Ottawa – Today, the Ottawa 2017 Bureau and Mayor Jim Watson, in collaboration with lead partner CIBC, the National Arts Centre (NAC) and Ottawa’s four local school boards, held Music Ignites, a mass band concert at the Aberdeen Pavilion to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.

O Canada and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah rang out as over 1,300 high school students from 26 local school bands performed the two arrangements under the direction of NAC Orchestra Music Director Alexander Shelley.

In addition to the orchestral performances, young voices from Sing House Studios interpreted the province of Ontario’s unofficial anthem, A Place to Stand.

Under Ottawa 2017’s Ignite 150 umbrella program, this event engaged students from Conseil des écoles publiques de l’est de l’Ontario, Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, Ottawa Carleton District School Board and Ottawa Catholic School Board in our sesquicentennial celebrations.

A re-cap video will be shared on Ottawa 2017 social media with highlights from Music Ignites.



“Canada’s big year happens here in the nation’s capital and we’re delighted to present events like Music Ignites, that ensure our celebrations have a positive, lasting impact on our young people, their families and our community. We thank Ottawa’s school boards and the NAC for their support and enthusiasm in creating opportunities for students to get involved in the Ottawa 2017 celebrations,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

“It was an honour for me to conduct this very special concert today. I salute the students who took part, as well as all those dedicated music teachers who helped make it happen,” said Alexander Shelley, Music Director, National Arts Centre.

“Music has the power to transport our senses, to bring joy, to transcend language barriers and unite us all. The province is proud to support the Ignite 150 program that will showcase the incredible talent we have here in Ontario, including the Sing House Studios choir, the pianist and the 1,300 music students who performed today. And, a special thanks to the music teachers that guided them along the way,” said the Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport.

“CIBC applauds the hundreds of student musicians that have brought their energy and youthful perspective to the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. What better way to unite the country than by bringing talented young Canadians together through music to mark this historic milestone,” said Monique Giroux, Vice-President, Sponsorship Marketing & Strategic Partnerships, CIBC.

“One of the main goals of Ottawa 2017 is to inspire and open up new horizons for Canadian youth. Music Ignites is a perfect example of our commitment to engage young people in the celebrations of Canada’s sesquicentennial and to showcase their talent and contributions to our country,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau.

About Ottawa 2017
Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations will offer Canadians and visitors from around the world an exceptional and memorable year of high-caliber experiences while bringing a record number of visitors to Ottawa in 2017 to celebrate this important milestone for our country.

Ottawa 2017 thanks its lead partner CIBC, premier partner Bell, the Government of Ontario ( #ontario150) and the Government of Canada ( #canada150) for their contributions in helping to deliver twelve full months of bold events, immersive experiences and all-out celebrations.

Stay informed on plans for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations in the capital. Visit, follow us on Twitter @2017ottawa (#Ottawa2017) and on Facebook.