This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

The Orillia Centre for Art and Culture has a couple concerts worth seeing this weekend. Friday night Jane Bunnett and Maqueque are playing at St. Paul’s Centre and Saturday night Kune is performing.

Bunnett’s group is a sextet, five of whom are from Cuba. As Lance Anderson says, and I’m paraphrasing, I haven’t heard Cuban music like that before. Lance is the Orillia Centre’s chief concert put’r’together’r. Bunnett has some Junos on the mantel, and with the group a Grammy nomination earlier this year.

Lance also found Kune. Kune is a dozen musicians from the Toronto area, but not from Toronto. They’re all immigrants accept for the one from Manitoba. They don’t have a drummer – they have two!

The music Kune does is strange in a way because each member adds something from their culture into the tunes, so sometimes it sounds like one thing and then another.

As if that’s not enough, Brooke Blackburn, of the blues band Blackburn, is opening for Bunnett and company Friday night. Read more about these shows here. Get tickets for Maqueque here and for Kune here.

Concert Reviews

The Orillia Silver Band began and ended their Sunday afternoon concert at the Orillia Opera House in a stupendous way.

I would never have chosen to start with The Light Fantastic. The song is loaded with changing dynamics, lots of fast notes and full band isolated hits and is just plain scary to play without being suitably warmed up and having your total concentration along for the ride. I guess you could count O Canada as a warm up tune, but to me it’s more a warm up to play something easy to moderately difficult.

It took the audience a second to respond. I think they were still processing what they just heard the Silver Band do. You don’t have to be a musician of any great degree to know the band just pulled off an amazing chart and they audience loved it.

Randy Hoover carried Cry Me River and Rita Arendz did so with An Untold Story in the second half. Both got great ovations for their solo work. The rest of the program was one well done tune after another until they got to the closer, the 1812 Overture. The OSB conductor, Neil Barlow, told the audience it was one of his favourites and they weren’t going to do a shortened version of it like you usually hear, he’d found a brass band arrangement of the entire thing. Oh boy.

He also found some good smoke and lighting effects for the cannon shots at the end. I’m surprised he didn’t have all the churches play their churchbells too. It was stunning, surprising and stunning.

I love a surprise, usually. Especially when Kayla Mahomed ends up being the opening act. For you long time readers, that’s Kayla Elizabeth, she’s using her surname now, or again, she keeps changing he stage name, and the style of music she performs. Friday night it was a mix, some blues, a Patsy Cline tune, and other stuff. One thing hasn’t changed, her singing, She’s still the best singer who should be world famous I know.

She was opening for Zachary Lucky who was opening the plastic sleeve on his new album Midwestern . He had Mitch Thomson (bass) and Ivan Rosenberg (dobro) along for the show. He sang tunes from the new album and from previous albums. His music is the kind of stuff you pay attention to just to hear where the lyrics are going. He didn’t really get to any foot stomping kind of country music until the encore.

The audience, full house, really enjoyed the solos by Rosenberg as much as they liked the tunes wrapped around the solos. I think is a two for the price of one kind of thing.

The Cellar Singers had a concert Saturday afternoon. They haven’t done much to let people know what they’re up to and I discovered by accident they were performing at St. James’ Anglican Church because I was in earlier for the Sunshine Initiative forum. I now you all think I know everything, but that’s because I listen, read my email and check all the flyers and cubbyholes, and when none of those things are happening, well, I’m just as much in the dark as you.

So it was luck and because of the way I had my day organized (stop laughing) I could only stay for the first half of their oratorio, The Creation, by Franz Hayden. This is a piece of music that has a number of quiet and loud parts very side by each, no build or fade, just one second not so loud next to I-heard-you-the-first-time parts. Nothing wrong with that, it sure keeps one interested.

The soloists, Robert Kinar (tenor) and Paul Winklemans (baritone) were pretty good, but then they also had to compete with Amy Dodington, and any soloist who comes here to perform when Amy is also on the bill has a problem called Amy getting noticed or remembered , or at least remembered in detail. Did I say Amy was great?

The Cellar Singers’s next concert is December 14 at St. James’. It’s going to be Christmas music featuring Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and Conrad Susa’s Christmas in the Southwest and you can get tickets online or at the door.

Speaking of choral work, the Cellars actually have a concert sooner than December, as do the choirs of St. Paul’s, St. Andrew’s and Guardian Angels. They’re getting together to do John Rutter’s Requiem November 10 at St. Paul’s Centre at 3 p.m. Blair Bailey is conducting and admission is by freewill offering. It’s a fundraiser for Hospice Orillia.


Are you thinking what I’m thinking this play is about? You are right. Mariposa Arts Theatre’s playing opening November 7 at the Opera House is set in a place and a time where a 20 year drought has caused private toilets to be outlawed – water shortage – and wouldn’t you know, a company has a monopoly on all the public facilities.

