This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Tonight (March 4) The Orillia Concert Band is playing at St. Paul’s Centre at 7:30 p.m. The entire program is made up of Broadway tunes. Well most of it. A few of the tunes, like That’s Entertainment, and Blue Moon most people think are from Broadway shows, but they are not.

In the case of the former, it’s been used so often in TV specials about Broadway, people just assume. It’s really from a movie called The Band Wagon. Blue Moon is hit or miss. Many think of it as a rock tune from the Doo-wop era, or from its inclusion as a throw-away scene in the movie version of Grease, One could assume it’s also in the theatrical version, but it’s not.

Then there’s the case of the Wizard of Oz. It actually was a Broadway hit – in 1903, but that version of the story disappeared when the movie came out. Why? Because it bore little resemblance to the musical we all know (written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg), despite the original theatrical book being written by Frank Baum (a rare case of an author doing a script for a play or a movie of their own work). Baum took out the Wicked Witch – and Toto – for his stage play and apparently people who don’t read and just watch didn’t like that. It’s also one of the rare instances where the movie preceded the play.

More confusing there are three different theatrical plays based on the Arlen/Harburg treatment. One of them was by Webber and Rice. Major productions each, but not a one of them played Broadway.

Then there’s the aspect of two other theatrical productions, The Wiz and Wicked, being totally different, though based on Baum’s original story. It’s almost like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet where most modern stories about young lovers are just re-tellings (with new character names, settings and time placement) of Shakespeare’s enduring re-telling of an Italian story from 1562. Oz is just too attractive as story to avoid different interpretations.

Speaking of Webber and Rice, one selection, a medley of tunes from some of their plays (there are other medleys on the program as well), includes songs from Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, both of which were not conceived of as plays. Sure they both were major Broadway hits, but each got their start as concept albums (following the example set by Tommy). Unlike with The Who, where it took 23 years to get Superstar to the stage, Webber and Rice’s recordings were so popular, it only took a couple years to get them to the stage.

Christina Bosco

There’s a bonus, Christina Bosco is the guest performer. She’s been on stage and in public a lot during the past year, and if you heard her sing, you probably know she excels with Big Band and American Songbook tunes. Such is the case here. She’ll be singing Blue Moon to a big band arrangement the OCB has.

You can get tickets online for the concert. If you can’t go but still want to enjoy the music, you can watch it on Youtube live. If that’s your choice and you feel like you should be paying something anyway, you can make a donation to the OCB online. And if staying at home because the beer fridge is closer and open all night is a consideration, you should know Couchiching Craft Brewing is a sponsor of the concert and they’ll have some people there operating a bar.

Other Concerts

As one concert falls off the calendar another takes its place. The Orillia Silver Band is playing at St. Paul’s Centre March 19 at 2 p.m. (note to self, not 2:30 as with many Sunday afternoon concerts).

The program is packed with marches. Here I am just now getting the drift. The funny thing about marches is they aren’t all in military music domain. OK Go’s This Too Shall Pass (if you haven’t seen the video, what have you been doing with your life?) is a march. So are Joy To The World (the Christmas one) A good part of the 1812 Overture, and Flight Of The Bumblebee.

The OSB has many marches on their dance card, with a medley of tunes from Porgy and Bess for contrast. I’m most excited to hear Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s Fire in the Blood. He’s one of the most popular, and my favourite, composers of band music of this century. Not bad for a guy who started as the principal percussionist (drummer) for the Black Dyke Band.

You can get tickets for the show online.

Sam Johnston has an interesting gig happening March 16 at the Lone Wolf Café. She has to do a performance project to complete her studies and she’s organized the show to emulate a radio program about the history of women in music. She’ll play some recordings and sing some tunes to illustrate the historical narrative. It’s a fundraiser for the Orillia Youth Centre. Tickets are $25 and you can get them online. If you can’t go you can still donate to the youth center.

Were you at Mariposa in 2019? Specifically at the Sunday night closing set? Wasn’t that off the charts? The band, My Son the Hurricane is returning to Orillia to play a concert at St. Paul’s Centre, March 30.

Maybe you saw them at one of their Geneva Event Centre shows. Those were spectacular, but Mariposa’s big stage, lights, and a count of several thousand in the audience really put things into perspective for this band.

If you can’t tell, I think they are great, and I know you will too. Get tickets online.

