Submitted by Dayna Firth

The Duet Club of Hamilton is the latest organization to join Hamilton’s array of heritage plaques at the waterfront!  The Duet Club is the longest-standing women’s musical organization of its kind in Canada. Established by Hamilton music teacher Ellen Ambrose in 1889, the club has been making and promoting music in and for the Hamilton community for 135 years, and continues to provide a platform for the musical talents of local musicians of all ages, experiences, and cultural backgrounds with diverse audiences across the city. The club has been awarding music scholarships to promising young music students in the greater Hamilton area since 1940, and hosts an annual scholarship concert. 

The club also has its own chorus: Women of Song; a non-profit, non-audition chorus of women of all ages who are committed to community music appreciation, performance, and education. The chorus is under the direction of Artistic Director Dawn Martens. Ms. Martens is the recipient of a Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching for an online children’s production of the opera Brundibar. She was the Artistic Director of The Buchanan Park Opera Club for 26 years, which garnered her the following awards:  a 2010 Ruby Award from Opera Canada, four Hamilton Music Awards, three Profiling Excellence Awards and one Outstanding Achievement Award from the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, a Music Education Excellence Award from the Kodaly Society of Canada, and induction into the McMaster University Alumni Gallery.

The Duet Club holds three community concerts each year at Melrose United Church, featuring performances by local student musicians, Women of Song, and other Hamilton area musicians and choirs. The Duet Club also reaches out to and connects with the community through free concerts at seniors’ residences and varied public venues in the early winter and spring.

Be sure to visit the plaque near the Waterfront Trail Lookout Point. Fittingly, the plaque is next to the Waterfront Stage at Pier 8, where the Hamilton Waterfront Trust hosts weekly concerts through the summer. For information about the club and membership in the chorus, please visit