The story takes aim at a number of out of whack elements of modern society; you know the things we kind of accept without a lot of thought because we aren’t told everything. This thing even takes aim at musicals as an art form.

It runs to November 17 with Sunday matinees and you can get tickets online. You can also get tickets for Derek Edwards performance November 22 and the 50th anniversary tour stop for the Downchild Blues Band November 23.

One More Thing

Last week when writing about the Orillia & District Arts Council I said there was some fragmentation happening in the arts community, with groups forming to accomplish whatever they need to, and that there were several going down similar paths. I then said people and groups need to reevaluate their lack of participation in ODAC.

In conversation on the subject it occurred to me I also could have said, keep your group which started for whatever purpose. I didn’t mean everyone should abandon whatever projects they are on to be part of ODAC. It’s not that anyone thought I meant otherwise, but I just want you to be sure I’m advocating for a stronger central organization, not doing away with all the others.

The Shorts

*  Orillia’s Fright Night Haunted House is at 370 Gill Street Oct. 30 and 31 from 5:30 to 11 p.m.  A group called Kckreations is behind it. It’s free, donations accepted. They also have an after party with a bonfire and other stuff. There’s a costume contest with cash prizes and you can get tickets and more information here.

*  The Straight Goods and guests are having a benefit concert for the Comfie Cat Shelter Nov. 17 at Lake Country Grill. It’s from 1 to 4 p.m. and cash and/or cat food is appreciated. Saturday night Even Steven is in to play. Chris Lemay is in Nov. 6.

* VK and the Legends of the Deep are playing a gig at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto Nov. 30. Bonus, Reah is opening. You can get tickets online. Reay also has a gig Nov. 23 at the Bracebridge Hall.

*  The Sean Patrick Trio with Bryan McPherson and Meredith Moon have a benefit concert Nov. 16 at OMAH with proceeds going to Green Haven Shelter for Women. Tickets are $10 and you can get them at Alleycats or online.

*  The theme for next year’s Streets Alive art project downtown is a cool little contraption called the Hippie Van. All the details and application forms are at OMAH.  Why vans? It fits with next year’s 60th Mariposa Folk Festival. You have to have your application in by Nov. 15.

Carmichael Landscape Show – Totem VI by P Dumas-Hudecki

*  The Orillia Museum of Art and History has Storytelling Orillia in Saturday night at 7 p.m. for an interesting evening. Michael Jones, Mark Douglas and Tim Greenwood are the storytellers – and Michael will have his piano and cellist Marta Solek along to play some music. Hanging about on the walls see Industrial Legacy: A History of Dorr-Oliver-Long  and Ingrid Mayrhofer’s After Krieghoff and Pest Control, works by John Ross and Amy Swartz. Also up is Tina Poplawski’s When The Green Dark Forest Was Too Silent To Be Real. The Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition opens Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. …  Peter Street Fine Arts has oils and acrylics by Roger Pockett this month…  at Hibernation Arts is opening its Art for Earth show Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.; Nov. 12 Instagram for Artists workshop with Mehreen Shahid happens at 7 p.m.; the monthly Gallery Concert is with Michael Martyn Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. and with Andrew Woodill doing a second one Nov. 28… a number of galleries are participating in a Holiday Art Hop Nov. 22-24… do you remember the poppies I wrote about last year, the ones made by Christina Hartwick? Art and Home Studio has them for sale again ($15) and half the money goes to the legion with almost $2500 raise the last two years.

*  Coming up… the Brownstone has Sunshine Express with Sixteen opening Friday night… the Hog ‘N Penny has trivia night with Bill Dunlop every Thursday evening; Louis LeFaive will play Friday night; Lance Isaacs is in Saturday… Jakob Pearce plays every Thursday evening at Kensingtons… Irish Mythen is at St. Paul’s Centre Nov. 8; get tickets here…   Lance Anderson has a matinee of his Last Waltz show happening Nov. 15 at Peter’s Players… MAT’s next film night at the Galaxy is Nov. 6 with Where’d You Go Bernadette… the 6th Annual Ugly Sweater Bowling Party is Dec. 13; tickets go fast… the Geneva has the Tangents in Nov. 16 for an EP release party, with guests 30 Going on 13, Four Nature Homes and A New High; Nov. 9 the Geneva hosts the Sunshine Initiative’s Repair Café from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. … the Hawkestone Singer’s Christmas Concert is Dec. 14 at the Hawkestone Community Hall; call 705-503-2833 for tickets.

Late addition: The Brownstone added a Halloween gig with Terry Savage and Space Quaker Thursday night.

(Photos/Images Supplied)

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