By John Swartz
Saturday morning’s Lightfoot Days Festival event with Mayor Don McIsaac declaring November 4 Gordon Lightfoot Day, had a couple surprises. Steve Porter (who will be performing with Michael Martyn and Scott Thompson at Picnic Sunday afternoon) was added to the event.
He gave a good rendition of Canadian Railroad Trilogy and Beautiful. The audience of about 40 who gathered for the event really enjoyed hearing those tunes.
Especially Susan Cantalupo of Fort Myers, Florida. She made a last minute decision to come to Orillia for the festival.
“I just got here yesterday. This is such a quaint town. I can’t wait to drive through and walk through and see all the sights. I liken this to an area in New Hampshire I’m familiar with. This is so beautiful, I wish I could stay longer,” she said.
She’s been a fan since she was a teenager, but became hardcore after a chance to see Gord in concert happened.
“Gord was going to be in concert there in March (2023),” Cantalupo said. “I got his biography and I never knew what an amazing, gifted, wonderful man he was.”
Of course, that concert was cancelled. She mentioned whenever she has a concert on her itinerary she listens a lot to the music beforehand so she can enjoy the shows better and that exercise created something she didn’t expect, going from, ‘yeah, I know his songs,’ to, ‘I can’t get enough of this.’
“I’m new to the Lighthead Club, but I’ve always liked him,” she said. “Studying his lyrics as I have, I am overwhelmed by his God-given talent that he developed. He’s all I listen to now. He was the ultimate wordsmith.”
Cantalupo plans to see as much as she can while she’s here, the Golden Leaves monument, Gord’s gravesite and take in as much live music as she can.
The Lightfoot Days festival continues Saturday and Sunday with a number of events. For more info about performance times and late additions see the Facebook page.
It got off to a great start with Classic Lightfoot Live at St. Paul’s Centre Friday night. There were a number of times the band’s and singer John Stinson interpretations were so accurate, you’d think Gord was on stage. They played several tunes that were album cuts and of course many of the hits. I’ll have more next week about this.
Pleased To Meet You
Last week Carl Dixon had a show at the Opera House. It was not well attended, which is a shame because it was a very entertaining night. Carl talked about his journey from learning to play guitar and piano to how he got into the various band’s he’s been in (Coney Hatch, April Wine, and The Guess Who). He also talked about his accident in 2008, which almost left him crippled, darn near killed him, and how he recovered to the point he can play music well enough again to continue his career.
He did three tunes from each of the bands, (he did a great job not imitating Burton Cummings, but still making the songs sound the way we know them), plus several he recorded solo. He even did Pinball Wizard (he’s front man for a Who tribute band too).
One thing he’s managed to hang on to over the years is his ability to hit the high notes and not sound like he’s reaching. He’s also a performer and gives the audience more than they expected. I’d go see this show again.
- Cloud Gallery continues their fall series of exhibits with a two-week run featuring art by Julie Veenstra opening Nov. 4 with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m.; Patricia Clemmens has her work up Nov. 25 and Dec. 9 it’s a group show with many of the artists represented by the gallery in attendance; look for a story about the success of the gallery and these artists here
- St. Paul’s Centre has a couple of concerts happening with Sloan’s Chris Murphy Nov. 16 and the Skydiggers Dec. 14 for a Christmas concert. You can find tickets for all those online. They also have A Christmas Carol with Don McIsaac, Adam Chambers, Krista Storey and two players to be named later on Dec. 1; you can get tickets for that here.
- The Opera House November line up looks like this; Tim Hicks is in Nov. 19; Ballet Jorgen’s The Nutcracker is in Nov. 25; comedian Ryan Belleville is in Nov. 30. The December lineup includes Lunch at Allen’s Dec. 8, the Barra MacNeils Dec. 11; Serena Ryder Dec. 15 and the Orillia Silver Band Dec. 17 Get tickets for any of those online.
- The Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation annual gala is Nov. 18 at Casino Rama. The event is moving into the Entertainment Centre, so there’s more room for more people. It’s in there because the entertainment is Cirque Under the Stars. There is an online auction tied to the fundraiser (wait until Nov. 10 to bid). Tickets are available online.
- The annual Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards happens Nov. 22 at Creative Nomad Studios. The 6 p.m. event is free to attend. See last week’s column for a rundown of nominees.
- The Leacock Student Humorous Essay Competition is open for submissions. Students age 14 to 19 can enter to win $1,500 and $750 for each of 2nd and 3rd place. The deadline is Apr. 15 and winners are announced May 15 and get to attend and read their essays at the Meet the Author night June 21. An important thing to note is the word June. It looks like the medal dinner is moving back to June and in fact will be June 22.
- The Orillia Museum of Art and History also has three new exhibits 50 Years Of Mariposa Arts Theatre, A Close up on Carmichael (showcasing OMAH’s collection of related items) and Jennifer Zardo’s Home Sweet Home; meanwhile in the basement see The Orillia Police And The Sir Sam Steele Memorial Building … St. Paul’s Centre has the Call to Action 83 Art Project in the Ogimaa Miskwaaki Gallery… Hibernation Arts’s guest artist for October is David Crighton and he’ll be at the gallery Nov. 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. Peter Street Fines Arts has Kate Greenway in as guest artist for November.
- Bleeker released a video for the new tune Walken a couple weeks ago. They have an EP due in the New Year. The band is working with a new producer, which is moving the band’s sound from what Taylor Perkins called a pop sound to more of a stripped down rock sound. The band is working on a tour for when the weather returns to hot next year. He also said they’d like to play in town, but finding a suitable venue is difficult; that said, he’d like to make something happen for the release of the EP.
- Quayle’s Brewery has Mark Matt Payne playing Nov. 3; Andrew Walker Nov. 4; Josh Piche Nov 5; Jakob Pearce Nov. 10; Jojo Nov. 11 and Jess Bowman Nov. 12… Couchiching Craft Brewing has Ronnie Douglas in Nov. 3; James Grey plays Nov. 4; Samantha Windover Nov. 10; Tamica Herod and Sean Cotton Nov.11 and Will Davis and Chris Robinson are in Nov. 12.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Lightfoot Days Festival organizing committee member John Winchester, Susan Cantalupo of Fort Myers, Florida, Mayor Don McIsaac and Steve Porter at Saturday’s Gordon Lightfoot Day proclamation.