This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

The Maple Blues Award nomination list came out last week and Lance Anderson’s Matchedash Parish CD, Saturday Night, got two nominations. The CD itself, with Lance as producer, is up for Record of the Year and the band is up for New Artist of the Year.

While many of the award category winners are chosen by committee, those two are chosen by fan voting. Go to the website and register to vote. You will get an email  with a password and a link back to the voting page where you can vote for Lance’s project and several other categories.

Interestingly, Larkin Poe, who was here last summer for Mariposa is up for the International Artist award. The Downchild Blues Band is up for Entertainer of the Year, Paul DesLauriers, who played at the Geneva, is up for Electric Act of the Year, Matt Andersen, who played the Opera House, is up for Acoustic Act, Harrison Kennedy, who was here for a Mariposa Blues and Gospel gig, is up for Male Vocalist, Shakura S’Aida hasn’t played here for a while, but she’s got some kind of record for playing Orillia a lot, is up for Female Vocalist, Michael Fonfara will be here next week with Downchild and he’s up for the Blues With a Feeling award.

The awards happen February 3, 2020 at Koerner Hall in Toronto and Lance told me the band will be one of 5 performing at the awards ceremony.

Back to Matchedash, the band debuted at Mariposa in 2018 as the last act and my memory of it is, the crowd hung out and loved it, rather than hitting the highway to beat the rush on a Sunday night. The 12 piece band is loaded with top players from a number of other bands like Manteca, Harry Connick Jr., Al Green, Colin James, Danny Michel, and – I love this one – the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir. Lance even has 2 drummers in the band, how can it get any better?

Also Lance has almost sold out 3 shows at Peter’s Players Friday and Saturday. Because of adding the matinee on Saturday, people traded tickets and opened up a few spaces for the previously sold out Friday and Saturday evening shows – but there are only 4 or less seats available (as of Monday) for each show. Go to Peter’s website to snap them up.

Chuck Jackson has been part of the mix for The Last Waltz in the past, but won’t be this time around because he’s out west with the Downchild Blues Band – but we get to see him November 23 when the band brings its 50th anniversary show to the Opera House.

I spoke with Chuck last week and wrote a story about Downchild’s gig and Chuck had this to say about working with Lance’s various projects:

“We just did a great Woodstock show, the Last Waltz, we do our tribute to Mad Dogs and Englishmen – we’re going down to Panama in the New Year with the Mad Dogs and Englishmen show.”  He’s a happy camper.

Too Soon?

Well, at least it waited until the 11th to really snow, and get cold enough to freeze my fingers at the Remembrance Day ceremony. That means the nutty season is starting.

Friday night is the Children’s Candlelight Parade. It starts at 6:30 p.m. at the legion and ends at the Opera House. Sunday is the annual chamber of commerce Santa Claus Parade at 1 p.m.

Not Christmas related, but still a festival, Friday at the Quality Inn (formerly the Highwayman Inn) is the Diwali Dhamaka 2019. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights, which symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. I think that’s kind of a good reason to celebrate. Its from 5 p.m. to midnight and there will be Indian food, music and dancing and prizes. It’s free to attend, but you still need a t ticket. Call 705-350-0283, 705-332-1661 or visit Appearance Salon on Laclie Street.

And we’re having our first Christmas Market November 22 – 24. It’s mainly happening at St. James’ church and several downtown merchants are involved too.  There will be music. On the Friday the Drifters will perform at 1:30 p.m. there’s a sing-a-long at 3 and the Orillia Little Big Band plays at 7 p.m.

Saturday there will be a steady stream of young people performing music starting at 10 a.m. Some, but not all, of the Orillia Silver Band will play at 1:30 p.m. and The Quire and The Coopers will play at 7. There’s music on Sunday too, but the lineup isn’t set yet.

So what else is happening? Lots of artists, Pam Allen, Hannah Mark, Cathy Mark, Makers Market, Xavier Fernandes, and Pedal People are among those with stuff to buy. The event is sponsored by the DOMB, Creative Nomad Studios, Makers Market and Orillia Home Hardware.

And I’m creating a little Christmas concert section. There have been a few listed way down below for a couple weeks but what the heck, I’m going to make it easy for you to find the stuff.

Obviously the first one has to be the Orillia Concert Band’s Christmas Prelude December 7. Usually, at least for me, this is the event that signals it’s Christmas time, but it’s a week later this year. I promise not to get in the mood until then now get off my lawn. It’s at St. Paul’s Centre and the St. Paul’s choir will join the OCB for the 7:30 p.m. show.  There’s a shorter version in the afternoon for the kids at 3:30 p.m. Tickets for the afternoon are a maximum of $20 (family, two adult acting types, and as many rug rats as you have) and range downward. The evening show is $30 and you can still bring the kids because a little extra cheap entertainment isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Also the Hawkestone Singer’s Christmas Concert is December 14 at the Hawkestone Community Hall; call 705-503-2833 for tickets. The Jubilee Chorale’s Christmas concert is December 1 at 2:30 p.m. at Westmount United Church. The Orillia Silver Band concert is December 15 at the Opera House.

The Cellar Singers’s concert is December 14 at St. James’ 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.

