This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Let’s begin with the arty stuff. I was in to the Orillia Museum of Art and History Thursday night for their weekly Music and Mocktails. This thing runs from 5 to 7 p.m. continuing to Christmas. This idea came from an early appraisal of a study OMAH is doing which showed many people weren’t able to go to the museum during their regular hours, particularly young people.

This program is geared towards those young people, but not exclusive to them. There are non-alcoholic drinks and munchies available (this week pizza) and each week someone plays music on the main floor (Steph Dunn this week). Lakehead social work students were on hand making murals. Two Twin Lakes Secondary Grade 11 students, Sophie Sharron and Olivia Reay saw a poster at school and thought they’d try it. They also contributed to one of the murals. There were about 30 different people who were in for some amount of time while I was there. It’s free to attend.

Steph Dunn

OMAH also has the annual Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition up and Sylvia Tesori’s The Man Who Could Fly; The Girl Who Flies In Her Dreams solo show. You can also see The History Of Orillia In 50 Artefacts exhibit – which is being turned into a book. The launch for the book is December 15.

Hibernation Arts’s guest artist this month is Renee Van Der Putten and they are part of an Indoor Art Walk November 26 from noon to 5 p.m. in the Arts District; there will be artists on hand to meet… Peter Street Fine Arts is launching this year’s 6×6 show and the boards are ready to pick up at last year’s fee level; their guest this month is also Renee Van der Putten… Cloud Gallery has an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday for artist
Patricia Clemmens’s first solo show. The exhibit will be up to Dec. 1.

Dashing Through The GD Snow

One week ago, Remembrance Day, was warm and sunny. Friday night is when the return of the annual Children’s Candlelight Parade happens. Instead of gathering at the legion this time, the block of Mississaga between Matchedash and Front Streets is where it will start.

Starting at 6:30 p.m. the kids will walk up the hill to the Opera House where the tree will be lit. Every kid under 12 will get a battery powered candle. The Downtown Orillia Management Board stickhandles this event and has strung 6,000 feet of lights and 50 hanging baskets.

The Salvation Army has hot chocolate waiting for the kids at the Opera House. Also note Orillia Transit will not run between 6 and 9 p.m. Once the parade is over they’ll resuming at 9.

As we were used to, this is prep for the Santa Claus Parade. This year it’s on Saturday at 5 p.m. The chamber of commerce organizes it and expects to have 60 floats, bands and walking groups – that’s one every minute.

Santa Claus Parade Route

Having been to one or two of these in other places, I’ve always considered ours to be the best after Toronto’s Christmas parade. This year however, it’s going to start in the middle at West and Colborne Streets. The construction on Mississaga and Centennial Drive kind of made the old start impossible. They’ll take a left and go up to Dunlop and hook around to Mississaga. The smartest thing they ever did was have the parade go down the hill to Front Street. From there they’ll circle around onto Colborne and head back to the beginning.

One of the features is the annual collection of food for the Sharing Place Food bank. Most people are familiar with the Toromont front end loader as part of the parade and the food collector. Canada Post will be collecting letters to Santa from kids – address them to Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0H0, Canada.

Orillia Transit will be free to ride beginning at 3:45 p.m. and will break while the parade is on, resuming at 7:45 with free rides until the 9:15 run.

That Sucks

You may remember Amy and Brad McIsaac who performed as Winnie Brave. They’ve been living out west playing gigs on both sides of the border. It came to my attention they suffered some misfortune. This week they discovered their storage locker in Cardston, Alberta (south of Lethbridge and 20 minutes north of the border) was broken into.

Brad and Amy McIsaac

They lost, “Every single piece of gear we own or ever collected was in that locker! Every guitar, bass, amp, our entire P.A.,” and, “All our old computers with photos and personal info, all our recording equipment including the hard drive with our new (unreleased) record on it.”

Aside from the gigs they did here, they also operated a music instrument shop (Ironside Electric Company) downtown and they had some interesting vintage gear, so I’m assuming some of what they lost this week was hard to find stuff.

