The HSSB is Toronto’s award-winning professional brass band and Resident Company of Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. In 1983, The Hannaford Street Silver Band was formed by a group of professional musicians with a love of the brass band repertoire and ensemble playing. Since then, The HSSB has been reinvigorating the brass band tradition to critical and popular acclaim.Its mission is to honour the traditions of this art form and at the same time place it in a contemporary context with a unique Canadian point of view. The HSSB has redefined what a brass band is capable of doing by facilitating innovative creative projects and collaborating with the very best of Canada’s diverse cultures and outstanding artists.
Unique in its mandate and structure, the HSSB is the only fully professional ensemble of its kind in Canada; in fact, in the whole of North America, there is only one other professional brass band, the River City Band of Pittsburgh. Through its artistic excellence and ongoing advocacy of this art form, the HSSB has had a local, provincial, national and international impact. Its recordings and commissions are of particular interest to bands in Europe, and here at home, the annual three day Hannaford Festival of Brass at the St. Lawrence Centre is Canada’s largest international brass festival, attracting ensembles from both Canada and the United States. The excitement and appeal of the brass band stems from its distinctive instruments which were developed in the 1850’s. Their sounds have rung out from the coronation of King’s to the village bandstand, and now down Canada’s main streets and concert halls. The HSSB stands apart in this musical genre in its pursuit of artistic creativity and musical innovation.
One of our core values is to promote and foster education and to this end, the Silver Band has for several years sponsored and administered the Hannaford Youth Program. Young musicians between the ages of eight and 24 perform in three vibrant ensembles: The Hannaford Junior Band, The Hannaford Community Band and the Hannaford Street Youth Band. Each year over 100 young musicians from across the GTA and beyond enroll in this dynamic and continually growing program.
The HSSB also maintains a vigorous commissioning program that has resulted in new concert works for brass band by such Canadian composers as Vivian Fung, Christos Hatzis, Malcolm Forsyth, Raymond Luedeke, J. Scott Irvine, Andrew MacDonald, Donald Coakley, John Burge, Roger Bergs, Alex Pauk, Omar Daniel, Charles Cozens, Patrick Cardy, Henry Kucharzyk, Gary Kulesha, Randolph Peters, Jeff Ryan, Scott Good, Larysa Kuzmenko, Kelly Marie Murphy, Derek Holman, Barbara Croall, Erik Ross, Marcus Venables, and Rob Teehan.
The commission, Requiem Mass for a Charred Skull by Bramwell Tovey was awarded a 2003 JUNO Award for Best Classical Composition.
In recognition of its accomplishments, in November of 2003, the HSSB was awarded its second Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Arts.
There is indeed a Hannaford Street in the east end of Toronto, home to one of the HSSB’s Founders.