Meredith Moon

The Roots North Music Festival happens April 20 to 23. The Friday/Saturday events at St. Paul’s Centre are the hub of activity and there are venues and artists performing at them scattered around the downtown and City. While the main stage menu is set (Friday – Tommy Youngsteen / The Ronnie Douglas Band) (Saturday – Meredith Moon / Kellie Loder / Michael Kaeshammer) the schedule for venues has not been released.

You’ll need tickets for the St. Paul’s gigs and you can get them online.

Are you ready for Mariposa? I mean the early stuff. The March 25 gig with Union Duke, James Gray and Josh Kvasnak (of The Doozies) is sold out. Not in danger of being sold out is the audition concert at St. Paul’s Centre April 28 because it’s free to attend. The summer schedule was published last week, and you can get tickets and weekend passes online.

The Cellar Singers’s annual gala/cabaret fundraiser is April 15 At St. James’ Anglican Church. At this event the focus is on individual and small group performances that are more toward the fun side of serious singing. You can get tickets online.

Tangents is headlining a gig at Creative Nomad Studios May 6. Battlescarred, The Therapists, The Latest Issue are also playing. It’s an all ages show and admission is $10.

The Shorts

  • 89.1 MAX FM and Gravenhurst’s Tall Pines Music and Art Festival are holding a Battle of the Bands at the Bracebridge Hall May 11, 12 and 13 for the purpose of selecting an opening act to the June 16 and 17 festival. Blue Rodeo, Matthew Good and I Mother Earth are headliners. Find the registration information online.
  • Bob Hawkins put up a video of him, Ron Hill And Pete Sanderson playing some of his music. See it here.
  • Ethan Mask just put some new music on Bandcamp you can listen to, or buy.
  • Arts Orillia invites youth under the age of 25 to participate in their Theatre & Cross Creativity program April 23-27 at the Opera House. They are also inviting people over 65 to participate in this program about storytelling. It’s a workshop kind of thing with a performance in the Studio Theatre. The program is led by Iain Moggach, artistic director of Theatre by the Bay and Clara McBride, faculty at Toronto Metropolitan University’s acting program. Send them your details here.
  • The submission period is now open for the The Leacock Museum’s K. Valerie Connor Memorial Poetry contest. You have until May 8 to send something in under three categories – adult, teens and children. The total prize pool is $2,000. You can find the nomination rules and registration online. And, the museum has a new exhibit, A Leacock Love Story. It’s about Stevie and Beatrix, not that other one. You can see it Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until May.
  • OMAH shifted their Music & Mocktails Thursdays to the last one each month; they’re from 5 to 7 p.m. OMAH’s Art in Public Places committee is planning a new exhibit for the gallery at the Orillia Recreation Centre in June; they’re asking for submissions before March 20. OMAH also has new exhibits to see. The main floor has portraits of famous – and should be famous – women by Amanta Scott called Eyeing Medusa (Paul Shilling also has some work up in that gallery); in the smaller just off the lobby room is work by David Alan Hill and Christine Mack called Beyond the Fence; upstairs see Gary Blundell and Victoria Ward’s Burner Herzog; and in the other second floor room find out the fascinating story of Great Tait: The True Story of Orillia’s First Millionaire. The next History Speaker’s Night is with Sylvie Browne who will speak about her grandmother’s (Elizabeth Wyn Wood) influence on her life; it’s going to be on Zoom March 15 and you can register onlineHibernation Arts guest artist for March is Patti Campbell.
  • CouchichingCraft Brewing has Sam Johnston in March 4 – with a band behind her; Steven Henry plays March 10; Joe Garrisi plays March 11; Will Davis and Chris Robinson are in March 12; they have a St. Patrick’s Day bingo March 16 (trying to imagine how that works and none of my ideas I can publish)… Quayle’s  Brewery has Kyle McAdams in March 4; Michel Neray March 5; Jake Hammond March 10 Kyle Wauchope March 11 and Jakob Pearce March 12… the Opera House has concerts by Pavlo March 11; Digging Roots March 16; and Sean McCann (of Great Big Sea) March 17; you can get tickets for those online… Mariposa Arts Theatre’s next Film Night is March 8 with the documentary Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On ; the next movie is Living (with Bill Nighy and Aimee Lou Wood) March 22; showtimes are 4 and 7 p.m. at the Galaxy; Tickets are $15 only at the door… Alex (the band) is doing St. Patrick’s at Brewery Bay Food Company (If I have to put the date, I’m going to reach through the wires and pinch your nose)… B. Knox plays picnic Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Orillia Concert Band (by Greg Pauk)

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