This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Saturday afternoon the Orillia Museum of Art and History had opening receptions for four of their four exhibits. Two of the exhibits have been up for a while, but the International Women’s Day Art Show and the Hospice Orillia fundraising shows were held off until everyone believed it was relatively safe to do so.

There were a lot of people in the museum. Not quite as many as a typical Women’s Day opening, but still an impressive turnout. I’ve been in to see both exhibits named and was surprised there was an addition to the Hospice show.

Louise Brazier

Hospice’s  bereavement coordinator, Louise Brazier, did what many think will never go anywhere. She wrote a note to Chantal Kreviazuk, asking for help.

“I was out with some friends watching Chantal at the Opera House and she was speaking about her art. This particular piece was related to a grief story from when she was younger, and it’s actually the lyrics to one of her songs. I reached out to her on Instagram,” to ask if Kreviazuk would be interested in contributing to the fundraiser Brazier said. Three days later she received four numbered prints of Surrounded, a title shared with the song.

The juried exhibit, Dying Matters: Reflections Of Growth Through Grief  has art from several dozen area artists. When you buy a piece, the money is split between the artist, OMAH and Hospice Orillia.

One of the new exhibits is called Reflections Of Ourselves. It’s designed as a genealogical maple tree and the 100 leaves are fabric decorated by artists from across Canada and relating to their ethnic roots. One of the leaves was done by OMAH executive director Ninette Gyorody.

It’s in the middle of the room. The walls are lined with prints of each artists work and their stories. This exhibit had 25 of the artists on hand for the opening. And, check out the link for info on 5 workshops happening in July conducted by artists from as far away as the Northwest Territories.

The Return To Sender exhibit on the main floor is a number of prints done by 21 artists from around the world. The project started during the pandemic when everyone was staying home and took the idea of sending letters as a means of communication ( you know, pass the time and write to someone), except this is about the stamps which would have been used. The prints are slightly larger than stamps you might have seen from some Caribbean countries (they’re bigger than ours).

Orillia Concert Band Tonight

Saturday night’s Orillia Concert Band gig at St. Paul’s Centre has a great line up of tunes. Five of the pieces are ones I’ve been familiar with since I was a teenager and two of the arrangers of music on the menu come from my musical world, having crossed over from arranging drum corps shows to mainstream concert music. In fact one of them was in a corps I competed against 1or 4 decades ago.

You’re going to hear Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in B flat, a medley of West Side Story tunes, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s English Folk Song Suite, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, Malaguena and Radetzky March.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and this time around there are no tickets to buy. But, and that’s a big but, you can donate what you’d normally spend, or more, to Information Orillia because this is a fundraising show. You can do so that at the door, or in advance online (if you can’t go, or are still avoiding crowds, you can still donate at that link – juts be sure to type OCB in the message box so your money gets credited to the band’s fundraiser).

You’ll also get to see Ready Hoover’s second premiere as conductor. The first one was as a guest conductor at the Christmas Prelude, this time it’s as the new master of the ship.

It’s Showtime

You might recall I wrote about some art workshops Mike Howell is teaching for the City’s recreation program. He had this idea to teach painting on three dimensional surfaces, cubes, and instead of hanging them flat on a wall, they would hang freely on wire from the corners allowing one to see three related images simultaneously.

He calls it the Artivm Movement. He sent a note saying while conducting the classes he discovered the art reveals a fourth dimension – time. I don’t know how that works and I suppose one has to see the art to get it. Coincidently, we all can see the work because there’s an exhibition happening at the Opera House June 14 and 14 from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Mike used to be a teacher, actually vice principal at ODCVI, and as such has teacher humour exemplified by this quote from the show notice, “Free admission – money back guarantee!”

Peaceful, Easy Feeling

No this is not about the Eagles, I hate the Eagles. This is about how I felt during the Cellar Singers’s concert last Saturday night at St. James’ Anglican Church. They did a program of music by Healey Willan and Stephanie Martin. Martin was on hand to hear it and speak about the pieces before they were performed.

