This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Saturday evening has a choice of three things to do. The Cellar Singers start the Christmas concert season with a performance of Handel’s Messiah at St. James’ Anglican Church at 7:30 p.m.

They’ve only do this every other year because it’s big piece of music to prepare and they have a small orchestra on hand to accompany them.

You can get tickets online, or at the door.

Patricia Clemmens

At 6 p.m. Cloud Gallery has the next installment of their fall exhibition series. Each little show of a two or three week duration starts with an reception at 6 p.m. This event features the work of Patricia Clemmens. Her first solo show ever in her short career was at Cloud last year. A she said for the story (here) about this series of exhibits, her career has taken off since then.

At 8 p.m. the Old Dance Hall Players visit the art gallery, Orillia Museum of Art and History for a show. It’s called Glue As The Romans Do. Typical of imrov shows, title have nothing to do with the content, but ringleader, Doug Ironside, told me they might have a scene or two which relates to the title this time. In a way, their show is like Whose line Is It Anyway. The scenes are chosen, and often play out as a game in that each scene has rules of engagement, but not outcome. While the game is known the subject matter isn’t; the audience supplies the subject, so the actors are winging it.

Of course the object is to be funny, and most times they are. But sometimes the subject picked out of the air just doesn’t have the kind of cache for humour it seemed like at the outset. It’s still entertaining to watch the cast work around trying to get the laugh, twisting in the wind you might say. Sometimes those moments lead to big payoffs anyway.

You can get tickets online.

90 Is The New 60

Last Saturday night’s Mariposa Folk Festival revival of the 2022 July festival main stage opening set called 60 in 60. The point was to celebrate the delayed 60th anniversary of the festival by doing a sample of the music played at those earlier concerts.

The show itself was not change, it’s all the same tunes, but Lance Anderson, who produced it, decided some of the songs deserved to be full renditions, rather than snippets.

While one might think it’s easy to pick a song from each year and play part of it and then move on to the next, but there’s a lot more to it. Lance assembled the tunes and the band.

Lance Anderson, Russ Boswell, Mike Daley, Wayne Deadder,
Quisha Wint, Selena Evangeline and Matt Weidinger

The starting point is the calendar and the lineup of performers from each year. Pick one song from each year, right? No. Once Lance had the band in place he asked each of them if there were any tunes they already had in their repertoires. While being able to sing a tune is one thing, being able to play the guitar, bass, keyboard or drum parts is another, and if any of the musicians already knew a tune that played a role in choosing the songs.

One may have noticed that when Mike Daley was playing electric, Wayne Deadder was playing acoustic or vice versa. Often the changes depended on who knew which parts, and what the guitar tuning was (hence no stoppages while retuning for a song). You’d also want each to not have to change guitars for two or three songs.

Another thing Lance had to pay attention to was flow. “If I picked all ballads, because all the most famous tunes are ballads, it would have made for a pretty slow and uninteresting show,” he said. Yu also don’t want three or more in a row.

And yet there were surprises, from a performance stand point, and audience reaction.  Early on, 7th tune in, Selena Evangeline sang Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now. Two summers ago it rated a snippet. This time they did the whole thing. It turned out to be the show stopper performance – and there were still 48 songs to go.

“I knew it would be powerful performance,’ Lance said. “But it’s not that bad to have that up front as well, just to keep everybody’s attention focused that there’s going to other great things.”

And there were. Mike Daley sang Wichita Lineman, the whole thing and if not for Both Sides Now, it could have been the crowning moment. Or it could have been Quisha Wint’s Georgia, or Calling All Angels which she recorded with Jane Siberry for the movie Until the End of the World. Yeah it’s K.D. Lang on the soundtrack album, but it’s Quisha in the movie.

Wayne Deadder’s singing and guitar playing on Bearcat was a great display of owning a tune. Matt Weidinger opened both sets with different parts of Canadian Railroad Trilogy and closed the show with the last part. Gordon Lightfoot got a double dip because Mike Daley also sang all of Early Morning Rain on the heels of the first part of the railroad trilogy.

Matt also was the lead vocalist on Lance’s Where There Is Love from the Matchedash Parish catalogue, which closed the show before the railroad reprise. Why this song isn’t a hit is beyond me. Certainly it’s a hit with the band’s fans and with the Mariposa crowd, but I mean Top 40, stuck in everyone’s heads kind of hit.

The audience, 500 strong, thought the show was fantastic, and many who were there are still talking about it.

It’s too bad it ended there. It should have been recorded and put on Youtube. I’ve watched hundreds of concert performances online and this one was as finely performed and entertaining as any other I’ve watched.

Lance is back in February (really, he’s got two music related gigs in the far south between now and then) for the 13th annual Gospel and Blues Show. It will be at the Opera House and Lance already has Michael Shand (Molly Johnson’s pianist) and Ronnie Douglas lined up.

Oh crap, I forgot to mention the warm welcome and great send off Ronnie got when he joined Lance and company to perform Buddy Guy’s Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues for the 60 In 60 show.

I also have to say something about Bucky Berger, who played drums, before I get back to February. It’s tough enough to learn 60 tunes of such differing styles, but he did it. As Lance told the audience, he was also the original drummer on a number of the songs the band played, so he also had moments of, “what was that I played?” when relearning them.

Lance also has Kenny Wayne for the Gospel and Blues gig. Known as Blues Boss, Kenny moved to Canada from the U.S. in the 80s and had three Juno nominations and got the award in 2006, plus a few Maple Blues Awards along the way.

There are a few more players to be named later. Tickets are not on sale yet. Mariposa does have passes for next summer on sale now, and (talking to all you Olde Pharts now, Christmas is coming) the youth pass is pretty cheap to buy, but valuable to possess. All ticket types for the summer go up in price in the New Year.

ORAH Awards

Wednesday night the ORAH Award winners were announced at Creative Nomad Studios. There were about 100 people on hand to celebrate.

The Education Award went to Marcel Rousseau. Marcel has the Facebook page, Orillia Past and Present, which is filled with old photographs of our little town and he adds to it almost daily.

The Emerging Artist Award went to Mariangela Sherwood who did a stunning, and highest auction bid, guitar for this past summer’s Painter Passing Through downtown Streets Alive art project. She also had pieces in the Oro-Medonte Art Trees project.

The Heritage Restoration/Renovation/Publication Award went to Anitta Hamming and John Menear of Creative Nomad Studios for the restoration of the old Bi-Way store into the fantastic art space/venue it is now.

The Event Award went to ODAC’s Seven Grandfather Teachings project, which involved artists Paul Shilling, Xavier Fernandes, Julie Tian and Ted Fullerton and a series of shows around the county.

2023 OHRA Awards Leslie Fournier and Jean Sargeant

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The Qennefer Browne achievement award had two winners. The committee decided to recognize someone from the arts side and the historical side of things. Jean Sargeant was awarded for being a force behind OMAH, particularly the transition from the old Sir Sam Steel Art Gallery and the old Orillia Historical Society into OMAH.

Leslie Fournier was the other winner. Of course it’s for all the years of having great public art projects brightening up downtown and the waterfront. Even though there was no project planned for this year, she quickly got one together following the death of Gordon Lightfoot to recognize his contribution to the world.

Congrats to all.

The Shorts

Check back tomorrow for Part Two.

(Images Supplied) Main: Cellar Singers

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