This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

The 4th annual fall concert fundraiser for the Orillia Youth Centre happens Saturday night at Fern Resort. It’s a new venue. The first one was at the Geneva, then at Burl’s Creek for two years. The moves are about audience size.

“We’re setting up for 200 people,” said the youth center’s Kevin Gangloff.

At this moment, there are 30 tickets left, which can be bought at Dapper Depot, Alleycats Music, or online. The Bergwen Conference Centre at Fern holds more, but Kevin said he knows the resort has two other weekend events happening and he’s told there will be people wanting to go to the concert, so he’s got tickets to be sold at the door.

Getting to the concert is going to be easy for some, there’s a free bus leaving the parking lot across from Brewery Bay Food Company at 5:40 p.m. and bringing people back after the show.

Logistics out of the way, maybe you’d like to know who is playing. Meredith Moon is opening, Billy Pettinger will perform next and Danny Michel will close the night. It’s a pretty good lineup.

Danny Michel

Danny Michel shouldn’t need an introduction, or hype. He’s played here enough times and draws a pretty good crowd (a few thousand at Mariposa? OK, there were others to see too). I rarely miss one of his gigs, and there a number of others with the same attitude. It’s fun to chat with people who have never seen Danny play before. The general sentiment is, “how did I not know about this guy?”

“He’s creative and technically proficient,” said Kevin. “Danny puts on such a great performance. He’s solo this time. Whatever iteration he brings, he’s entertaining, enjoyable, and he’s such a great story teller.”

Meredith Moon at Mariposa 2017 (by James Dean)

Meredith Moon has also played in town several times. Her dad grew up here. She’s quite comfortable by herself on stage, but sometime she has some help.

“Sometimes Sean (Patrick) jumps up and plays,” said Kevin.

Pettinger is the unknown factor. Aside from having played last year’s fundraiser, most people don’t know her music.

“I’ve loved Billy’s music going back a number of years. She’s originally from Vancouver and now she lives in the States. She lives in Alabama. She started touring in the Punk Rock vein, then towards singer-songwriter,” said Kevin. It’s likely she made some new fans at last year’s gig, but there were still enough people on hand who were familiar with her music.

Billy Pettinger

“Billy hadn’t toured in Canada in about 6 years. When we announced her show last we had people from all over Ontario buy tickets. When I announced Billy again this year, again tickets from all over Ontario. It’s really neat. We’ve got people coming from London, we got people coming from Toronto. It’s amazing, her draw,” said Kevin.

Kevin just emailed her both times asking if she’d be interested in coming here to perform. This time her show features some music from a new album, and it will be a little different.

“She’s going to do 5 or 6 songs with a band and the rest will be solo,” said Kevin.

As a fundraiser, each year has been successful.

“We’ have a silent auction, ticket sales, everything’s coming back to the youth centre, 100%,” said Kevin.

“We’ve been very fortunate the last couple years to have a grant that’s been very generous,” so the costs get covered Kevin said. That includes paying the talent. “Our musicians have been very generous too. Too often everything is free, free, free. You can’t make a living doing that if you are a musician.”

The audiences typically span the spectrum from full heads of hair to patchy gray stuff. That said, this is a great opportunity for younger people, those learning to play an instrument, particularly guitar, to get a close look at a master doing his thing, Danny is one of the better guitar players. From a writing perspective, you’d pick up some things from Meredith and Billy. Kevin gets that.

“We have a few people who sponsor some tickets, so we went to OSS (Orillia Secondary School) and talked to Laura Lee (Matthie) and encouraged young people to come out. These kinds shows are open and accessible to all, and entertaining for people of all ages.”

The concert is also produced by Sarah Duffy and the Roots North Music Festival.

Jazz Festival Looming

Not really, not in a sinister way, but certainly coming soon. Just today they announced the main concert at St. Paul’s Centre for Sunday October 20 and two guesses who the name on the marquee is.

Half of you are probably right. Lance Anderson has put together a band, (John Johnson (Boss Brass) sax, William Sperendei (Harry Connick Jr.) trumpet, Russ Boswell (Holly Cole) bass and Charlie Cooley (Manteca) drums) and they concert is called Maiden Voyage.

This is going to be awesome because it’s all Herbie Hancock Music. Here are my requests – Hang Up Your Hang Ups, Spank-a-Lee, Chameleon and Watermellon Man. Those tunes happen to be two thirds of the live 1975 Flood Album, of which Maiden Voyage is also on it. The release mentions the latter two songs, which most people are familiar with, even if they don’t know they are familiar with them. So I’m hoping Hang Up and Spank find their way into the set list.

