Glenn Mal­lory de­voted his life to mu­sic in Hamil­ton

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - Leonard Turnevicius writes about clas­si­cal mu­sic for The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor. leonard­turnevi­

It has been writ­ten that “wis­dom comes with age.” And in Hamil­ton, there were few wiser when it came to mu­sic than Glenn Alan Mal­lory.

In a Novem­ber 2006 in­ter­view with The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor, done on the eve of his re­tire­ment as mu­sic di­rec­tor of the Hamil­ton Phil­har­monic Youth Or­ches­tra, which he’d founded in March 1965, Glenn, then 75, was only too happy to de­fine what oth­ers through­out the cen­turies con­sid­ered in­ef­fa­ble.

“Mu­sic is an emo­tional thing. Mu­sic is an in­tel­lec­tual thing. Mu­sic is a phys­i­cal thing. Mu­sic is a so­cial thing. At its best, mu­sic is a spir­i­tual thing. I have just de­fined a hu­man be­ing. Mu­sic, from my ex­pe­ri­ence, is the only ac­tiv­ity with the pos­si­ble ex­cep­tion of mak­ing love and be­ing in love that si­mul­ta­ne­ously en­com­passes ev­ery as­pect of our hu­man­ity. So, it’s nat­u­ral that if you’re in­ter­ested in mu­sic, and like mu­sic, you go ahead and spend a life­time in it. And it’s a good life.”

Sadly, that good life came to end on Wed­nes­day, May 17 when Glenn passed away peace­fully in the pres­ence of fam­ily and friends. He would have turned 86 on June 2.

Glenn was a Hamil­to­nian through and through. Born here in 1931, he grew up on Bal­moral Av­enue and at­tended Me­mo­rial School. It was in Grade 9 at Delta Col­le­giate that Glenn caught the mu­sic bug, learn­ing how to play five notes on a bu­gle. He grad­u­ated from Delta Col­le­giate where he was class vale­dic­to­rian in 1949, and went on to study mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion at the Univer­sity of Toronto (class of 1953) be­fore re­turn­ing to Hamil­ton to teach high school mu­sic and English. He mar­ried Pa­tri­cia Smith in 1955, and the two had three chil­dren, daugh­ters Jane and Martha, and son Tom. In 1967, Glenn be­came mu­sic su­per­vi­sor for the Hamil­ton Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, re­tir­ing in 1990.

In ad­di­tion to his 42 years con­duct­ing the HPYO, with whom he’d racked up count­less con­certs, toured to Carnegie Hall, to Eng­land, and points in be­tween, Glenn led the am­a­teur Dun­das Val­ley Or­ches­tra for 14 years un­til June 2011, and had guest con­ducted Hamil­ton Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra ed­u­ca­tion con­certs as well as pro­duc­tions by Burling­ton Light Opera and Hamil­ton Theatre, Inc.

More than 800 young mu­si­cians passed through Glenn’s hands at the HPYO, some of them go­ing on to ca­reers in mu­sic. One was Terry Ball, a pro­fes­sional vi­olist and now re­tired mu­sic ed­u­ca­tor, who played in the HPYO for the first 10 years of its ex­is­tence and re­mained a life­long friend to Glenn.

“This is go­ing to be quite a loss for the com­mu­nity even though he led a long and pro­duc­tive life,” said Ball. “He’s go­ing to be re­mem­bered by an aw­ful lot of peo­ple.”

Peo­ple like con­duc­tor Boris Brott, who first met Glenn in 1969.

“He was a very spe­cial in­di­vid­ual, was very in­spir­ing to young peo­ple and had a global vi­sion of what could be done,” said Brott.

1969 was also when a then 16 year old Stephen Pierre, now HPO prin­ci­pal clar­inet, au­di­tioned for and was se­lected by Glenn as first clar­inet in the HPYO.

“That was the rea­son why I went into mu­sic,” said Pierre. “It was be­cause of him. He made it such a won­der­ful thing.”

Scott Whit­ting­ton, a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian and re­cently re­tired ed­u­ca­tor, ad­mired Glenn for his “warmth, hu­mil­ity, self­less­ness and great sense of hu­mour.”

“It was his way with the mu­si­cians that left an in­deli­ble print on me,” said cur­rent HPYO mu­sic di­rec­tor Colin Clarke. “He was gen­tle, kind, re­spect­ful, and gen­uine.”

Dur­ing his life, Glenn was hon­oured with the Betty Web­ster Award, The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor’s Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Award, an in­duc­tion into the Hamil­ton Gallery of Dis­tinc­tion, a D.Lit from McMaster, nom­i­na­tions for Hamil­ton’s Cit­i­zen of the Year, and other ac­co­lades.

Lastly, this scrib­bler must thank you, Glenn, for your help, for the con­certs we did, and the Han­del or­gan con­cer­tos we per­formed to­gether. Adieu, my friend.

Glenn is sur­vived by his two daugh­ters and four grand­chil­dren. A me­mo­rial ser­vice cel­e­brat­ing Glenn’s life will be held at Burling­ton Bap­tist Church, 2225 New St., Burling­ton, on Satur­day, May 27 at 1:30 p.m.


Glenn Mal­lory founded the Hamil­ton Phil­har­monic Youth Or­ches­tra and spent 42 years con­duct­ing it. He died May 17.


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