This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

The main stage lineup for the Mariposa Folk Festival happening July 7, 8, 9 in Tudhope Park is almost filled up.

So far Friday night’s order of appearance is Wild Rivers, The Wood Brothers and Matt Andersen & the Big Bottle of Joy. There should be room for two more acts to be named.

Saturday’s is Tim Baker and All Hands, KT Tunstall, The Rural Alberta Advantage, and Tegan and Sara.

Sunday it’s Jeremy Dutcher, Judy Collins, Rufus Wainwright, and Feist.

The rest of the schedule for the various stages is not set yet – other than we know the Paul Langlois Band is headlining the pub stage on the Saturday night (which I assume means they are closing it), which ought to be great for fans of the Tragically Hip. Oh, and Danny Michel has been added to the festival lineup.

Not long ago I mentioned ticket sales were ahead of last year’s pace, which sold out. In fact, some of the ticket combos previously offered are not available any longer. So keep that in mind if you’ve been procrastinating – and take note prices go up June 1. Did you know a weekend pass for teenagers is only $40 – for now? Get them online.

A ‘My Banking Career’ Update

The Stephen Leacock Associates will announce the long-list of authors and books for the annual Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour June 1. In the meantime they are stoking the flames of interest by announcing the Dunkley Charitable Foundation has increased their funding commitment from $35,000 annually to $60,000 for the next seven years.

Brad and Sara Dunkley surprised many with their original 5-year funding commitment three years ago and this update is no less surprising. Brad won the student essay competition in 1993.

The Associates have not made any decisions yet, but president Mike Hill said it’s likely the cash prizes for the winner ($25,000) in 2022), and the other two short listed authors ($4,000 each) will increase, as well as the prizes for the student Humorous Short Story Competition.

How much has not been determined yet. The board may also decide to carve off something for marketing or a rainy day fund, but it’s not like the Associates have a lot of overhead like the other festivals in town do.

Hmmm, with that kind of cash on the table I think I’ll write a book and call it How To Become Leader of the Conservative Party, with a subtitle, Or Any Party. Step one is having Pandas as adoptive parents who constantly forget they are holding a baby and don’t even notice the thud. No one will read it, but at least about a dozen Leacock book readers will, so there’s that.

Also, the annual medal dinner and other weekend activities will take place at Hawk Ridge Golf Club this year. Now is the time to get your tickets.

Concerts This Weekend

The Cellar Singers have their spring concert Saturday, today, at 7:30 p.m. at St. James’ Anglican Church. The Cellars are not just the premier choir in Orillia, but most of Ontario as well. Their program title is Cantatas Old and New. They’ll be doing some Bach and premiering a brand new piece by Benjamin Keast.

Soprano soloist Amy Dodington will be featured in a few pieces and the Cellars have a chamber orchestra along for this one. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. and you can get tickets online.

Sunday at 2 p.m. the Orillia Silver Band is playing at the Opera House. They have a good program lined up, which includes Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Rail Road Trilogy.

Rail Road Trilogy is a piece arranged by Robert Redhead and based on Gord’s Canadian Railroad Trilogy. It was commissioned by the OSB and first played several years ago. The OSB also has a mix of old and new music on the menu, the new by composers Eric Whitacre, Philip Sparke and Gordon Langford.

You can get tickets online.

