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COLUMN: OMAH art show, Mariposa folk fest showcase big hits

This weekend in Orillia will be jam-packed with concerts, artisan markets and other events, says arts and entertainment columnist
Classic Lightfoot Live will be performing at the Orillia Opera House Saturday night. Shawne Russell photo

Today is the anniversary of the passing of Orillia’s hometown hero, Gordon Lightfoot. A couple of tributes happened today, at Tudhope Park and St. Paul’s Centre. Take a moment to think about our Gord, and play some of his songs.

Last weekend I enjoyed a couple of great events in this fair town of ours. The Mariposa Folk Festival Showcase at St. Paul’s Centre had so much talent packed in one room, it was amazing! The 10 bands picked to perform out of the more than 200 who applied, were absolutely stellar ... I really felt sorry for the judges, who had to pick three out of the 10 who would have the privilege to play at the festival.

In the end, the judges picked four: May Davis, Rebekah Hawker, Loryn Taggart, and School House. These musicians were simply outstanding. Take a listen, and check them out at the festival.

Speaking of the festival, prices went up May 1 and an adult weekend pass is now $239. Get yours now before they sell out!

Also on Saturday, we checked out the International Women’s Day Art Show, at the Orillia Museum of Art and History. Again, an incredible amount of talent, with over 130 works of art on the walls of the Mulcahy Gallery on the main floor. The exhibit is on display until July, and I urge you to take an hour or two and go check it out. You will be blown away.

Congratulations to Leslie Fournier, winner of the Community Builders Award for the Arts; and Mariposa Folk Festival, winner of the Community Builders Award for Economic Development. Both such worthy recipients and thanks to OrilliaMatters for making these awards happen.

I also wanted to give a shout out to the Mariposa Arts Theatre (MAT) film nights committee for presenting another stellar season of TIFF films, right here in our small town. This committee works hard to bring us these special films, that we otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to see. The monies raised are hugely instrumental in giving MAT the leg up financially and, therefore, artistically, to keep presenting the top-quality musicals and plays that it brings us. So, it’s a win/win for MAT and for all of us.

The next series of MAT film nights will get started in the fall, and I can’t wait to see what is coming our way then.

This weekend is another jam-packed one. Saturday, May 4 at 8 p.m., the Orillia Silver Band presents the Excursions concert, at St. Paul’s Centre. This is a show featuring music from all around the world, so you are travelling while you are listening.

It will feature the modern march Concorde, commissioned by British Airways from Canadian composer Robert Farnon. The trombone soloist, Laura Christie, will be featured on another Canadian work, the Fantasy for Trombone by Elizabeth Raum.

Next, a stop in Coventry, England, the City of Three Spires by Leslie Condon. Jumping over to Spain, the feature will be flugelhorn soloist Debbie Silverthorne performing music of Chuck Mangione – The Children of Sanchez. Also included on the program is a stop in Palestine with Variations on Maccabeus by Kevin Norbury.

The program also includes a world premiere by composer Ty Watson, Together Again – commissioned by one of the band’s own members as a tribute to family. The band’s cornet section will go to the Far West with a version of the theme from A Fistful of Dollars by Ennio Morricone. And, there will be a stop off in New York, to dance to some music by Duke Ellington – Caravan!

It’s going to be a great show. Tickets or at the door.

Now, you’re going to have to make a choice Saturday, because that night at 7:30 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House, Classic Lightfoot Live will be performing. If you love Gordy, and Orillians do, you won’t want to miss this great band performing all the Lightfoot greats. The band features John Stinson on vocals and guitar and Lightfoot’s nephew, Steve Ayers, on bass, as well as local Liz Anderson on keys. It’s going to be a great show, tickets

Also on Saturday, believe it or not, but at 3 p.m., The Cellar Singers presents its spring concert, featuring the lighthearted HMS Pinafore. This Gilbert and Sullivan classic is perfect for a full afternoon of laughter and enjoyment, and I am sure The Cellar Singers will make it beautiful. The show is at St. James’ Anglican Church, and you can get tickets at or at the door.

Sunday, May 5 at 2:30 p.m., you can head on over to the Orillia Opera House for the Orillia Concert Association’s last concert of this season, featuring Ensemble Vivant. This brilliant chamber group will be presenting works from many different genres of music and it’s going to be wonderful. Tickets at

There are a couple of artisan markets happening this weekend, both at breweries. Quayle’s Brewery in Oro-Medonte is having an outdoor artisan market this weekend and next, Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. There will be 50 unique local vendors at these markets, and I am assuming you can drink and shop at the same time, so, lots of fun!

Couchiching Craft Brewery, right here in Orillia, is having its Spring Vendor Market indoors, in its Barrel Room, on Sunday from 12:30 to 4 p.m. There will be lots of local vendors, with artisanal works and goodies for sale. And yes, bevvies are available as well.

Arts Orillia is presenting Theatre and Cross Creativity, this month. This youth project pairs local youth with professional directors to put together a theatre show about youth’s concerns and priorities. The show is happening May 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House Studio Theatre, and I certainly can’t wait to see what the youth come up with. Watch this space for more information and more details. Tickets

Last but not least, an important call to artists. From the press release: “The City of Orillia’s Art in Public Places Committee, in partnership with the Inclusive Orillia Committee, is launching a new call to artists for the Stack Gallery, located at the Orillia Recreation Centre (255 West St. S.).

“The committees are seeking artists to interpret the theme “Inclusion” through new or existing original works of art. The notion of inclusion is the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. The theme invites artists to interpret what the word “inclusion” means to them through an artistic and creative lens.”

The deadline is May 10, and artists can apply here.

This weekend, live music at many the local bars and restos, and Couchiching Craft Brewery presents a comedy show on Friday night, Sin Bin Comedy featuring Drew Behm, feature act Jesse Ralph and host Greg Enwright. Tickets: [email protected].

Don’t forget to get your tickets for the Orillia Youth Centre upcoming series of concerts, in the fall, including Danny Michel and Steve Poltz, coming back here in November. More information and tickets here.

Have a great week and if you have arts news, send it to [email protected] by Tuesday at noon to be included.


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