Rev. Denise Gillard

Rev. Denise GillardFounder, Executive Artistic Director of The HopeWorks Connection and The Toronto Children’s Concert Choir & Performing Arts Company (TC3).

Rev. Denise has won several distinguished awards including The African Canadian Women’s Achievement Award for Excellence in Youth & Women’s Development and The African Canadian Achievement Award for Excellence in Religion.  In 2013 she was awarded the Women Of Excellence Award from the Canadian Glass Awards, as well she graduated from Arrow Leadership’s Executive Stream and she is currently pursuing her certification in Non Profit Management (Trinity Western Institute School of Business/World Vision Canadian Programs).

Born in Oakville, Ontario, Rev. Denise’s father immigrated to Canada from Jamaica; however, her mother’s side of the family comes from Nova Scotia by way of the Black Refugee and Loyalist movements. The musical arts have held a central place in Rev. Denise’s life for as long as she can remember.  Her mother was classically trained and made sure she and her siblings accessed a broad-based and eclectic variety of vocal, instrumental and theatrical training.  At a young age Rev. Denise adapted children’s stories to musicals that toured local libraries and public schools.

Rev. Denise received her undergraduate degree at Tyndale Bible College & Seminary (Toronto), and her post-graduate degree from the Divinity College of McMaster University (Hamilton).  In the Spring of 2001, she published her first children’s picture book, Music From The Sky.  Described as a charming and whimsical book, it tells the story of a young girl and her grandfather who set out one morning to find the perfect branch for Grandpa to whittle into a flute.  Rev. Denise uses an African-Canadian model of storytelling, thereby taking the universal experience of the positive relationships possible between elders and children to motivate youngsters to hold on to and work toward their dreams.

Rev. Denise conducted the choir portion of HopeWorks’ premier program, The Toronto Children’s Concert Choir & Performing Arts Company from it’s inception.  In October 2009, she wrote the song “Show Me The Way To Go” which won TC3 the Covenant Award for Children’s Song of the Year from the Gospel Music Association of Canada.

Known for her gifted preaching and inspiring motivational speaking, she has dedicated herself to inspiring youth and the people who love them to work toward achieving their full potential in the context of faith, service and transformational living.   Her greatest achievements are found in the success of the youth she serves and works alongside of, “I have set my eyes firmly on the vision of youth unleashing their artistic talent and energy as a creative alternative to self-destruction.  It is a privilege to support their journey toward excellence in every area of their lives.”