By John Swartz
Antonio Lanni immigrated to Canada in 1951 and started to raise a family. He couldn’t play piano, but bought one anyway. One of the children was Arnold and he did learn to play. Anyone involved in music knows Arnold Lanni. He was a member of Frozen Ghost and Sheriff, and a producer for Our Lady Piece, Finger Eleven, Simple Plan and others.
Late last year Arnold established a scholarship at Fanshawe College, the $1,000 Antonio Lanni Songwriting Award. The first recipient was just announced and its Twin Lakes Secondary grad Ayden Miller. The winner is selected from senior students of Fanshawe’s Music Industry Arts program.
Ayden was a member of Aurora Blue and last year was added to Bleeker as keyboardist for their live performances – just before the lockdown started, and has his own band New Friends. He also wrote I Need You for band called Pesky Snakes which has been listened to more than 1 million times on Spotify. He’s also won the Sony/ATV Songwriting Award and with his band the Fanshawe’s inaugural Music Industry Artist of the Year.
It’s being updated. Already it has a new look and a good chunk of content, which is being added to. They have a nice section for COVID resource information related to artists.
ODAC has been on a rebound during the housebound year. They added a couple board members and have been brainstorming to return the arts council to the kind of relevance it had not long ago. I think it’s a good thing because I agree with Roy Menagh’s assessment of what will happen when we can go out and play again. He thinks we’re going to see a great surge of artistic creativity not unlike the Roaring 20s – which happened from the emergence of Spanish Flu quarantines.
The period is also known as the Jazz Era. From that grew the Big Band Era, blues music rose in popularity and both created the monster formally known as rock. Musical theater also surged and silent movies took over public imagination culminating with the release of The Jazz Singer in 1927, which in turn created another surge in movie making. Surrealism and Art Deco emerged out of the Cubism, Futurism and Metaphysical styles of the 1910s.
Who knows what will happen, other than something. I have been watching online with interest what young people are doing with all the time they have been gifted. I see teens with nothing to do but practice their instruments and acquire chops which used be achieved by people in their 20s (a smaller group normally having lost those without the patience to continue learning to be better than good).
They are writing some great songs in their solitude. One of the defining things I hear is the absence of being in a studio with producers attached to major labels leaves them to their own devices. They are learning to record. There are so many tutorials online about how to make great recordings, yet instead of over producing songs they are using melody and accompaniment instead of beats. I think eventually a unified style may be identified, but it’s not Dance, Hip Hop, Rap, EDM, or anything like what we are currently hearing on radio stations.
It’s not Metal or Punk either. Sure there are instances of those kinds of music being made, but I think this generation coming has something to say about things (kind of like the late 60s, early 70s kids did) and it’s more reliant on lyrical content which needs this thing called presence and diction in order to be fully appreciated.
I’m not trying to sound like an olde phart here, waiting for a new Led Zeppelin or Rolling Stones, I’m only reporting what I’m finding.
On top of that, they are the kids of the internet, computers and phones. They are making art of their music in a digital world. They have access to editing software and recording devices with power never before available so plentifully and cheaply. They are putting vision to the ear candy and doing it very well. They are combining songwriting with storytelling, using musical notes to augment the lyrics and pictures to augment both.
So, what does all this have to do with ODAC. When this generation gets to go public, they’ll need resources, venues, and help with the legalities, etc. I think those on the ODAC board are also looking into the future. They have a sense of the need for a representative body working on behalf of individual artists. They are even joining forces with regional and national groups. They are wondering ahead about the issues which may, or may, not need a voice of hundreds to further the goals of individuals.
Take the pandemic for example. They immediately started last April to create a list of links for artists to connect them to relief programs. They have been adding to it all along the way. This group was looking out for individuals from the get go. I don’t think I ever want to hear anyone say, “what has ODAC done for us lately?”
They are thinking about how to create art programs for people who don’t do art, now. They got almost $17,000 in grant funding for a new program, Discovering the Artist Within: Expressive Arts for Mental Health. They organized artists and group leaders for a conference call last April and the information gathered helped the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force toward creating the downtown pedestrian mall, which got employment for musicians and created space for galleries to show work to the public. They also donated a membership to the Orillia Youth Centre for the online Master Class website so young people can learn from established artists of all types. They also didn’t let the 2020 Orillia Regional Arts & Heritage Awards wither, taking it online.
What can they do this year? I think that’s up to you. It has always since ODAC was founded in 1999 been up to you. You can get a membership online and start working from the inside toward the future of arts in the Orillia area.
The Leacock Associates’s annual student writing competition is open to high school and college students aged 14 to 19. They are looking for humourous stories of 1500 words or less.
There are prizes of $1,000, $700 and $300. The prize money comes from the Dunkley Charitable Foundation donation, which is sponsoring the student contest and the Medal for Humour prizes for 5 years. Unfortunately the June award weekend is cancelled for another year, so winners won’t get to read their stories at the Friday night schmoozer, or meet the authors up for the big prize.
On the medal for Humour, it’s still happening there just isn’t going to be a dinner. There are 77 books entered and the long list will be announced April 19, the shortlist May 3 and the winner June 4. I have a feeling the 2022 dinner will be a riot because the Leacock Associates are inviting the shortlisters and winners from last year and this year to be on hand in 2022.
Music and Other Stuff
The City of Orillia made a video about how to apply for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. Did you know, artists are also small business operators? Watch it here.
Zachary Lucky is doing a concert from his home on Youtube February 28 at 8 p.m.
Miriam Goldberger’s What Dance Can Do program for seniors was recently featured on CTV’s Marilyn Dennis Show as part of a story about Art Your Service. Miriam was already online, because of you-know-what. The Art Your Service site is just another way for people to reach her programming.
Stanton McKinnon, formerly of Terry Savage and the Wonky Honkies, has been writing some music. You can hear it on his Soundcloud page.
Creative Nomad Studios has a bunch of online workshops and courses coming up.
The Orillia Silver Band has new recordings to listen to. The Earle of Oxford’s Marche is from The William Byrd Suite. They also uploaded Scott Joplin’s Something Doing. You can find the music on their Facebook page.
Check out The Nate Mills Show. Do not sit near the computer keyboard with a coffee or anything liquid in your hands. He’s a master at quick cuts to absurd things you will laugh at.
Cole Mendez is taking to the tubes to pass on his knowledge of music. You can catch him talking about how to make music online – and there are a few surprises on that channel too.
Reay has a new video for the song Junkyard. You can watch it and other video they produced here.
Steven Henry is still singing songs on Saturday nights. Check in at 8 p.m. here. He takes requests and so far, only one tune he didn’t know (only found that out half way through it though).
Joe Huron plays jazz guitar Sunday’s at noon on Facebook. Catch him here.
OMAH’s QuarARTine online art auction fundraiser continues.
(Images Supplied) Main: New Friends band members Cole Wilson, Stefan Boulineau and Ayden Miller from the video The Way.