue through the volunteer work she has done.

Even though this is an incredibly demanding career path, it’s one Jetha is proud and honoured to walk. She feels the good outweighs the bad and is determined to continue learning and helping as much as she can. The Professional Addiction Studies program at McMaster Continuing Education is uniquely designed to help her achieve that goal.

Applications for Spring term are open until April 29, 2019. Learn more at mcmastercce.ca/addiction-studies-program

 

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Photos C/O Aaron de Jesus

Twenty. That's how many weddings I shot in 2018 as a wedding filmmaker, and that's how many couples I've witnessed embark in the romantic tradition of love through ceremonial spectacle. As Aristotle puts it, love that is "composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”

But what stems from this poetic union of two perfect swipes matches? A spiritual bliss? Unconditional passion? A fulfilled soul? Maybe. But there is a definite partner in crime to romantic love we all need to control: ego.

What is Ego:

Not the Freudian ego, but that Kanye ego. You see it in films, you hear it in music and you feel your eyes rolling back when your lab partner urges you to believe that they "meet the perfect criteria" for their Friday-night-fling. Or better yet, the heavenly Friday-night-fling "fits all my checkboxes."

This is only the bark of the evergreen ego, which we can define using author Ryan Holiday's definition as an "unhealthy belief in our own importance” found in his book Ego Is the Enemy. This is synonymous with arrogance, vanity and of course, Kanye.

What is Romantic Love:

The ego in love inflates our own level of significance, while at the same time projecting ambitious standards for another to meet. With this principle narcissism, we begin to see the clinging relationship of ego with "romantic love" — which we can describe through the wisdom of Alain de Botton as a lifelong passion of unconditional affection, monogamous sex of the deepest expressions, independent of any logical reasoning and relying only on instinctual emotions and feelings.

Take that in — romantic love lives solely on emotion without logic. To the casual reader, these childish thoughts may seem obvious, but reflecting deeper, we begin to see signs within ourselves and our closest circle. We must control this. Let's take a look throughout your life.

Children: The Seedling Ego

Going back to where this all began, childhood is where we first experienced love. Most can associate child affection with a loving authority. Whether we called them our parent, sibling, relative, or neighbour, we needed them. The attachment theory research of John Bowlby throughout the 1900's, followed by Prof. Sue Johnson's couples therapy research today, brings sound evidence for our dependence on others. When we screamed for food, we got it. When we cried to be held, we got it. When we laughed for playtime, we got it. This is a good thing. Relying on others is the fundamental reason our species has survived millennia. The downside is in its longevity and growth through life.

Yes, we need others in life, and yes, our deepest instinct is to seek attachment, as outlined by Prof. Johnson, but the feedback loop of the Ariana Grande-esque "I want it, I got it" is the root that sprouts the dark ego of romance. Getting things as children paves the way for this underlying principle of romantic love: When we want something, we'll find a way to get it.

Adolescence: The Budding Ego

Which brings us to the next step of the growing ego in love. Found in puberty, high school, college or university, new experiences with decreased micromanagement and guidance. This is when the ego begins to experiment. Our claustrophobic wants begin to explore outside the supervised home and seeks easier ways to be watered. Whether through becoming captain of the volleyball team, taking the alto sax solo in band and most notably, finding a significant other to seek love and affection from.

This is also the point where ego meets romance. Our idea of love at this time is heavily influenced by the media, family and friends, and I'm willing to bet they all follow the blueprint of romantic love defined above. The fairytale love. The princess and prince charming love.

The budding ego spreads its roots and leaves into new terrain, searching for nourishment through this angelic and socially-acceptable soil called romance. This fair ground is for taking, stemming from it the seedling motto of “doing it because you want it” which only leads to the growth of our selfish plant called ego.

Into Adulthood: The Warped Ego

This is when our ego blooms the biggest, taking our primal egotistic need for affection and mixing it with the socially-acceptable irrationality of love. It almost becomes Machiavellian in the way it finds love.

Robert Greene, author of The Laws Of Human Nature, highlights a few archetypes of the folly relationship: the victim types that need saving, the saviour types to save victims, the devilish romantics of seduction, the image of perfection that never comes to fruition and the straight-up "they'll worship my ego indefinitely and unconditionally because of who I am" type.

Nowhere near complete, these types in relationships are ever-present. They may not come to mind right away when we think of romance, but when we look deeply at traditional love stories, the Romeos and Juliettes, the Snow Whites and Prince Charmings, there they are. And when we look beside us, there they are.

