This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment – Part Two

By John Swartz

The Orillia Concert Band has a number of dates to play Christmas music at the Atrium Retirement Home during the season. Not the whole band, just a mix of ten band members. It’s the first time since the pandemic they have been able to do so.

They are also going to do the same at Champlain Manor, Trillium Manor, Sundial Lakeview Retirement Residence and Leacock Retirement Lodge.

That’s a lot of playing, which is good. The Orillia Concert Band, the Orillia Big Band, and the Orillia Silver Band have a few players they share. Notably the guy, Randy Hoover, waving his arms around for the OCB and the OBB. It helps keep the chops in shape. The big band has a dance happening December 9 at St. James Anglican Church.

The church’s Loony Lunch program is hosting the dance. A lot of big band music was written during the war years and for a period after. The room the band will be playing used to be known as the Maple Leaf Club, which during the war, with thousands of recruits passing through training camp was a popular place.

The 20 member band will be playing music from the 1930s to the present time, along with, obviously, Christmas music. Also appearing is Milli Schop, who you may recall I mentioned once or twice as being a fantastic singer.

There is a cash bar and munchies and spot dances. Tickets are $30 and you can get them by emailing

One More Concert On The List

The Orillia Vocal Ensemble, who just appeared at Christmas Prelude Saturday night, have their own Christmas concert Dec. 16. The 2 p.m. event at St. Paul’s Centre also has the Orillia Community Children’s Choir and Matilda Wilson performing with them.

The review is planned for next week, but here’s a teaser. The OVE, with Blair Bailey waving his arms out front and Katie Pergau playing piano, sounded better than I think I’ve ever heard them.

I even heard the tenors. Most of the choir groups in town are heavily outnumbered male to female voices and I often find it’s tough for the guys to compete for space in the spectrum. I can’t say for sure, but it looks like there’s a few more guys in the group, but at the same time something is being done about the balance of sound.

The feature piece of music is John Rutter’s Brother Heinrich’s Christmas. OVE concerts have always been fundraiser and this time any money raised goes to the Sharing Place Food Bank. Admission is by donation.

The Shorts

  • They’re in. The first batch of T-shirts, hoodies coffee mugs all featuring our infamous Christmas Tree arrived at Creative Nomad Studios, and you can put in an order online for something in the next batch. They’re black, except of course for the tree and the lights. It’s a simple, yet elegant design. The coffee mugs will keep your hot drinks cold and your colds drinks hot They’re even dated so if someone you know says, “when was that?” you can just show them the mug, t-shirt of assuming it’s not summer, your hoodie. No one will be able to forget when it happened Proceeds will be donated to outreach programs in Orillia.
  • The Orillia and District Arts Council’s important visioning workshop, which was postponed last week, is happening Dec. 6 at Creative Nomad Studios. I wrote a few words about it last week, so I’ll truncate my thoughts now to, you should go. Your input is vital to making ODAC relevant to you and the community. The workshop starts at 6 p.m. You know when someone lights firecrackers and everyone looks up from what they are doing for a second until they figure out its just firecrackers and then it’s back to whatever; but blow something up and now everyone is paying close attention and wants to know more. That’s why ODAC and Orillia needs you. The picture of a 100 voices yapping form different points in town is not as strong as 100 people standing together speaking with one voice.
  • Both Orillia Secondary School and Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School have Christmas concerts to add to the list of Christmas concerts. PF is going first Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. ($5) at the school. OSS has theirs Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. (donation) at the school.
  • Wendy Fallis has a book out. Behind The Pickle Jar, is a historical fiction tale set in Simcoe County. She’ll be signing copies Dec. 9 at Apple Annie’s from noon to 2 p.m.
Some of the toys collected at the 90s Video Dance Party
  • Derick Lehmann’s 90s Video Dance Party was a tremendous success. There were more tickets, 764, sold than the first version in July and it raised $14,000 for the various toy drives in town. On top of that people brought toys to donate. Derick’s other annual fundraiser, Dec. 15ths, the Ugly Sweater Bowling Party, sold out weeks ago
  • The Opera House has the Able Theatre company doing their Holiday Show Dec. 6; Dec. 8 Lunch at Allen’s (Murray McLaughlin, Cindy Church, Marc Jordan and Ian Thomas) is in; Dec. 9 and 10 Duck Soup Productions is doing their own musical revue, We Rock; the Barra MacNeils play Dec. 11; Serena Ryder will be in Dec. 15 to bring her Merry Myths Tour to town; Dec. 16 the Titanium Arts Lab dancers will do their Snow Show. Get tickets for any of those online.

  • The Leacock Museum has a new exhibit to see, Decoding Anne Lister: History’s First Modern Lesbian; and Dec. 6 they have a Holiday Centerpiece Workshop lead by the folks from Florillia Floral Design at 5:30 p.m. – you get to bring your creation home and have a drink to end the evening at Fare Restaurant. Get tickets online.

  • The Orillia Silver Band has the last concert of the season Dec. 17 at the Opera House. They’ll be playing music from their Christmas CD, and they will be doing Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride. You can get tickets online.

  • St. Paul’s Centre has a couple of events happening with 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, Raquel Ness and Carey Moran reading and Sean and Sandy Patrick, Jessica Martin and John MacDonald playing music on Dec. 1; you can get tickets for that here.

  • The Orillia Museum of Art and History has exhibits to see; The Canadian Landscape Show, 50 Years Of Mariposa Arts Theatre, A Close up on Carmichael (showcasing OMAH’s collection of related items), Jennifer Zardo’s Home Sweet Home and 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 the Bayside Artists group and Julie Grimaldi has a section of wall space with new material… Peter Street Fine Arts has their annual 6×6 Show happening in December and it should be up this week… Cloud Gallery continues their fall series of exhibits with art by Patricia Clemmens up until Dec. 8; 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.

  • Couchiching Craft Brewing has comedy with Beauty and the Beast Dec. 6; Chris Lemay plays Dec. 8; Cam Galloway is in Dec. 9; The Station plays Dec. 10… The Hog ‘N Penny has  Shawn Steinhart playing every Friday; Michael Martyn and John MacDonald play Saturdays; Sundays from 1 to 3 bring your own instrument for a jam… Zachary Lucky plays Picnic Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. … Washago Lions has a Country music jam Dec. 13 at the Lions Hall; Dec. 20 it’s Rock music.

(Images Supplied)

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