This week in Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Lance Anderson does it again. He’s doing a benefit concert for the Orillia Youth Centre’s Valis Sound Studio Fund May 3 at St. Paul’s Centre.

Playing along with Lance are his brother-in-law Russ Boswell and Quisha Wint.

This is going to be a fantastic show. Quisha has been part of the Gospel and Blues shows Mariposa has every February and regularly participates in Lance’s other tribute shows. She’s a fantastic performer to have on stage.

Eclectic Café is going to have a 3 course meal as part of the package featuring Nelson Bell’s favourite foods. Nelson is the teen who died in the crash on James Street last summer. His dream was to establish a recording studio.

The menu is basically pizza and beer, euphemistically speaking. The event is licensed, and show me a young guy who doesn’t like pizza as a favouite food and I’ll show you a kid living in anywhere but North America. Never mind Nelson wasn’t of age to drink, but for the sake of following along ignore that. Besides who the heck pairs pizza with wine?

Nelson also liked lasagna and chocolate cake, so there’s that. What I know of Nelson is he was well liked and treated others well, so for you vegetarians in the crowd, there is a vegetarian option.

You’ll be seated at tables the whole evening. Tickets are $150.You can get them at Alleycats Music or online. There won’t be 300 or more tickets available because the show is in-the-round, so ti will be more like 200.

Finding out about this concert reminded me of what I wrote last week regarding how lucky we are to have so much talent living in Orillia and out in the nearby bush .

The idea that we have someone of Lance’s caliber here, that he can get the best musicians to come here to perform, and he’d get behind this cause is remarkable.

And, Lance’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen show (with Matt Weidinger and Chuck Jackson) is at Peter’s Players in Gravenhurst March 30. The evening show is sold out, but there are still tickets for the matinee.


The Orillia Museum of Art and History has some excellent exhibits to see any time you want to go. However, mark your calendar for the 2nd annual Mariposa Gala April 27.

It’s at Lakehead University again. Andre Derrick from Vineland Estates Winery will be there again to walk us through some wine and cheese tasting. The Jazz Byrds will be back to play, jazz – what did you think? There will also be several local restaurants with finger foods like last year (my favourite part).

There will be some differences. Based on last year’s success, I’m going to guess there will be than the 120 people who went; the university certainly has room for more. They have 200 tickets ready to go this time. Last year Dave Beckett made a painting on the spot. This time it’s Tony Bianco, and no he’s not going to be making money, even though he’s our local Canada Mint coin creator.

The other thing different, with more tickets to sell it seems to reason they’ll raise more than the $20,000 last year. The money goes to support OMAH’s outreach partnerships and education opportunities for students heading toward post-secondary arts programs.

Get your tickets here or just click the OMAH image in the sidebar.

March 20, the history speaker’s night guest is Rachel McMillan who will speak about Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Muskoka: Exploring the Local Regions that Inspired Her Life and Work. It’s at 7:30 p.m.

Beatrix Hamilton
Mrs. Leacock, Beatrix Hamilton, (Leacock Museum)

Leacock’s Women

The Leacock Museum is getting in on International Women’s Day (it’s on Friday) activities. They have an exhibit, The Women of Leacock, opening gala Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.

It has artifacts from their collection about his wife Beatrix Hamilton, his mother Agnes Butler, niece Barbara Nimmo, and his sister Dr. Rosamond Leacock.

The exhibit runs all summer. Summer, that’s when it’s warm, sunny, you don’t care where the shovel is just the garden spade, lost your shoes who cares – just in case you forgot what summer is.

Champlain Monument

The City is taking notes, your notes, about the Champlain monument. There’s an online survey, but don’t let your fingers run off and do that now. First finish reading what’s in front of you. Then plan to attend one or more of the workshops the Champlain Monument Working Group is having. They are: Mar. 19 at Swanmore Hall (10 a.m. to noon) Apr. 11 from 7 to 9 at a place to be determined, and April 13 (1 to 3 p.m.) at Rotary Place.

I’ve been reading a lot about this subject in various places online. Don’t go with only what you’ve heard or read on Facebook (unless you read it on my Facebook page(s) because there’s a wee bit of misinformation floating around. You can read what’s transpired until your eyes cross here (scroll down).

Champlain Monument
Champlain Monument, Orillia, Ontario

Cellar Singers

The Cellar Singers had a concert last Saturday night at St. James’ Anglican Church. They performed Bach’s motet, Jesu, Meine Freude, and Eleanor Daley’s Requiem to a smaller audience than normal for one of their concerts.

The Bach flew by in about 35 minutes. There were no soloists. The Requim featured Amy Doddington and Paul Winkelmans. There is no amount of praise I can heap on Amy’s singing several members of the audience already beat me to. The choir was a bit bigger than last time out with 42 singers. They could use about 16 more basses, but that’s just me, bottom end counts more for balance than most people think it does with unamplified sound. More seriously I was glad to see more names in the tenor and bass listing of players in the program. If you want to be part of one of the best choral groups I’ve ever heard, check out their rehearsals Wednesday evening at St. James’. Visit them online to find out more.