Is this a bad thing? Aristotle once said that to fix the warped curvature of wood, one must apply pressure in the opposite direction. And I do believe that regulating our growth should be at the forefront of any visionary. But is this subjective idea of "true love" really a disservice to our growing forest of human interaction?

 

The Solution:

Yes, I do believe this traditional view of love has well overstayed its visit. Especially with our cultural shift towards individuality and independence. And the first step to grow with the grain is understanding and loosening our ego.

For better or for worse, it's our ego trying to keep up with the Kardashians Joneses in love. But they're not you, and only you know what climate is best to grow love. Not Disney, not the latest country ballad and not the many wedding films found online. There are 7.4B definitions of love, and we need to rid our ego of any unexamined soil.

This means stop assuming that relationships are the norm. Stop associating sex with love. Logical thinking can be just as divine as cupid's arrow. You don't need to love everything about someone to love them. Arguments are arguments, and not signs from a higher power. We can't put full responsibility on another to complete ourselves. And above all, it doesn't make you any less of a person to love someone.

Let go the ego to let love grow.

 

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Graphic C/O Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra

By: Andrew Mrozowski

From Jan.12 to Jan.19, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra will run their fourth festival in their composer festival series. This year, the focus will be on Baroque-era composer, Johann Sebastian Bach.

“Bach is arguably the most influential and relatable composer of all time. His beautiful orchestral music and his fascinating life will be a joy for everyone to experience. I do think that Bach is the ultimate composer. He has that perfect balance of musical skill, transcendent spirituality, and human emotion,” said Gemma New, the music director for the HPO.

The HPO has partnered with various venues and amateur orchestras across Hamilton with the goal of teaching the community more about composers’ music and life.

“What we really wanted to do was connect people in the community to a single composer’s work and give the public many different perspectives on that particular composer,” said Diana Weir, executive director of the orchestra and McMaster alumna.

With previous festivals spanning the lives of Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn, the HPO has seemingly been on a roll with the popularity of their artist festival series and the community’s engagement.

“We really wanted to do something to see amateurs and professionals work together in other organizations. [Hamilton] has a very strong amateur music scene, so everything must reflect what Hamilton is interested in and what Hamilton needs,” said Weir.

“Music contributes to a person’s sense of wellness and we are committed to explore how to use our artists to contribute to the wellbeing and life satisfaction of the community.”

This year, there are nine different events spanning the course of the seven-day festival. There is an event for everyone in this year’s Bach Festival whether you are an avid fan of this era or not. The Sil has highlighted three events that students may enjoy:

 

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Tuesday January 15 | 7:30 p.m.

Bach’s Coffee House

Redchurch Café and Gallery, 68 King Street East

Inspired by Bach’s coffeehouses in Leipzig, Germany, HPO’s Associate Concertmaster Lance Ouellette is hosting a casual night in conjunction with Redchurch Café and Gallery. Enjoy Bach on the violin accompanied by beer, prosecco, or a latte as well as the current art exhibition, Fell Through by Paul Allard and Jonny Cleland.

Tickets $20


Thursday January 17 | 5:30 p.m.

Bach Happy Hour

Shawn & Ed Brewing Co., 65 Hatt Street, Dundas

The fan favourite event returns to Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. Enjoy a night of Bach music performed by an HPO trio while drinking specialty beer at this local craft brewhouse.

Bar opens at 5:30 p.m. Music and drink pairings from 6-7 p.m..

Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door.


Saturday January 19 | 7:30 p.m.

Glorious Bach and Pro-Am Jam

FirstOntario Concert Hall, 1 Summers Lane

Concluding the week-long festival, expert Baroque conductor Ivars Taurins and the HPO are putting on one final show featuring the works of Johann Sebastien Bach. At the end of the concert, stick around for the Pro-Am jam.

You can have the chance to perform with professional musicians and conductor Ivars Taurins in this professional-amateur jam session of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by J.S. Bach.

Tickets start at $10

Must purchase a ticket to register and participate in Pro-Am Jam

 

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This festival is different from other music festivals you may find. As the HPO’s main goal is to break down barriers to access in the community, they’ve aimed to make the events affordable, especially for a student-budget. They’ve also brought the music outside of the typical performance in a concert hall where guests may feel intimidated.

“I really hope that people will feel like they are connected to the HPO and [the HPO] is connected to the community. The HPO is somewhere where people can develop memorable experiences with their friends and loved ones,” said Weir.

So enjoy a drink and listen to Bach at a café, or perhaps go to the library and attend an insightful talk and beautiful performance, wherever and however you experience the Bach Festival the HPO will be sure to take you back to the Baroque-era.  

 

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