An Instrument For Every Child is an initiative led by the Hamilton Music Collective in partnership with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra 




Astrid Hepner: Program Director, Founder AIFEC Hamilton

Originally a professional saxophonist and educator from Germany, Astrid Hepner relocated to New York City in 1995 with her husband, musician and Hamilton native Darcy Hepner. Before launching a fulltime career in the music industry Astrid regularly performed at the NYC downtown club Knitting Factory with her band Astrid Hepner & Funkmeister.  She performed with Latin music legends Tito Puente and Celia Cruz at Avery Fisher Hall in NY and appeared at numerous European Jazz Festivals.

Prior to joining BMG Classics as International Marketing and Media Manager for ECM and RCA Victor, Astrid was a member of the New York Jazz Festival marketing team, running the day-to-day operations of one of the most innovative festival offices in New York City.  In 2000 she moved to EMI Records where she served as Executive Assistant to President/CEO Bruce Lundvall, and worked in collaboration with the Blue Note Label Group team on developing marketing and media strategies for world-class artists including Norah Jones, Anita Baker, Wynton Marsalis and Al Green.

Astrid Hepner studied Musicology at the University of Cologne and earned her degree in Performing Arts from the Folkwang School in Essen, Germany.  She also holds a diploma in Cultural Management.  She sits on the Board of Directors of JPEC, the Jazz Performance and Education Center in Toronto and is the founder/chair of the Hamilton based organization Hamilton Music Collective.

Rachael Finnerty: AIFEC Instructor

Rachael Finnerty completed her Masters in Music Therapy in Cambridge England, at Anglia Ruskin University. She graduated from Dalhousie University with a B.A in Psychology, has completed a diploma in Anatomy and Physiology, and a Master’s in Social Science with the Open University, London England. Rachael’s work is influenced through her experience of Music Therapy in England, Germany and Canada.

Her studies brought her experience in adolescent mental health, family therapy, and adult learning disabilities. She has since worked with children with a diversity of developmental, social, physical and emotional needs, as well as implementing new music therapy programs in facilities such as long-term care centres.

Since 2001, Rachael has been the Director of Music Therapy for Jesses Foundation For Music & Dance Therapy, a registered charity making music therapy more accessible to children. (

Rachael completed research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto that was presented in May of 2008, at the Canadian Association of Music Therapy’s 34th annual conference entitled “Music Therapy as an Intervention for Pain". At the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts, Rachael created the No Bounds music program for individuals with special needs. (