This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

The next few weekends have a number of concerts happening, with one Thursday night to get things moving.

But first a relevant observation, just because it’s time for the Ontario Winter Games, it doesn’t mean it has to snow. We get 5 hours of sunshine Saturday morning, but the rest of the forecast shows nothing but snow until Saturday evening.

The games opening ceremonies start at 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening at the waterfront. The Free Label will be entertaining after the athlete’s parade and opening words by politicians. By the way, you have one day left to vote for The Free Label in the CBC Searchlight contest.

This will also be the unveiling of Craig Mainprize’s 8×12 foot mural. Also, Tony Bianco, our personal Canadian Mint coin designer, designed the medals awarded to athletes.

The Cellar Singers are doing Bach’s St. John Passion Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at St. James’ Anglican Church. They’ll have a 12 piece orchestra. The soloists performing are Charlie Davidson (Evangelist), Michael York (Jesus), Graham Robinson (Pilate) and Amy Dodington. Those are the top billing and out of towners, though Amy is often here in the ranks. The Cellars also have three members taking solo roles. They are Klaas Koiter, Faith Roebuck Shergold  (Maiden), and (Peter), and Jean François Roi (Servant).

This piece of music is usually performed at Easter, which caused me to double check the calendar. Easter is in April, the Cellars are just doing it early. Get tickets here.

Sunday, the other choir, The Orillia Vocal Ensemble has a concert at St. Paul’s Centre. This time they are raising funds for the Mariposa House Hospice.

They’ll be singing pieces by Brahms, Vivaldi, Lauridsen and Rutter. They’ll also be doing Pussy Willows, Cat-Tails (and If I have to tell you whose song that is – oh, if only I could reach you) and You Raise Me Up. The OVE chamber group will carry the second half of the program.

Admission is by donation.

The Band’s Play On

Sean Murray and Reay

Reay is playing the Geneva March 7. If you don’t get out much and like good music, here’s your chance. The music on their new album, written by Sean Murray, is very well crafted. It only took him 15 years to get the ideas out of his head and into a computer.

I just had a thought. What if some day some kid is reading this, say 50 years in the future and he reads the part about how long it took to get something from one’s head into a computer. Poor kid is going to be confused and think I meant 15 nanoseconds or something like that.

If you’ve taken advantage of listening to the album you know Reay is great. Each of the tunes has a different flavour. The double your pleasure part of the show is another great band is opening at 8:45 p.m. The time is prominently displayed on their promo material, so I’m guessing you shouldn’t show up at 9:30 or 10. VK and the Legends of the Deep have a big sound and good tunes. I think this will be a fantastic night. You can get tickets here, or at Allleycats Music & Art or at the door.

Orillia Concert Band Rehearsing

The Orillia Concert Band has a concert March 7 at St. Paul’s Centre. The 7:30 p.m. concert is built around movie music. Cassie Dasilva is the guest performer.  You can listen to Still In Love, which she will sing in the first half, and Welcome to My Castle here. She’ll also sing Skyfall and Blue Moon with the OCB.

The OCB is really going off the rails for this concert of movie tunes, they are not doing Frozen, but they aren’t going too far off because they are doing Gabriel’s Oboe. Some of the other pieces like stuff from The Incredibles and Pirates of the Caribbean will be familiar, and I’m sure some of the pieces  (Music for a Darkened Theatre [Elfman], and a medley of Hans Zimmer’s stuff) will also be familiar. There are however a couple of maybe not so well-knowns like Panis Angelicus which was used in Ladybird and Philomena, and Viktor’s Tale from The Terminal.

The most you’ll pay for a ticket is $30, but that gets you, the other half and the kids in; everything else is less than that and you can get them at the door.

The Orillia Silver Band has their 70th anniversary concert at the Opera House soon. They’ve been around that long, though there were a few years in the middle were a resurrection was needed. This is so important, they are going to do the concert twice, once March 22 and then April 4.  The guest musicians are Even Steven and Lisle.

They have more guests, Ruth Watt, Chris Newton, Mike Hill, Linda Rodenburg, Dave Town, and Steve Clarke, who will be telling stories about what happened in Orillia during the last 70 years. Advance tickets on sale for $5 off until March 17 and you can get them online.

The set list of music isn’t final yet, but they are doing the first movement from Beethoven’s first symphony, Verdi’s Anvil Chorus, and Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture.

So I’m sitting here, typing away on Tuesday when the little Facebook nagger chimed and popped up. Hmmm, I thought what is Bleeker up to. It turned out to be a live broadcast of an appearance they made on Paste Magazine‘s Facebook page. You can replay it here or on Youtube.

Paste is an entertainment magazine based in Atlanta, with offices in New York City, which is where the boys did their three song set/interview. The tunes are from their new album which will be out in May. Congrats guys you sounded good, and looked good – and you know what Billy Crystal (as Fernando Lamas) said, “it is better to look good than it is to sound good.” I know, he actually said feel good, but he would have said sound good in this case.

Bleeker has tickets on sale for their summer tour in the U.S. They have some nice gigs including the Masonic Temple in Detroit, the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J.  and the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. They are touring with The Beaches, AWOLNATION, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. The closest they’ll be is at Artpark in Lewiston, N.Y. May 31.

