This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Things are looking up, we have a concert happening August 22 at the Opera House. The Mariposa Folk Festival is presenting Matchedash Parish. This is Lance Anderson’s rather large ensemble of 12 musicians. They closed out the last Mariposa Folk Festival anyone was at in 2018.

“Lance was our last live performance in February 2020, the Gospel and Blues concert. So we approached him and he was thrilled to work with us again. To that end we are employing 12 artists and something like 10 production crew, so the employment opportunity is great for the industry and it’s an opportunity for patrons who are comfortable to come and see some live music again and to launch Mariposa back into live performance,” said the Mariposa Folk Foundation’s president Pam Carter.

They are able to do because of a grant.

“During the COVID shutdown we’ve been on a lot of video conferences and teleconferences with the Canadian Live Music Association. They partnered up with Kinaxis In Concert. Kinaxis (Inc.) is a company from Ottawa that provided a grant to the Canadian Live Music Association for performance organizations across Canada and they were offering 30 grants so Mariposa applied,” she said.

Kinaxis develops software and platforms for a wide range of businesses and business operations. They say their product is meant to let people make better decisions and ultimately work less and enjoy life outside of work. To that latter’s end they put up $250,000 to provide grants to organizations to produce live music events. The MFF had to wait until Stage 3 was established to be able to hold this concert.

“It was basically revitalization of the industry, the venues in particular, and artists and production of course. We had planned to do a concert in June, but then with the lockdown we were in, in May and the possibility it would get extended, which it did, we decided it was too risky to go ahead with the June date and cancelled. Now we are in Step 3 and venues are opening up again and artists are starting to book again we decided it was an opportune time to take advantage of the grant and host a live concert.”

Having concerts indoors of the caliber of production Mariposa excels at in the summer is not standard operating procedure for Mariposa. Their fall and spring local concerts are much simpler affairs to produce. Going to the Opera House will allow slick production elements and may have more to do with being able to limit and control a crowd sufficiently for the SMDHU to approve than to pull all the pieces together and do it outside.

“They have a capacity of about 200 to 250 based on provincial regulations. However, they’ve got this really brilliant ticketing program, so when people buy tickets the program automatically calculates the physical distancing, so once the Opera House is out of physical distancing space it cuts off ticket sales. So it’s hard to gauge what the numbers will be, if people by in groups of two then you’re going to use physical distancing for every group of two, if people buy in groups of 10 they can stay in that bubble of 10 and that bubble gets physically distances, so it all depends on the ticket purchase and how many people are in the bubble,” Carter said.

In a closed environment they can also better control the things all the rest of us are concerned about, keeping any spread of COVID limited.

“The whole Opera House is what they call seat clean, that whole auditorium will be totally cleaned, the elevators the washrooms, the green room for the artists, everything gets cleaned before we go in. the artists and the production crew are double vaccinated. Patrons will have to be masked and if for a particular reason they can’t be masked they will be given a seating area distanced from the other patrons, and there’s a City COVID officer on site from the time we enter to do load in to the time we leave, so the COVID requirements are really quite comprehensive and I’m totally confident that people will be safe based on the meetings we’ve had with the Opera House, the City, who has also been in communication with the people at the health unit who approved their occupancy plan. I am absolutely confident this will be a great and safe event.”

Despite all that, there are still people who would like to go to see the concert, but are also not willing to wade into crowded places. Mariposa has that base covered too.

“Tickets are on sale now, but we’re also going to be streaming it on our social media sites on the 27th and the streaming will be free. We wanted to be up front with patrons there were two options,” said Carter. “There will be people who are still not comfortable coming out, or maybe have a compromised situation that doesn’t allow them to come out, plus by steaming it there is a huge reach for Mariposa because anybody in the world can dial in.”

So, “what’s this Matchedash Parish,” some of you may be wondering? Others might be thinking, “I didn’t know there was a Catholic church on Matchedash Street?” It’s a huge band with 12 musicians – with two drummers plus a percussionist – how much better can it get?

Matchedash Parish

If you’ve ever been to any of the spring MFF Gospel and Blues concerts, you will recall you had a great time, and the bands were smoking hot. Lance knows every musician of worth in the GTA and assembles some great bands when he needs them. For this project he got a bunch together who could make a commitment to a long term project rather than a short term festival or weekend gig. All the members of the band are heavy hitters.

They have recorded an album and I dare you to listen to Saturday Night in its entirety and not be suitably impressed a guy from Orchard Point and his friends could make such a fantastic album, that you won’t find yourself feeling better, maybe dancing around the house a bit, and quite happy with yourself for spending the time to listen to it. If you don’t have an hour right now, at least listen to their complete reworking of Lady Madonna and try and come up reasons why it doesn’t measure up.

I’ve been listening to the album while making typing mistakes because It’s been a while since I have heard it, and I’m reminded how exceptionally good it is.

Oh, and the name comes from the old township which existed north of Coldwater once upon a time and that the style is decidedly southern/New Orleans is nature. It just occurred to me how fitting it is since Matchedash Bay is kind of swampy.

