This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

The Mariposa stage schedules are out this week. Notably there is a stage downtown only on Friday instead of both Friday and Saturday, Downtown Orillia is also having a Vintage Market street sale.

Kicking off the music for the weekend is Rebekah Hawker. She was one of the acts who passed the audition concert in April and she will play downtown at 11:30 a.m. Friday.

Every 90 minutes the performers change and she’ll be followed by Lawrence Maxwell, then Ben Doerksen and lastly at 4 p.m. Jiggity James.

Rebekah Hawker

Rebekah has been a regular performer at Couchiching Craft Brewing, Quayles Brewery and several other venues in town over the last couple years. Maxwell is from Prince Edward Island, and wrote the material for his first album, Not Your Outlaw, released in 2018, while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. Ben Doerksen is from Southern Ontario and Jiggity James is a solo musician from Guelph.

The main stage lights up at 5 p.m. with Amanda Rheaume. Her album, Keep a Fire, was nominated for a Juno in 2014, and in 2023 she was nominated for Indigenous Songwriter of the Year at the 18th Canadian Folk Music Awards.

In between the main stage acts performances, while the crew is doing set changes, Mariposa began getting some other festival performers up to do a few tunes off to the side of the stage. They called those Tweeners. Rebekah Hawker will be the first of those Friday night.

The Secret Sisters are the next main stage act. Laura Rogers and Lydia Slagle (they are sisters) are from Muscle Shoals, Alabama and their third album, You Don’t Own Me Anymore, was nominated for a Grammy in 2018. They have a new album out, and all their previous albums made the top 30 Country charts.

The Tweener is Fellow Camper, a duo, Lee Watson and Benjamin Roy. Lee was formerly in the band, The Breakmen.  Cat Clyde takes the main stage next. She is from Stratford and recorded her latest album, Down Rounder, at the famous Sound City Studios in California.

The next Tweener is Hussy Hicks. They are Leesa Gentz’and Julz Parker from Australia where they are a big thing. Their mix of styles has earned them spots at Folk, Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock festivals around the world and we’re about to find out what we’ve been missing.

The next main stage act is William Prince, fresh off his performance at the Gordon Lightfoot tribute concert at Massey Hall in May. This is his second main stage appearance at the MFF.

Ben Doerksen will then do the last Tweener of the night leading into the third MFF main stage appearance by Barrie’s Bahamas. His music has been nominated many times for Juno Wards and won many times. Meanwhile up in the pub, festival favourites Union Duke will close out the night starting at 11 p.m.

Ticket sales are on track to sellout park capacity for the third year in a row. So if you’ve been sitting on the fence, you can get them online right now.

Next time we’ll look at the Saturday line up.

Arts For Peace

This festival appeared to be done in by the pandemic, but it’s back June 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Leacock Museum. This is a family event with lots of things for kids to do and for the bigger kids too.

Music is a big part of the day and performing are Alex The folk Band, Maeve O’Connor, Steve Caston, Alex Rose, Steve Preston, the Brant Street Sessions, Lorna and Doc Higgins, Marg Raynor and Basil LaFreniere, Dan McCoy and Little Otter. Sue Charters will be telling stories and Liz Schamehorn will be leading a painting workshop.

The festival is free to attend, but they will be selling t-shirts for $25 to offset costs – and they’ll take donations.

Canada Day

As mentioned last week the event Canada Day organizers managed to get a midway company signed on for the weekend. They were worried they wouldn’t have a midway this year. Because Canada was a small affair last year, they lost the midway they’d used in the past and because all the companies book years in advance they weren’t sure if they’d find one.

The committee has been working on this year’s celebration since the fall and they have just about everything we’re expect in place – except for one thing. They need volunteers.

No experience is needed and you don’t have to sign on for the whole day. They’ll train you for any of the tasks which need to be done. High school students can pick up credit for their volunteer requirements. If you can spare some time, send an email to

Local History

Two things are happening this month. One is a fundraising drive by the Orillia Public Library to update the Local History room. They need new equipment and archival supplies to preserve some of the things they’ve collected.