The Shorts

  • The Orillia and District Arts Council is having a screening of the documentary Steadfast: The Messenger and the Message. It’s about Dr. Jean Augustine who is the founder of Black History Month in Canada. It happens at Georgian College June 8 at 1 p.m. Admission is free and so is the parking. RSVP by email to
  • Creative Nomad Studios is running a contest in which one charity will win the use of the studio for a fundraising event. The Nominate to Elevate  winner will get an all-inclusive package (5-hour for dinner for 80, including bar setup, linens, napkins, full table settings, coffee/tea/water service, bar staff, and event coordinator) valued at $1,800. You can nominate your charity online.
  • The Lighthouse is celebrating their 30th anniversary June 3 with a fundraising gala at Hawk Ridge. The entertainment is by the Little Big Band. Past fundraisers have been theme nights and this time it’s the 1930s so the music will reflect that and they are encouraging people to get those threads form the back of the closet out for some air. You can get tickets online.
  • The folks at St. Paul’s Centre are going to do a play. They have a history of putting on musicals geared toward a general audience. This time they are doing The Music Man. Performances are not until January 2024, but auditions are June 16 to 20. They have a specific audition package outlining roles and audition requirements and you can see it – and book an audition time – online.
  • St. Paul’s is also on the hunt to fill some big shoes by September 1. They are looking for a music director, to replace the retiring Blair Bailey. The job posting is online.
  • The Leacock Museum opened a new exhibit in the boathouse. Boating Old Brewery Bay will be a permanent exhibit. The museum also has the return of the Great Gatsby Garden Party happening June 17. There will be entertainment, games and you can attend the awards ceremony for the K. Valerie Connor Memorial Poetry contest at 2 p.m. Get tickets here.
  • Summer theater at the Opera House is around the corner and you can get a deal on tickets for all three plays right now. The plays are Moving In (Norm Foster), Bed and Breakfast (Mark Crawford), and Halfway There (Norm Foster). The Opera House also has the annual Laugh For Lake Simcoe fundraiser May 26 with comedians Martha Chaves, Jon Steinberg and Rob Bebeneck; Brass Transit (very worthwhile Chicago tribute band) plays June 24. Tickets for the concerts are here.
  • Derick Lehmann has a fundraising event for the Sharing Place Food Bank happening at the Roller Skating place at ODAS Park. Derick is the one behind the annual Ugly Sweater Bowling fundraiser. It’s called Back to the 90s Video Dance Party. It’s modeled after the Much Music events of the same nature and features three 15 foot screens and a concert sound system. It’s a licensed, 19 and up event.  It’s happening July 29 and you can get tickets at Alleycats Music or online.
  • OMAH has a fundraising event happening June 10; Choose Your Wheels is an art rally, taking a nice drive around town to see the 6 newly installed sculptures; tickets are $50, which includes a box lunch from Mariposa Market, a pollinator plant and a bit of a party at OMAH when you’ve made the circuit; there’s door prizes and an auction (see current items here) and Steph Dunn will be playing some music; May 27 is the last chance to see Beyond The Fence:, an exhibit of work by Christine Mack And David Hill; the monthly history speaker’s night is June 21 and it will be on Zoom; Mike Hill will be speaking about the 60 year history of the Mariposa Folk Festival; register onlineHibernation Arts has guest artist Ron Regamey’s work on display for the month of June; Author Lise de la Plante will be in for readings from her book, The Free Range Nun at 8 p.m. ($10) June 1; June 3 Hibernation is hosting an open mic poetry night at 6:30 p.m. ($10)…
    The Coldwater Studio Tour is June 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days; there are 31 artists participating at 7 venues.
  • Couchiching Craft Brewing has Cassie Dasilva playing May 27 and Will Davis and Chris Robinson are in May 28 … Quayle’s Brewery has Mark Thackaway playing May 27 and Mitch Szitas May 28… Studabakers has a comedy show May 29 with Arianna Swietlinski, Jeff Faulkner, Daniel Shaw and Marc Trinidad; get tickets online… the Hog ‘N Penny is hosting Ronnie Douglas’s Music Is Medicine CD release party May 27 at 8:30 p.m.; Liz Anderson plays June 3 at 8 p.m. … My Missing Piece plays the Sunken Ship May 27 at 6:30 p.m. … the Griddle Pickers play the Common Stove June 4… the Boogiemen (Mike Roberts’s band) play the ANAF Club May 27 at 8 p.m.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: The Paul Langlois Band plays the Mariposa pub Stage July 8 in Tudhope Park.

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