They also had a string of gigs lined up in December and typically spent winters touring clubs in the American Southwest, which appears to me this year they got a permanent winter gig in Texas. Whether they’ll be able to honour those gigs without their instruments is hard to tell.

Two things you can do. One is get over to their Bandcamp page and buy some music from them. They are very good songwriters, not totally country, but leaning that way. Second they have a GiveSendGo donation page where you can send them some money toward replacing their gear.

One more thing, I’ve heard some incredible stories of musicians being reunited with their stolen instruments because of the word spreading on social media and other musicians just being aware some unique things might cross their paths, so check out their Facebook page to see photos of their gear; it’s unlikely any of it will pop up for sale in this area, but if you share it on your pages, your friends in other places (out west, or Toronto/Vancouver where the stuff will likely end up in places that sell used instruments) can help the musician community be on the lookout for it.

Concerts, You Know The Kind

The Orillia Concert Band has their annual Christmas Prelude Dec. 3 at St. Paul’s Centre. The Orillia Vocal Ensemble will be along for the (Sleigh?) ride (yeah, it’s on the menu). It’s at 7:30 p.m. Meanwhile at 3:30 p.m. same place, the OCB, with the Orillia Community Children’s Choir as guests, will do a short version of the show for those with short attention spans, you know, kids. In both cases you can get tickets at the door.

The Orillia Concert Association’s next concert is November 27 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Why? Because they have an organ and that’s what Christopher Dawes plays, so he might as well use one of the biggest organs in Canada. The program is designed as a tribute to Kerry Stratton. You can get tickets for this concert online for $40, or you can be crazy like Fox News and call the Opera House box office and get season ticket for $90 each. There are three more concerts after this one to enjoy – with the possibility of another one in June as a joint production with Arts Orillia.

The Orillia Silver Band has their annual Christmas concert December 18 at the Opera House. This is going to be special because they have a guest, Tom Hutchinson. He’s from England. He’s also the principal coronet of the Cory Band. The Who? No not The Who. You’ve heard of the Black Dyke Band I’m sure, well the Cory Band is about the only one that can beat them in brass band competitions and this guy is their best cornet player. You can get tickets online.

Other Christmas concerts and events happening at the Opera House are O Christmas Tea: A British Comedy November 25; ‘Til I Hear You Sing (Andrew Lloyd Weber tunes), November 27; the Barra MacNeils, December 1; Diamonds and Rhinestones: Tribute to Neil and Dolly, Dec. 2; Robin – The Ultimate Robin Williams Experience, December 3; The Fitzgeralds – A Canadian Christmas, Dec. 9; Love Yourself (a musical by Duck Soup Productions), December 10 and 11; Cinderella: Stepsisters’ Revenge, December 17 – and way off in January, the 27th (but you’ll want to know now to get good seats) The Mudmen. Tickets for any of those are available here.

Dress For Success Orillia and Barrie and Green Haven Shelter For Women are doing A Christmas Carol. The readers will be Don McIsaac, Marci and Kyla Csumrik and Krista Storey, plus a player to be named later. Blair Bailey is coordinating music. It’s at St. Paul’s Centre, December 16 at 7 p.m. You can get tickets online.

Finally, not a Christmas concert, but it will likely result in some people having a better Christmas and New Year. Sunday November 20 the Orillia Youth Centre has Juno Award winner William Prince performing at Fern Resort. Le Ren is opening and all proceeds go to Rama Youth Services and the Orillia Youth Centre. There are still a few seats left and you can get tickets online.