You can get tickets online. And you can also use that link to get tickets for Leacock Museum tours (see below) the Mariposa Art Theatre’s Shakespeare play at Stevie’s house (see below) and for the summer theater presentation of Norm Foster’s Old Love running from August 18 to September 3.

Friday Night

Mississaga Street and the Arts District are going to be closed again. I’m not going to make any comment on the weather because anytime I’ve ever done so the weather gods made me look foolish, but suffice to say the only wetness you’ll encounter will be under arm, if the website that can’t make a prediction any better than a one-armed bandit can return 7s across the board every pull of the handle is to be believed.

Creative Nomad Studio’s next outdoor event will be next Friday. Cloud Gallery has a new show to see. Hibernation Arts featured artist is MJ Pollak and Gayle Schofield, Barbara Schmidt and the Zephyr artist have brought in new pieces. Peter Street Fine Arts’s featured artist of the month is Tammy Robinson.

OMAH is open. Stop by to see Will McGarvey’s exhibit, Sticks and Stones. You can also check out the opening with Will and Jill Price online. OMAH also has some outside things you can do. A Friday night tour for families is open for registration, and they have a Saturday morning outdoor program for kids. They’ll be on the street Friday nights with activities. They also have an interesting tour called Gangs, Guns and Grog: True Stories of Orillia’s Wild West Days Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. Register online.

Youth Centre Concert
Sky Wallace (Photo By Nelson Mouellic

I got a note from Kevin Gangloff a couple days ago that made my day. He was writing to say Skye Wallace is the third piece of the puzzle for the Roots North Revisited youth centre fundraising concert September 25 at ODAS Park.

So that’s Roger Harvey from Pennsylvania and Skye hitting the stage before the headliner, Irish Mythen. I don’t know how I’m going to handle this because Skye is one of my favourite musicians, Roger’s music I’m getting to like, and there is no one out there who can tear up a stage like Irish Mythen.

There are still some tickets left. Originally they were only allowed to sell 100 tickets and they were cleared for another 75. Irish Mythen is the headliner. Amazingly, you can get tickets online, and you can also order food prepared by Eclectic Café.

Leacock Museum Opens

The Leacock Museum is open and you can book a tour, 705-329-1908, for your group of 5 or less for between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily except Mondays and Tuesdays.

Mariposa Arts Theatre is doing Bard In The Yard: Twelfth Night From August 25 to September 5. It’s adapted version of the play with Leacock and Orillia references added in. They’ll be using the front porch of Stevie’s house for the stage. They have a new director, Randy White, on this one. He’ s not really new, having worked in New York and Chicago. There are a bunch of showtimes, and you can get tickets online.

Voting That Counts

Streets Alive has program books available for the 2021 Hippy Van public art exhibit. You can get then for $2 at Jack & Maddy A Kids Store. The booklet has images of all the vans in the exhibition and information about the artists – and most important the entry number. You need that number to vote for your favourite. In August votes will be counted and three of the 29 artists are going to win cash prizes ($10k, $5k and $2,500). You can drop off your ballot at Jack and Maddy or at OMAH.

Mostly Online Distracters

Friday night Michael Martyn is playing at the Grape & Olive; Wendy Whelan is at Lot 88; Elizabeth Anderson is at Theos and Steven Henry and Michael Dobransky are at Boston Pizza.

The pipe organ at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian is 100 years old this year. The anniversary is actually at the end of September. Marshall Martin, who gets to play the thing all the time, said it’s too soon to be able to say whether there will be an event to mark the occasion. With 5,000 pipes its one of the largest organs in Canada.. There’s a video the church has produced that shows all the workings and Marshall explains what all the parts do.

July 16 and 17, 2022 former students of Park Street Collegiate are getting together for a reunion at Barnfield Point Rec Centre. Music is by Even Steven and Pete Sanderson and Friends. Get tickets online.

Ayden Miller and his band, New Friends, have a cool new pop new tune called Coming Back For You out. You watch the video now.

Some Rama musicians made a video called Rama Players Presents: Acoustic Music of the 70’s. The players are James Simcoe, Leanne McRae-Douglas, Ronnie Douglas, Rick Benson and Scotty Snache and it was recorded for First Nation’s Day. They play songs by CSN&Y, Gregg Allman, The Eagles, Peter Frampton, Supertramp, Robbie Robertson, Neil Young and the Beatles which were favourites in the Rama community back in the day. You can play it from the website, or download it in HD or SD here.

Nate Robertson has some new music to listen to. A drummer, he also can play other instruments and his latest work is more of an exploration of sound. You can listen to the music from his Synchronized Stratification EP (and buy it) on his Bandcamp page. You’ll also find his previous recordings there too.

Aaron Mangoff has put out 5 EP’s and 3 singles in the last year and you can hear them here.

Check out Stuart Steinhart’s excellent new album, It’s About Time, on Bandcamp.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Lance Anderson and Matt Weidinger of Matchedash Parish at Mariposa 2018.

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