Orillia Concert Band

Orillia Concert Band
Members of the Orillia Concert Band

The Orillia Concert Band has a concert happening March 23 at St. Paul’s Centre. They are doing something different in the guest artist category. Dancers from Tapps Performing Arts will be there, which accounts for the concert title, The Spirit of the Dance.

Stop! Hold the electrons. Did I just read they are playing Mambo from West Side Story? Even with my glasses on it looks like that’s what it says. I can’t believe it. Everybody does stuff from West Side Story, but they never do Mambo, which in my opinion is the best tune of the musical. Well, it is if you are a musician, lot’s of meat in that tune.

Whoa, wait a sec. What’s this Maynard Madness on the menu? Could it be a medley of Maynard Ferguson tunes? I don’t know anyone within 50 miles who can play a trumpet like Maynard. Turns out it’s a medley of two of his hits, Coconut Champagne and Rocky. Rocky I get. It was a top 40 hit back in the day, Maynard’s version that is, but Coconut? He did have a disco hit with Maria from West Side Story and a string of others his audiences wouldn’t let him leave without playing, but I can’t even tell you which album Coconut is on. What the heck, you’ll love the Rocky part.

They’ll also hit up stuff from La La Land, The King of Swing, and the waltz from Swam Lake along with some band charts by Frank Tichelli, Robert Buckley and Richard Saucedo (who crossed over form my world of Drum Corps to wind ensemble staples).

Get tickets at the door, $15, $10 for students, $5 for kids 5 to 12, rug rats free, and there’s a family price of $30 (two adults and as many kids you can get in the Prius).

The Shorts

*  Mariposa Arts Theatre’s film night at the Galaxy Wednesday March 6 has Ben is Back at 4 and 7 p.m.; Mar. 20 it’s The Grizzlies.

*  In the Arts District, Lee Contemporary, Tango Artspace, Hibernation Art and Peter Street Fine Arts all have new stuff to see. I hear it’s going to be nice in a few days (not saying which one, not going to jinx it) so make a part of your afternoon better.

Alex the Folk Band
Alex the Folk Band plays Brewery Bay March 17.

*  What would St. Patrick’s Day be without Alex. They’ll be out in full something at Brewery Bay Food Company Mar.17 from 7 to 10 p.m. I’ve heard them say the music gets better toward the end of the night.

* Betty and the Bob’s coming March 30. The band is made up of misfits from other bands – Wendell Ferguson, Rich Greenspoon (Njacko Backo), David Matheson (Moxy Früvous), Soozi Schlanger (Swamperella), Suzie Vinnick, Katherine Wheatley and David Woodhead (Stan Rogers, Valdy and Loreena McKennitt)- no Betty, no Bob. Get tickets online. You won’t need a ticket for the annual audition concert at the Mariposa Inn April 14. Plan for a whole afternoon of new music.

*  The Washago Song Writing Contest deadline is getting closer. Write a song about Washago, record it on video and submit it to by Mar. 15, 2019. There are prizes, $500 for the winner. The top ten get to perform their entry at the Washago Community Centre March 31. I’ll be one of the judges.

*  The folks at St. Paul’s are doing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Arp. 3 to 6, with a matinee on the 6th, and you can do dinner before the show for $25. Tickets are $25, $15 for children under 16, with a group rate available. Get them at the church office Mondays through Thursdays, or at the Bird House downtown. The show on the 3rd is pay what you can.

*  Gordon Lightfoot’s niece, Pegi Eyers has a number of books published and she’s got a fairly new one, Ancient Spirit Rising, at Manticore Books. It was a finalist for the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award, She asks the questions – what were the foundational nation-to-nation agreements in the Americas, and what can be done to right the wrongs of history from a New Age perspective?

*  Tiffin’s Creative Centre is re-imagining a section of their store as a gallery. They are planning a show, Dawning of a Bright New Day – the Art of Grace, April 3 and would like artists interested in participating to call them at 705-325-7205.

*  The Roots North Music Festival main stage performance schedule Apr. 26 starts with Arianna Gillis, then Rose Cousins and Ron Sexsmith closes out the night. Apr. 27 its VK, Alysha Brilla and The Weather Station. Both nights you can check out the art market when doors open at 6 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre. A weekend pass is $45 and you can get them online or at Alleycats Music.

*  Coming up… The Brownstone Cafe has Soda pop Gladstone and the Boogie Man in Thursday night; Craig Robertson is in Saturday night… The Hog N’ Penny has Crowfoot in Friday night; Nicole Duquette is in Saturday night… Lake Country Grill has Chris Lemay in Mar. 6; Steph Dunn is in Mar. 13… the Geneva has Women in Rock (Gearl Jam, As Is, Sarah Stinson) Mar. 8 for an Elizabeth Fry Society fundraiser; tickets are $25 in advance; the Polyester Slackers are playing a fundraiser for Mariposa House Hospice Mar. 30 (tickets at 705-326-3595, 705-329-0202 or Electronic Lifestyles); Outside I’m a Giant is in Mar. 22; Run Rabbit Run (another great band) is in Mar. 23 with Parham’s Cross.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)

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