The holdings of the library are important to people doing research about what was, and a good portion of it is interesting to read through just because.

You can donate online. Donations of $20 or more get a tax receipt, and for $50 they’ll give you a hat too.  Each $10 donated gets an entry in to the prize pool for another $10,000 from Canada Helps.

And, The Orillia Museum of Art and History is opening a new exhibit called Reflections Of Our Roots. It shows the development of Orillia from 3,000 BC to now.

It was kind of slow for a few thousand years, but really picked up since then.

Of the items from the museum’s collection on display are Jake Gaudaur’s paddles from 1896 when he won the first of five World’s Singles Sculling Championship.

Concerts in the Park
Four members of the Orillia Concert Band’s clarinet section will be featured at June 23rd’s concert in the Park

They start June 23 at 6:30 p.m. with the Orillia Concert Band playing.  I popped into a rehearsal this week to catch up with Dan Austin. He was in town to hear the OCB rehearse his newest composition, The Beauty Within. It’s a slower, prettier piece of music, which demands the band members really blend their sounds together for best effect.

I also heard them play a piece called Clarinet Candy, which features a quartet of the section doing some musical gymnastics. Conductor, Randy Hoover, thinks the audience will really like it. The band will also play music by Glenn Miller and Andrew Lloyd Weber.

The rest of the schedule for Concerts in the Park is:

  • July 7, Baytowne Big Band
  • July 14, Orillia Silver Band
  • July 21, Barrie Concert Band
  • July 28, Orillia Big Band 
  • August 4, Skyliners Big Band
  • August 11, Newmarket Citizens Band
  • August 18, Markham Concert Band
  • August 25, Simcoe County Band
  • September 1, Orillia Brassworks

