Aeolian Hall is London’s historical music venue. It’s both a school of music as well as a performing arts centre. Located on 795 Dundas Street, at the corner of Dundas St. and Rectory St, just to the east of Adelaide St, it’s situated in the neighbourhood of Old East Village. This hall and its programs are completely run by volunteers and provides London with incredible musical events and art programs. Aeolian Hall has a palpable passion for using arts and music to transform communities and change lives.
They offer amazingly diverse and innovative performances and education. Plus, they foster the connection between teaching and performance, encouraging people to build up their leadership skills. Inclusivity is a large part of Aeolian hall. They believe that every single person deserves to be able to unleash their creative outlets and participate in the arts. Universal access and being able to accommodate anyone who wants to watch, teach, perform, or learn is paramount and always taken into account every step of the way.
Programs and Events
Aeolian Hall has a number of programs and events that embrace their core-values and help to achieve the future that they envision where everyone has the highest value for music, arts, culture, education, and community.
El Sistema Aeolian
In November of 2011, Aeolian Hall Musical Arts Association launched a pilot project with 20 children. That project was El Sistema Aeolian. What started with 20 kids has now expanded to 100 spots for children. The project isn’t new, it actually started in Venezuela in 1975 and has since grown to over 80 countries. The global program has even won awards!
London’s program is meant to give the gift of learning music to everyone. Children get the experience an intensive and innovative music program, and it’s completely free. The children learn orchestra, choir and piano. Meals and snacks are provided and there are 10-20 concerts every year given by the participants.
The environment allows kids to hone their musical and social potentials. In a big way, it’s about so much more than music. Kids learn about pursuing excellence, inclusiveness, and even leadership.
The Rebelheart Collective
This chamber music ensemble is self-conducted and celebrates both classical music as well as new, contemporary music, coming from a variety of different cultural backgrounds. The collective does away with the traditional sense of what it means to attend a concert. Its relaxed performances and welcoming spirits to help break down the walls between audience and artists.
Those in the collective, which is made up of highly trained professionals, give back by teaching and training the participants of the El Sistema Aeolian program, ensuring that the next generation of musicians are given the opportunity to learn, no matter their background.
They perform eight concerts each year and hold receptions both at intermission and after the performance and allows for people to meet and talk with the musicians. The tickets for Aeolian concerts are always free.
Pride Men’s Chorus London
There is a movement of LGBTQ2 Choirs all over the world and Pride Men’s Chorus London is part of that movement. They made their debut back in June of 2016 at the Vigil for the Orlando Massacre in Aeolian Hall. Their goal is to enlighten those with closed minds and hearts, as well as celebrating diversity and love. They use song to challenge world-views that are rooted in heteronormativity and inspire open-mindedness.
In the true sense of inclusiveness, this chorus is open to all men, no matter what their gender identity or sexual orientation.
88 Keys To Inspiration
This 88 Keys program is a collaborative effort between the Aeolian Hall and D&S Pianos to bring pianos into homes that do not have the means to be able to buy them. Pianos are the heart and soul to music composition and creation. They are the source of countless moments of joy and entertainment for families and friends. This program allows for children who cannot afford pianos to have equal access to quality music and learning opportunities.
Ignite London is hosted at the Aeolian. Ignite London is similar to TED Talks, but on a smaller, more accessible scale. Ignite London evenings are fun, high-energy evenings where people get up and present their 5-minute talks (accompanied by 20 slides for visual aids). These talks are full of brilliant insights, interesting ideas, and inspiring concepts.
This is not a place for self-promotion or boasting businesses. The talks are meant to inspire thought and action. It’s meant to connect people and offer a format for brilliant thoughts to be shared. The evenings are recorded and posted to YouTube so that your message can get beyond the community.
The event is free, and usually has a theme for the evening. Those themes could be anywhere from Social Work and Alternative Medicine, to Education and Cancer.
Aeolian believes in supporting local artists and host many art shows regularly which features the works of local artists which can be purchased. The artwork hands throughout the main hall and lobbies while the show is on (and shows usually are hosted for a minimum of six weeks). The Aeolian Hall has 70,000 plus people in the hall each year, giving the local artists a ton of eyes on their work. During these art shows they host opportunities for the artists to meet with the show attendees to talk about their artwork.
Aeolian Hall hosts a variety of different events and shows throughout the year. Some performances are dance performances, showcasing art through the movement of bodies. Theatre performances, including comedy shows entertain audiences throughout the year. Londoners can also enjoy film nights and screenings at the Aeolian. The largest amount of performances comes from music. From instrumental to choirs and everything in between, Aeolian brings all kinds of fantastical musical performances to Londoners. You can expect all kinds of styles of music, such as classical, jazz, blues, rock, folk, and so much more.