This makes number 4 of Lance’s jazz tribute shows. The others were Ellington and Basie, Mile Davis and Nat King Cole. If he ever gets around to Buddy Rich, I’ll fall off my chair. I’d settle for Krupa, but I won’t fall off my chair.

Tickets are on sale now. You can also get them at Alleycats Music.

And before I get out of this, Lance has his Last Waltz show happening November 15 at Peter’s Players.

Let’s Do Everything On The Same Day

Saturday is going to busy. The Orillia Public Library has the How-To Festival, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 28. They have workshops ranging from art & crafts, to food & drink, outdoors & the environment, health & wellness, and home organization and decorating. You can see the full schedule of 40 workshops here. The Orillia Fire Department will have a truck in the parking lot for kids to check out.

The folks at the Leacock Museum  have A Royal Downton Picnic Saturday afternoon at the museum. There are prizes for best dressed.

There will be games, of the 1927 vintage the recently released movie is set in, like badminton, a trivia game and others. There’s a cash bar. The 10 piece Sunshine Strings will be playing music, and the Leacock folks are encouraging this as a family event. Tickets are $35 and you get them online.

And don’t forget to fill out the survey regarding the future of the Leacock Museum by Oct. 14

Dave Beckett has a show at his Marchmont studio Sept. 27/28/29. He’s got a door prize, a print of his By Still Waters and the first 50 visitors will get a print of his Georgian Bay painting.

Saturday at 4 and 6:30 p.m. the Canadian premier of the PBS Charlie Pride production I’m Just Me is happening at the Geneva. Interviews were shot at Casino Rama in March 2018. Bill Dunlop did some of the post production on the documentary. The producer Barb Hall and journalist Marty Melhuish will be here to talk about the making of it. I understand there will be additional content for Canadian audiences. Also at the Geneva is No Map Required Green Book Edition (2 comedians, 1 car, no driver) Friday night. Get tickets here.

The Shorts

*  The Ringos Comedy Troupe was at the Geneva last Thursday with their show 80s Kids Will Understand. The group has 2 writers Brendan Main and Colleen Waltenbury, 2 performers Kristen Keller and Bryan Piitz, and director Betony Main. It’s not a bad little show. Most everyone was laughing most of the time, but those folks were crowded up near the stage. Further back in the house some of the lines, especially punch lines, were lost because no microphones and no projection. It’s a sketch show, so not all of it was lost in translation because of the physicality of it.

*  ODAC’s annual general meeting is Oct. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at St. James’ Anglican Church.  Visit their website before you go and catch up on the history of ODAC, maybe take out a membership, and plan to be there.

*  The Mariposa Folk Festival’s winter concert program starts Oct. 26 with an Echoes of Mariposa event. The Echoes are designed to give audiences a second crack at some of the previous summer festival’s performers. Rick Fines, The Doozies and James Gray will be playing at St. Paul’s Centre. Tickets are $35 in advance.

*  The Orillia Museum of Art and History has a new exhibits, Ingrid Mayrhofer’s After Krieghoff and  Pest Control, works by John Ross and Amy Swartz are up. Also up is Gary Blundell and Victoria Ward’s Project Voyager and Tina Poplawski’s When The Green Dark Forest Was Too Silent To Be Real. Peter Street Fine Arts has new work by Robyn Rennie this month. Lee Contemporary Art has Dan Nuttall’s Ruralia exhibit up. At Hibernation Arts see Mary Jo Pollack’s Equinox, and the house concert series starts Thursday at 7 p.m. with Sean Patrick and Darrin Davis ($20). October 2 from 7 to 8:30 pm Mehreen Shahid will help artists learn to manage Instagram ($50 per person)

*  Coming up… the Brownstone has the Ewan Macintyre Band playing Friday night; the Honky Tonk Zeros are in Saturday night… the Coldwater Fall Fair is Sept. 27-29… the Hog ‘N Penny has Darrin Davis in Friday; the Jazz Standards are in Saturday… Jakob Pearce plays every Thursday evening at Kensingtons… Lake Country Grill has Even Steven in Sept. 28… Irish Mythen is at St. Paul’s Centre Nov. 8; get tickets here. the Opera House has Pavlo in Oct. 9 for a night of stories and song with Cameron Smillie… the Images Studio Tour is Oct. 11 to 14.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia, Images Supplied)

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