The Shorts

  • The chamber of commerce is putting together a summer music series at the Port of Orillia all summer. It starts with Christmas in June (the 22nd) with DJ Santa Steve and continues with live music by the Offcuts June 29. They’re still looking to fill a few holes in the schedule so apply online to get to perform your music.
  • Creative Nomad Studios has two things happening. One is their annual contest to give away use of the facilities by a charity for a fundraising event. You can vote online by June 16 for your favourite, or add a charity to the list. They also have a Summer Kick-Off Concert June 21 with Craig Mainprize and Jakob Pearce. Get tickets online.
  • Mariposa Arts Theater has their 2nd annual Queer Cabaret happening June 21 and 22 at their rehearsal hall on Brammer Drive. Tickets are not available yet, but will be online here.
  • The Opera House has the Laugh For Lake Simcoe fundraiser with Ron Josol, Fiona O’Brien, and Jeff McEnery June 22. Get tickets online.
  • The Coldwater Studio Tour happens June 22 and 23. All the venues are in Coldwater with 38 artists showing their work.
  • Anne Walker (who will be performing at the MFF in July)  has Tannis Slimmon and Lewis Melville in for the next of the summer concerts at the Coulson Church on June 23. The rest of the schedule is: July 28 Wendell Ferguson; Aug. 25 Anne Walker; and Sept. 29 Blair Packham. You can get tickets online.
  • The City of Orillia and OMAH have a reception at the Orillia Recreation Centre to unveil the new exhibit of art in the main concourse called, Roots and  Resilience: Expressions of Identity and Culture, It’s June 24 at 5:30 p.m. There are six pieces from four artists on display at the Stack Gallery wall.
  • Battlescarred has new music out. Watch Hindsight here.
  • It’s almost Summer Theatre season. The Opera House has The Long Weekend by Norm Foster opening July 3; Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Donahue opening July 24; and Those Movies by Norm Foster opening Aug. 14. Get your tickets, including special deals, online. The Opera House also has the Laugh For Lake Simcoe fundraiser with Ron Josol, Fiona O’Brien, and Jeff McEnery June 22. Get tickets online.
Bonnie Milne
  • Bonnie Milne has new music called Stolen Night Sky, for which she also shot a video at St. Paul’s Centre. Well , Anne Douris shot it. Dave Hewitt plays some percussion and it also has cellist cellist Kevin Fox and violinist Shane Guse playing along. Bonnie’s music has 200K Spotify streams and a Top 20 radio single that hit #1 on the UK iTunes single chart.
  • If you are near a radio July 1 tune in to the CBC Radio One from noon to 2 p.m. to hear the Gordon Lightfoot Tribute concert that happened at Massey Hall in May.  The musicians participating included the Lightfoot Band, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, Blue Rodeo, Allison Russell, Aysanabee, Burton Cummings, Caroline Wiles & Bob Doidge, Meredith Moon, Sylvia Tyson, The Good Brothers, Tom Cochrane, William Prince and many others. You can also see the concert on CBC Gem (sign up), or catch it on CBC Music from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • The Orillia Youth Centre has a bunch of concerts happening, mostly in September with artists like Matchedash Parish, Skye Wallace, Roger Harvey, Zachary Lucky, The Ronnie Douglas Blues Band and many more. There is one July 1, Farm Fest. See the complete list and get tickets online.
Maria Iva will be at Cloud Gallery June 15
  • The Orillia Museum of Art and History has submissions open until Aug. 16 for the 23rd annual Carmichael landscape show in the fall; find the details and application online; the 27th annual International Women’s Day Art Show is in the main gallery; you can also see an exhibit of work from an art program for kids called Regent Park Public School Grade 6/7 Garden Design Program; OMAH also hs Backra Bluid an exhibit of works by photographer Stacey Tyrell; the June  19 History Speaker’s Night is with Anna Marino of the Leacock Museum speaking about A Leacock Love Story; it’s online and you can register here… St. Paul’s Centre has the Call to Action 83 Art Project in the Ogimaa Miskwaaki Gallery… Hibernation Arts has new art by Margaret Paradis featured in June and work by new artists at the gallery Susan Fields and Brooke Lawrence; the ODAC artists wall has new work as well; Hibernation is also the ringleader for an Art Hop – with all the Peter Street galleries participating – from noon to 4 p.m. June 15…  Peter Street Fine Arts has a collection of work by Marcia Godbout featured in June… ODAC artists have a new show up in the Green Room at the Opera House called Spring AwakeningCloud Gallery still has their My Happy Place show up; Maria Iva is in June 15 for Meet the Artist and they also have 5 new pieces by Craig Mainprize and he’ll be there June 22 for the next Meet the Artist event… Raune-lea Marshall and Debt Melillo have a show June 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 15 at KC’s on the Corner (Highway 12 and Fairgrounds Road).
  • Couchiching Craft Brewing has Burke Erwin playing June 14;  Cam Galloway is in June 15; Choir Revolution ( you do the singing) does Mama Mia June 19 (tickets); Even Steven is in June 21… Quayle’s Brewery has a comedy festival happening June 20 (tickets) with Ben Miner, Jen Sakato and Daniel Shaw and June 21 (tickets) with Tracy Hamilton, Ben McKay, Craig Fay and Daniel Shaw; Giant’s Tomb is in June 14; Bob Galloway June 15 (afternoon) and Jess Bowman (evening); James Gray is in June 16; Samantha Windover plays June 20 and Sydney Riley is in June 21… The Hog ‘N Penny has an Open Mic Sunday afternoons with Sean Patrick, Michael Martyn John MacDonald, Jessica Martin and whoever else shows up; Scott Olgard in June 14 and 15…  Lake Country Grill has Mitch Beube playing June 19…  Blue Moon Junction has Mitch Beube and Jason Crawford playing jazz June 23… Fionn MacCool’s has an open Mic hosted by Jamie Drake Wednesday evenings… The Griddle Pickers play the Common Stove’s Bluegrass Brunch June 23.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied)

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