The Shorts

  • We’re heading into the last weekend for MAT’s Rocky Horror Show at the Opera House. You don’t want to miss this one. If you want to do something freaky tonight, there’s a 10 p.m. performance and the house is pretty full, but there’s room for you. See my fantastic review of this fantastic production here. I’m going to see it again, but mostly for the show I expect the audience to put on. Get tickets online.
  • Keep November 23 open to attend the annual Orillia and District Arts Council/Orillia Museum of Art and History/City of Orillia Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards at the Opera House. Schmoozing starts at 6 p.m. with the ceremony at 7. Dress up and celebrate all our arts and artists; it’s free to attend.
  • The Orillia Public Library has an event that’s right up my alley. November 26 at 5 p.m. they have Bad Art Night. This is what they say it’s about: “Do you have a passion for art but a complete lack of talent and skill? Then Bad Art Night is the program for you! Join us for a night of creative fun and pizza. Create one of a kind disasterpieces and earn prizes for your terribleness.”  This event is for those over 18. How much over, they don’t say, so I’m assuming it’s in ability. The cost is $5 and you need to be a library member in good standing. You can register to attend here.
  • Have you ever heard the line – libraries are more than just about books? Well, the folks at the Orillia Public Library really mean it. They are taking donations online to fund a Library of things; stuff like various home supplies and tools, kitchen gadgets, arts and crafts, electronics, and recreational activities and games. There is no goal, but last year people donated $15,000 for gadgets for their Makerspace, so they hope this program will be as successful. You can also mail them a cheque, or bring your loot in. I wonder if they’ll have any dignity to loan, I’m down a cup.
  • The City of Orillia has a survey to get feedback on your experience with their See You On The Patio program of last summer. It doesn’t take long to do and you can find it here.

Creative Nomad Studios Orillia Christmas Market
  • The 8th annual Ugly Sweater Bowling Party happens at Orillia Bowl December 16 from 6 to 11 p.m. Derick Lehman organizes this event which has raised $20,000 for the Sharing Place Food Bank. The format is a little different this year; there are only two time frames to choose from. Last year the earlier times slots sold out pretty quickly.  Register online.
  • Here’s one to amuse yourself with. The City and the DOMB have a contest happening called the Orillia Discover Downtown Goosechase Scavenger Hunt. It uses the Goosechase app which you can get from Apple, or if you are not a zealot Google Play Store. There are 50 missions to choose from to complete (is someone a Hip fan?) such as uploading a receipt from a Wednesday night date, finding the Elf and getting a photo, or a photo of your favourite store, etc. There are weekly prizes worth $300 and a grand prize of $1,000 of Downtown Dollars good at most stores. The contest runs to December 31.
  • Lance Anderson’s The Last Waltz show happens Saturday night at the Gravenhurst Opera House. This is   Peter’s Players gig, which starts at 8 p.m. with Chuck Jackson, Johnny Max, Matt Weidinger and Quisha Wint and a great band playing the music the artists in Martin Scorcese’s movie of the same name. You can get tickets online.
  • I caught Steven Henry at Couchiching Craft Brewing last Saturday night. He was playing with James Legere on guitar and Joe Agnelo on bass. The sound was excellent. It helps when two of the members run recording studios and one, Steven knows how to tune his drums perfectly. They covered a fair amount of Motown tunes, and popular album cuts from 70s and 80s bands. And for the first time I witnessed people dancing, fist a few, then by the end of the night most of the house. You should check these guys out next time they play.
  • Couchiching Craft Brewing has Bob Taylor in November 18; November 19 they have an after the Santa Claus Parade party; Black Suit Devil is in November 24; Angie Nussey plays November 25; Liz Anderson plays November 26 and Will Davis and Chris Robinson are in the afternoon November 27; just announced this week Reay is playing January 28, it’s a fundraiser for the Sharing Place Good Bank and tickets are $15… Will Davis and Chris Robinson are at Lot 88 Saturday night… Mark Stewart plays the Grape and Olive Saturday night starting at 5:30 p.m. … Quayle’s Brewery has Cam Galloway in to play Friday afternoon; Chris Lemay plays Saturday; My Missing Piece is in Sunday afternoon; Alex Barber plays November 24 and Sammy plays November 18… the Hog N’ Penny has Jamie Drake playing Saturday night.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Sophie Sharron and Olivia Reay giving an OMAH Mocktails mural a good start.

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