As I sat in my usual place, the back, some things came to me I hadn’t considered before. Two things really, the benefit of performing at St. James’ and the drawback. The benefit is how the layout of the room promotes the blending of sound. The voices of the 42 member choir where naturally mixed and amplified to sound like 142. Of course if the singers were not doing a very good job that would be disastrous, but when people stay in tune and execute the timing of the notes the addition of one voice on another and on another I think is exponential, rather than a simple doubling or tripling, and so on.

At the back the effect was the sound came from all directions rather than one being able to directionalize sound as coming from a specific spot. The music itself, Martin’s in particular, was a construct of long notes, rather than what one finds in modern short and syncopated notes. This sounds like it’s easy to perfrom, but musicians will tell you long notes are often the hardest to do well when more than one musician is involved. Drifting off pitch is harder to control and can be cringy if the drift is significant.

Now when the notes are coming faster, as they were when Kyung-A Lee was introduced as the Cellars’s new accompanist (Blair Bailey had to return back across the street when he became the music director of the Orillia Vocal Ensemble – that’s figuratively because he sat right in front of me for this concert).  Her introduction was in the form of a solo performance of the Bach- Busoni Chaconne in D minor. This piece is originally a Bach violin partita. The hyphen indicates Busoni did the transcription for piano. Anytime you see a hyphen and another name as it applies to Bach’s works that’s a clue who did the arrangement.

So, it’s Bach, tons of 16th note phrases. With the acoustics of the room, notes hang in the air longer. When you are playing 16ths at speed they can run into each other. Ideally one would want to perform this kind of music in a dead, rather than live room, or dampen the instrument to increase the articulation. What happened is Lee played very well, but the sound was more like Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound – no real definition of the notes being played, which is kind of the thing you want with music by Bach.

It’s too bad because almost every instance I can think of where the overall sound was muddy, harsh or indistinguishable happens because someone that understands the music charts didn’t check the sound from the middle to back of the room. In most cases had a conductor done that, they would instantly realize the issue and make corrections at the run-through before audiences show up.

So, had someone who understands the instrument, the piece and the room been anywhere near where I was listening during the afternoon, they could have advised Lee to dampen the sound of the piano for best effect.

Overall though, the entire program was like being stuck in the middle of sound meant to have a peaceful effect. This was revealed in Martin’s A Frost Sequence. It’s a suite of three Robert Frost (I almost typed Leslie) poems – Nothing Gold Can Stay; The Road Not Taken, and Stopping By The Woods.

The 2nd poem starts with, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” and of course we all know the meaning of this one, you have heard (maybe forgotten) it, but the point remains we know the notion of making the choice and for some it’s not taking the road everyone else has travelled before. The 3rd poem has the line, “and miles to go before I sleep“.  If you didn’t know where that came from, now you do. Three poems with music about change and decision making, maybe life altering, but not traumatic as in deciding to vote for change, knowing most of your neighbours are happy with the decay of society.

There is peace in introspection, if that introspection is accompanied by the right music.

