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COLUMN: Local youth present 'something extraordinary' Friday

'Every rehearsal has been magical,' says Arts Orillia official who hopes people will come see unique show at Studio Theatre on Friday evening
Twin Lakes student Lila Bolden Bruce is one of seven 'brave' local youth who will star in Arts Orillia's Theatre and Cross Creativity at the Orillia Opera House Studio Theatre Friday night.

This weekend being the long weekend, generally we take a break from regular concerts and other cultural events. But one brave organization, combined with seven extraordinarily brave local youth and one award-winning director, have a show planned for this Friday. I really think you need to see this one.

Arts Orillia presents Theatre and Cross Creativity, this Friday May 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House Studio Theatre. For two weeks, four hours a day, seven local youth have been working with award-winning Toronto director Simon Malbogat to create an original performance all about their hopes, their dreams, their fears, and their futures.

“Every rehearsal has been magical,” said Arts Orillia Artistic Director Kate Hilliard. “These kids are putting it all on the line and giving it their all. There has been laughter, tears, and everything in between. This Friday is going to be something extraordinary. I really hope we have a good audience to enjoy all of their hard work.”

One of the students involved is Lila Bolden Bruce, a passionate drama and music student at Twin Lakes Secondary School. She’s also a member of the PEAC program. Lila started dancing at the age of three at Orillia Dance Academy. She remembers many amazing moments on the stage through Duck Soup.

When asked why theatre is important, she says, “because it offers new perspectives through many peoples’ voices.”

Tickets for this magical evening are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors, and $15 for youth 15 and under, and you can get the tickets through Arts Orillia’s website, here. You can check out some stills from the rehearsals on Arts Orillia’s social media, too. I hope to see you there.

The Orillia Concert Band, with guests the Orillia Big Band and Rick Stephenson, put on a couple of spectacular shows this past weekend. Stephenson does Sinatra tunes, and initial ticket sales for just the Saturday night were so high, the band treated us to another show Sunday afternoon.

Not only that, the band and guests went off to Leacock Retirement Lodge on Monday and brought the house down there with their third rendition of this excellent show. What a great example of talent and energy in volunteers in culture in our community! Congratulations Orillia Concert Band!

There are a couple of fundraisers going on right now to raise money for some important local cultural institutions. The Cellar Singers (who put on a bang-up performance of H.M.S. Pinafore recently) are having an online auction which is live now and goes until May 22. Auction items include tickets to some great performances, a ride in an antique car, and many beautiful pieces of art, among other items. Go here to check it all out and register.

The Orillia Secondary School (OSS) Music Parents Association is having a Spring Raffle which coincides with the May Melodies Concert at OSS on Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m. Admission to the show is by donation. There are eight prizes in the draw, and they are all really spectacular. The grand prize is an original piece by Travis Shilling. You can get your $5 tickets at the school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or at Blossom Plants and Goods on Peter Street South during store hours.

There are a couple of concerts coming up I want to make sure you know about.

The Orillia Community Children’s Choir with special guests, members of the Orillia Vocal Ensemble, present Harmony for Hunger on Saturday, May 25 at 2 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre. Tickets at the door and there will be an opportunity to donate to The Sharing Place. Come out and see what these talented young people can do. I heard them at the Orillia Vocal Ensemble concert last spring and they were very impressive.

Speaking of the Orillia Vocal Ensemble (OVE) that choir is having its spring performance on Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m., also at St. Paul’s Centre. The show is called A Canadian Choral Mosaic and will feature choral arrangements of tunes by some of Canada’s great songwriters, including our own Gordon Lightfoot. Special guest Shawn William Clarke, a Toronto musician who hails from Orillia, will play some of the tunes from his latest album, which I can tell you is amazing.

Admission is by freewill donation, as in all OVE shows, and the monies raised in this concert will go to the Quota Club of Simcoe County.

Also coming up quickly, the third and final instalment of the Back to the 90’s Video Dance Party. This will be at ODASK Park on May 25 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Ticket purchasers must be 19 and over, and you can get your tickets at or at Alleycats in downtown Orillia.

This is a huge fundraiser to raise money to buy bikes for kids, so what’s not to love? Great music, great videos on three huge screens, a fantastic night out, and a great cause. Enjoy!

There will be lots of live music in town this weekend, including Music on the Patio every other Thursday night, starting this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. with David Gallagher, at Boston Pizza.

Couchiching Craft Brewery presents Jakob Pearce and Dave Hewitt on Saturday night. Quayle’s Brewery has Chris Stain Friday evening, Rebekah Hawker Saturday afternoon, Kyle Wauchope Saturday night, Matt Playne Sunday afternoon, Giant’s Tomb Sunday night, and Chris Lemay Monday afternoon.

Have a wonderful first long weekend of spring, and if you have arts news, send it to [email protected] by Tuesday at noon to be included.


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