Aeolian Hall’s mission is to build up the community through the arts. They truly believe that art can inspire, enlighten, and transform people. Their vision for the future would have everyone holding music, art, culture, education and community in the highest regards. They encourage and inspire people to get in touch with their creative abilities and make those abilities part of their everyday lives.
Aeolian Hall has many noble values. Historical preservation and celebration through teaching and presenting is the first. The second value is growing into better people through learning, teaching, and building up ourselves. Fostering social justice through equality, volunteers, providing universal access, and support is another. Celebrating diversity through community and inclusivity is another major value. Lastly, the understanding that music, arts, and education can transform individuals and communities by inspiring them, motivating them, and enlightening them.
Because the Aeolian is run completely by volunteers, there are plenty of options for volunteering. You don’t need to have any special musical ability to volunteer at the Aeolian either. From box office assistance and bartending, to administrative support and hall cleaning, general volunteers are welcomed and appreciated. If you have been gifted musically, El Sistema can always benefit from music caching and classroom support.
Clark Bryan, the Executive and Artistic Director of Aeolian, and the founder of The Aeolian Performing Arts Centre, launched El Sistema Aeolian in 2011. He is an award winning concert pianist and has performed all over the world. Bryan Gloyd is the Accountant and Jazz Programming Curator. He has a history with being a recording artist, church musician, and jazz pianist. The general manager, Matt Wannan, has 20 years of senior management experience. The Marketing and Production Coordinator, Andrew Rosser, has worked as a television producer for over 10 years and has plenty of experience working with boards and organizations. One of the El Sistema Aeolian Coordinators, John Wiebe, has a private teaching studio and has performed all around Southwestern Ontario.
Aeolian Hall is more than just a musical hall. It has become a centre for learning, research and development of art programs. Its focus on social inclusion, transformation, community development, and social justice has set it apart and made it a revered place.
Aeolian Hall is esteemed and well regarded in the community. In 2010, it was bestowed a Pillar Award for outstanding contribution to the community by the Mayor of London. It also won the Jack Richardson Music Award for Best Live Venue in both 2008 and 2010. In CBC Radio 3’s Searchlight Contest Aeolian Hall was selected as one of the Top 10 Halls in Canada.
The name has a number of meanings. One of those meanings is a technical musical term that relates to organs and pianos. There is also an Aeolian Hall in London, England (and there are a number of buildings and places in this city named after ones from England). Interestingly, the term also comes from the Aeolian Islands, which is in Sicily. The root of the word is based off of the god Aeolus, who is the keeper of the winds, which is very fitting for a musical hall.
About The Building
The building is recognized for its acoustics. Created by George F. Durand, the building clearly reflects the 1880 architecture eclectic style. George F. Durand is one of Southwestern Ontario’s most important Victorian architects. Construction took less than a year, but doubled the original estimated budget.
High Victorian and Italianate design concepts merge together beautifully in this stunning building. With tall windows that have gorgeous tracery design and breathtaking bi-chromatic brickwork, this building is a ravishing piece of London’s history.
Renting the Facilities
Aeolian Hall is such a beautiful and historic building, and you can take advantage of this stunning building for your next event. The building is rentable. If you’re looking to host a theatre performance, dance shows, musical, or comedy routine, the stage and incredible acoustics of this building will be the perfect fit. But rental is flexible and can be used for fundraisers, meetings, art exhibits, readings, lectures, classes, and community events. On top of that, if you have a party or dance that you want to host, this facility might be the perfect choice!
It’s a beautiful heritage building. It started in 1882. Land was bought from a past London mayor by the London East Town Council. Money was given to construct a town hall there, in hopes to prevent the then separate and independent community London East of being annexed by the City of London, which did not end up working as just one year after the hall was built East London was in financial trouble and amalgamated with the City of London anyway.
The building has had a number of very different uses throughout the years, giving it a rich history. After City of London and East London combined, the building was used as a fire station. It was then used as a public school from 1888 to 1890. In 1915 the East End Branch of the London Public Library used the ground floor as its location. The school was also used by a number of different businesses: Goodwill, National Appliance Limited, Imperial Fuels, Frank C. Warder Radio Limited, more.
Meanwhile, in 1947 Gordon D. Jeffery purchased the First Congregational Church (renamed Beecher United Church later on) and then renovated the insides to create a concert hall. It was named the Aeolian Hall at that time. Gordon D. Jeffery promoted local chamber music, and was one of the very first to do so.
Unfortunately, that building was then burned down back in 1968. So then Gordon D. Jeffery bought the former London East Town Hall to use as a temporary place for the chamber music while the burned down building was being rebuilt. They re-did the entire former London East Town Hall, including removing the ceiling and adding an orchestra pit, to improve the acoustics and make it a full functioning music hall.
In 1977 Gordon D. Jeffery finally abandoned the idea of rebuilding the burn-down building and re-named the old London East Town Hall as the new Aeolian Hall.