When You Gotta Go

*  I’m not the only one who thinks Mariposa Arts Theatre’s Urinetown is a great production. I’m seeing comments all over the place from those who have seen it who also say it’s great, albeit with fewer words than my review.

As I reflect on it a week later, I still can’t get over how good the ensemble cast is with the dancing and singing. The timing of the whole thing is like a machine, especially when the lighting effects come into play. It’s in Gord’s Room so you will be able to get tickets for any night this week or the matinee on Sunday.

Held Over, Second Week: Can Speak English With 8 Different Accents

If you wondered what the title last week referenced, even after reading the details, I discovered James Bond – the character – is able to speak 8 languages. The James Bond I happen to know can barely speak English with an English accent.

The folks at the Leacock Museum have figured out organizing events around dress up themes works and now they have Live and Let Dine.

They take these themed events seriously at the museum and there will be team building exercises, games, brain teasers, and a Bond themed meal. Tickets are $75 for the November 22 affair and you can call the museum, 705-329-1908, to get them.

Also happening at the Leacock Museum is Rising Tides: Reflections for Climate Changing Times. Its readings and discussion about climate change and creative writing with authors Kate Story, Catriona Sandilands, Deborah McGregor, Hillary McGregor, and Sam Dewaele Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. It’s free and you can find out more and register here.

The Award Goes To…

The Orillia & District Arts Council and OMAH Orillia Regional Arts & Heritage Awards program Nov. 27 at the Geneva is shaping up nicely. Many who went last year, and went in previous years were surprised and happy at how the event has turned from a small gathering to a real celebration of our talented artists, and now history people.

Last year’s awards night had 140 people on hand, versus the 40 or 50 anyone can remember being the largest audience in the past and there should be more people attending this year because it’s a great night of entertainment. The Little Big Band will be playing, the bar will be open and I’ve actually written some original jokes to aid my notes as emcee. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. It’s free. Just go.

The Shorts

* Chuck Panozza Youth Legacy Awards are happening Friday at Rustica from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Chuck is the original bassist with Styx, still makes appearances from time to time, notably when the band plays at Casino Rama – which they are doing Friday. The award is given out annually to youths who do something spectacular and was started by Kevin Gangloff of the Orillia Youth Centre and Chuck. Side note, Larry Gowan (he’s been a member of Styx for years – in case you didn’t know) is lightly penciled in to play with his own band at Peter’s Player in February.

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

* The 6th Annual Ugly Sweater Bowling Party  at Orillia Bowl has the first two blocks of time sold out. The third time block from 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. is now on and Bleeker is going to be playing – bowling and their instruments. The event happens Dec. 13, tickets go fast.

*  The Straight Goods and guests are having a benefit concert for the Comfie Cat Shelter Sunday at Lake Country Grill. It’s from 1 to 4 p.m. and cash and/or cat food is appreciated. Charlotte and the Dirty Cowboys play Saturday night.

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

*  Mike Howell’s Orillia Parks & Rec painting program has expanded to 2 classes. Last year he organized an exhibit of student work at the Opera House for the first time in 5 years of the program. Round 2 is Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m., same venue. Proceeds from the silent auction of selected pieces go to Building Hope.

*  Dan Bazinet is having his annual birthday fundraiser at the Brownstone Dec. 6 to raise money for the Lighthouse Soup Kitchen. Dan is playing and will have some guests along to entertain.

Margit Koivisto’s Winner

*  The Orillia Museum of Art and History  annual Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition is great. Natalie Baker won the Paul Quarrington award, Margit Koivisto the juror’s prize and Midori Fullerton  won the Kevin J. Batchelor Emerging Artist award. Also see Industrial Legacy: A History of Dorr-Oliver-Long  and Ingrid Mayrhofer’s After Krieghoff. OMAH is partnering with Lee Contemporary for an exhibit called It’s Revealing, featuring work from the Life Drawing class, which will be sold by silent auction. It’s at Lee’s Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. for the rest of the month.

Peter Street Fine Arts is having their annual 6×6 show in December and January. Anyone can participate by picking up two boards ($15), do your thing and bringing them back to be in the show. This long-running show is great for others to pick up a small, reasonably priced, one of a kind gift…  Hibernation Arts has Art for Earth show on display;  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 Arts District galleries are participating in a Holiday Art Hop Nov. 22-24.

*  Visit the Facebook page for the movie, Who You Know, which was shot in Orillia summer 2018, follow the instructions and you could win tickets for the showing at the Opera House Dec. 4.

*  If you’re going to celebrate being 60 as the Mariposa Folk Festival is next year, you might as well go big. There are some who consider Gord, Bob Dylan, and Leaonard Cohen as the best of folk, but there are some who will say John Prine is the king. Prine is the first headliner announced for next year’s festival and tickets are on sale at reduced rates right now.

*  Coming up… the Hog ‘N Penny has trivia night with Bill Dunlop every Thursday evening… Jakob Pearce plays every Thursday evening at Kensingtons… the Jazz Byrds play Sanafir this weekend…  MAT’s next film night at the Galaxy is Nov. 20 with Maiden at 4 and 7 p.m. at the Galaxy… 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… Max Metcalf’s band, John’s Cottage is playing Lee’s Palace in Toronto Nov. 20 along with the Kents; get tickets here

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia: Unrinetown by Deb Halbot)

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