The Shorts

  • The Mariposa Arts Theatre is doing The Gin Game at their Bammer Drive rehearsal hall June 9 to 19, with Sunday matinees. It stars Jim Dwyer and Cheryl Van Vliet. Get tickets online.
  • Students at Orillia Secondary School are doing a play. See Guys and Dolls June 8, 9 and 10 at 6 p.m., or June 11 at 2 p.m. Call 705-329-4537 for tickets ($15, $10 for students) and pick them up weekdays between 3 and 3:30 p.m.
  • The Stack gallery wall at the Orillia Recreation Centre has new stuff hanging around and June 9. Artists Jon Olerichs, Dan Kehoe, Carol Deimling, Jimi McKee, Dani Magder, Terry McIntosh and Wendy Cooper-Parkinson will be on hand for a reception at 5:30 p.m.
  •  The Orillia Centre for Arts and Culture is bringing back their popular Gathering: Festival of First Nations Stories event June 9, 10 and 11. The event is free to attend and takes place at the Rama Community Hall. Speakers lined up are Norma Dunning, Lisa Bird-Wilson, Drew Hayden Taylor, Waub Rice, Shanika MacEachern, Armand Garnet Ruffo, Cynthia Wesley Esquimaux, Sid Bobb, Sherry Lawson and Brenda Wastasecoot. Sherry Lawson and Fred Addis put the program together. See the complete schedule here.
  • Staff of the Orillia Public Library have organized a couple events for Pride Month. June 11 at 10:30 a.m. has Drag Queen Storytime with guest Auntie Plum. It’s a family oriented literacy program. Registration is not required, but space is limited. At 7:30 p.m. the same day they have an after hours 19+ event with Plum Vicious. Tickets are $20 and it is licensed with a cash bar. Proceeds from the comedy show will go toward improving the library’s LGBTQ2S+ collection.
  • Creative Nomad Studios has some new programs for kids. They are about how to be safe and responsible while home alone, learning how to babysit, and small business for kids (i.e. operate your own lemonade stand, etc.). Register for these and other classes here. Also Jake Horowitz’s Sunshine City TV series will be shown June 10 at 7 and 9 p.m. Jake and some of the cast will be on hand. Tickets are available online.
  • There is still time to whip something up for Sustainable Orillia’s 2022 Art Contest. The theme is What Will Orillia Look Like in 2050. Prizes are $500, $300 and $200. Submit work to
  • The Park Street Collegiate reunion the  weekend of July 16 is getting better all the time with new musicians added to the Saturday night dance at the Barnfield Recreation Centre (Even Steven, Liz Anderson, Mark Stewart’s band and Pete Sanderson’s band) the hockey team’s reunion at Quayle’s Brewery in the afternoon, and a restaurant tour (see the food?, Yup. Ok, let’s move on to the next). Find out more details and how to get tickets at the reunion website.
  • The Leacock Museum’s K. Valerie Connor Memorial Poetry Contest is open to everyone and there are substantial win, place and show cash prizes in elementary, student and adult classes. The entry fee is $10 per poem, $25 for adults, and elementary kids are free to enter. The contest closes June 30 and July 17 prizes are awarded and readings by winners on hand will happen at the museum. Find links to entry forms here.
Art by Susan Rudoler
  • The Orillia Fine Arts Association unveiled a new arts gallery guide designed and illustrated by David Crighton. Groups backing the guide are Orillia Lake Country Tourism, City of Orillia, Orillia Arts District and Orillia & District Arts Council. It will be available at galleries and you can find out more online…  Peter Street Fine Arts has Deby Melillo’s art in the gallery this month…  Hibernation Arts has Susan Rudoler as the guest artist for May.
  • Zachary Lucky shared news his latest album, Songs For Hard Times has been streamed on Spotify 50,000 times. He’ll be in Europe (The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany specifically) to do a bunch of gigs in July. I’m going to send you to his Bandcamp page instead of Spotify where you can listen to the album and buy it in all the formats – plus he gets a bigger share of the revenue than all the other platforms pay.
  •  Aaron Mangoff has a whole new album called Never Wake Up. He’s adopted a project name, Summer Birds,for this one. Aaron has been known to fly some things not under his own name. I gave it a listen, enjoyed it and you can too on his Bandcamp page… Tangents has a Bandcamp page too; on it you’ll find tunes from their new EP and links to all their other music.
  • Roger Harvey is returning to Orillia to do two fundraising concerts for the Orillia Youth Centre’s Nelson Bell and Jake Beers Bursaries. The first is June 30 at Eclectic Café. Sammy is opening and you can get tickets here. The other one is July 1 at Farmfest in Sebright. Opening that one is Kayla Mahomed and Alex and you can get tickets here.
  • Terry Savage is back – Jamie as a duo with Tim Kehoe Saturday night at the Hog N’ Penny starting at 8 p.m. … Jakob Pearce has been busy lining up gigs; here’s the next couple on his calendar; 2 p.m., June 12 at Picnic and June 17 at Ktchn… Dave Shaw’s band, The Offcuts play Tammies Place Saturday at 7 p.m. … the Washago Lions Jam Night returns June 8 at the Washago Lions Hall at 7 p.m. … If you had tickets for Ashley MacIsaac’s cancelled March 2020 concert at St. Paul’s Centre, it’s been rescheduled to June 18. Didn’t have tickets? Get them here… the Kensington has an open mic night hosted by Tim Kehoe on Tuesdays from 8 to 11 p.m.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Ninette Gyorody points out her art in the Return To Sender exhibit at OMAH.

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