And, Impact Live is looking for bands for its Rock 95 Breakout Sound Concert Series . Apply here. Anyone getting the gig for the April 18 show will also get recording time. “All Breakout Sound participants get one song recorded at We Love Sound studio ($150 value). Bands selected to open for bigger shows get 10 hours recorded/mixed ($500 value)”

Well, That Was Different

The Orillia Centre for Arts and Culture’s Artist Talk event at the Opera House last Saturday was interesting. Luke Garwood had a virtual reality display in the lobby. I tried it. It was the first time I’ve done it and I can certainly see the appeal, every bit of your mind is focused on the scene you see.

Luke’s art installation was such that you had to position yourself according to a capture of the placement of hands feet and head of the person before you – and then the ‘game’ so to speak, started. Every move I made altered the image I saw. It took a few seconds for me to realize what was going on, and then once I got the hang of it, it froze. I was in a looking up and reaching up position. The little kid behind me was going to have a problem matching my position. On hindsight, I don’t know why I didn’t stay to see how he managed. I did say good luck as I handed off the headset.

In the Green Room Will McGarvey was showing some new pieces and there was quite a discussion about a portrait of a clansmen going on. Of course he’s making a statement about the disturbing shift in politics.

Leo Martyn also had his art (watercolour, marker, digital) and sculptures on hand. I think at 13, he was enjoying all the attention.

Upstairs in Gord’s Room, the program started with a ballet dance by Lauren Cookson. She’s also pretty young and from Bracebridge. Veda Sharpe and Bayze Murray were next. Their stuff sounded nice, but the mix wasn’t the best so I won’t say much about their music. The difference was found when Zachary Lucky took the stage. He’s played everything from closets to, well, stages like the Opera House and likely has the innate ability to size up the room and how he sounds to make the best impression. He sang tunes from his new album, Midwestern.

Next up was the Q&A of the performers. However, when the house lights came up I thought it was intermission and went outside for some fresh air. Of course, there was a protest going on and I got caught up grabbing pictures and info for last Saturday’s story about it. This meant I missed almost all of the Q&A. Next was a performance by the dance company Adelheid who performed two pieces choreographed by Heidi Strauss.

The first piece was long and had elements of many different styles of dance in it. The music was hard to grasp at first, freeform, no discernible patterns, but eventually it settled into something more regular. The company was in town most of the week working on it and Strauss said it still has a long way to go. Having been involved with choreographed pieces before, albeit with 40 times as many performers, credit is due to the dancers for remembering where and what they were supposed to be doing at any given moment in such a short amount of time. Injuries could have been sustained.

For the second piece, the audience was invited onstage and we sat in a circle around the dancers. What they did had no music accompaniment, and I’m thinking some of it was ad lib. All together both pieces were an interesting experience.

The Shorts

*  Orillia Secondary School students are doing Disney’s High School Musical March 4 to 7 at the school. It’s the first musical being done in the new school. You can get tickets ($15 / $10 for students & seniors) at the school office.

*  Reuben and the Dark, and Alysha Brilla are coming back to Orillia for the Mariposa Folk Festival. Also announced are 7 other acts playing the festival. They are, Mandolin Orange, Lonesome Ace Stringband, Zaki Ibrahim, Jane’s Party. Lloyd Spiegel, Trio Svin and Andrew Queen & the Campfire Crew. And mark Mar. 28 down for a return of Union Duke to Orillia for a Mariposa-in-concert gig at St. Paul’s Centre. Get those tickets here.

*  Have you got Roots North tickets yet? They have a great line up for the main stage at St. Paul’s Centre. See Steve Poltz (Mariposa last year), William Prince (played here two years ago), Begonia, Wild Rivers, Lydia Persaud and Craig Mainprize. Get tickets here.

*  OMAH has a new fundraiser called Speakeasy Night. If you think this has anything to do with speaker’s night, it doesn’t. There is a jail in the basement. It has a 1920s theme. Use your imagination. Ticketsare $50 and $75. There are only 40 of the latter and you get special treatment. The annual International Women’s Day Art ShowShe Shoots… She Scores  and Tracey Lawko’s At Risk hanging around to look at.

*  Hibernation Arts has their Spring Group Show opening Mar. 7 at 1 p.m.; Jakob Pearce is the gallery concert choice for Mar. 11 at 7 p.m. Lee Contemporary Art has 14 artists participating in the annual Paper exhibit and Peter Street Fine Arts has new work by a new artist, Cameron MacDonald, featured this month.

*  Coming up… the Brownstone has an Open Mic Night every Tuesday; Brooklyn Doran and Andrew Sherriff play Saturday night… the Hog N’ Penny has Darrin Davis in Fridaynight; Mark Thackway is in Saturday…  the Jazz Byrds play Sanafir every Saturday evening… MAT’s next film night at the Galaxy is Mar. 4 is with the Oscar winning Parasite  at 4 and 7 p.m. … Ashley Mac Isaac is playing at St. Paul’s Centre March 17 and you can get tickets here… Hobo Jam plays Fionn MacCools Friday night.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)

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