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COLUMN: Awards, Christmas concerts and craft shows abound

As the calendar flips to November, and restrictions ease, the arts and entertainment scene has begun to pick up steam, says columnist
2018-07-24 Ron Schell Streets Alive letter
Ron Schell is shown with one of the 'Letters of Orillia' he created for a Streets Alive project. Schell has been nominated for an Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Award. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters File Photo

In case you have been hiding out at home all this time…oh wait…well any ways, the nominees for the third annual Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards have been announced!

The nominees and award recipients will be feted at a free, gala affair on Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre, 62 Peter St. N. Orillia. You must bring proof of vaccine to attend.

The awards night will also be live-streamed from the Orillia Museum of Art and History YouTube channel, for those who can’t get out that night. Do try and participate, it has been a heck of a time for those in the sector, and it will be wonderful to celebrate them. There will be a red carpet with paparazzi starting at 6 p.m., so put on your fancy duds and come mingle, masked and double vaxxed, with the best in the area!

And the nominees are:

The Education in the Arts, Culture and Heritage Award recognizes an educator, not necessarily a teacher by profession, whose knowledge and teaching skills inspire others to pursue their interest in the arts and heritage. This year’s nominees are: Alex Andrews, Heartworks Children’s Studio, the Orillia Music Centre, and Ron and Ann Harrison.

The Emerging Artist Award recognizes an individual of any age who is in the early years (under five years) of launching a career in the arts. Nominees can be pursuing any genre of art including, but not limited to, visual arts, performance arts, literary arts and many more. This year’s nominees are: Brazzledazzle, Norman Catchpole, and Sam Johnston (SAMMY).

Heritage: Restoration, Renovation and Publication Award recognizes an individual or group who brought to life regional history through a physical restoration or creation of a permanent public record. This year’s nominees are: Fred Blair and Michael Hill.

The Event in the Arts, Culture and Heritage Award recognizes an individual, organization, or corporation for their part in organizing a single or annual event that showcases the region’s creative talent or cultural heritage. This year’s nominees are: Mariposa Arts Theatre’s production of Twelfth Night; OMAH History Committee’s History Speakers Series; and Streets Alive Productions’ Hippie Van Sculptures.

The Qennefer Browne Achievement Award recognizes an individual or group of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the cultural life of their community. It was named in honour of Qennefer Browne, who gave much of herself to support both arts and heritage organizations within the region. This year’s nominees are: Lance Anderson, Blair Bailey, Dick Johnston, and Ron Schell.

Moving on, don’t say I didn’t warn you: the Christmas concerts are coming out of the woodwork…or at least the pandemic. Brass and woodwinds have been given the OK to perform, and with six-foot distancing and capacity rates lifted for those who have proof of vaccine, our local community bands have wasted no time getting on the bandwagon!

The Orillia Concert Band is presenting two concerts on Dec. 4, at 3:30 at 7:30 p.m., at St. Paul’s Centre. The afternoon concert is meant to be a family affair, shorter and easier to attend with the littles in your circle. If you are eligible for the vaccine, bring proof of it to attend. Not the kids, obviously.

The evening concert is the long-running Christmas Prelude concert, the traditional start to the Christmas season around these parts. This will be a longer more fulsome program, sure to put you in the Christmas spirit. Tickets will be at the door, and again, you must bring proof of vaccination and wear your mask to attend.

The Orillia Silver Band’s Christmas concert, Brass and Voices, will be Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House and will feature special guests, Jazzamatazz. In case you didn’t hear, the legendary jazz singing ensemble is back as a quartet, 30 years later, and made a stunning debut at the Orillia Jazz Festival back in October.

You can get tickets for this special afternoon through the Orillia Opera House website, here.

Shop local is the theme of Christmas this year, and there are so many opportunities here in our creativity-rich area. Not only does downtown Orillia have a plethora of incredible boutique stores chock-a-block with locally made handcrafted items, but there are multiple craft and artisan markets popping up for the holiday season as well. Here is a rundown of some of them:

  • Nov. 6, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Orillia Holiday Craft Show at ODAS Park
  • Nov. 13, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Braestone Farm Farmers’ Market at Braestone Farm, Oro-Medonte
  • Nov. 12 and 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., reopening celebrations at Shenanigans Crafts and Gifts, Orillia Square Mall
  • Nov. 12-14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Holiday Open House at the O.C. Emporium downtown
  • Nov. 27 from 12 noon to 3 p.m., Anglican Church Women Christmas Bake and Craft Sale at St. James Anglican Church
  • Nov. 27 and 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Holiday Market at Creative Nomad Studios

That’s the list for now, I am sure there will be more! Also, if you are the sort who would like to make your own gifts, there are so many workshops on various holidays gifts at Creative Nomad Studios, it’s impossible to list them all. Go here to check them all out and register.

What’s happening this weekend?

The opening of Mariposa Arts Theatre’s Love, Loss and What I Wore, at the Orillia Opera House; tickets are available on the website.

Diwali Dhamaka 2021, a Diwali celebration hosted by Orillia’s Indian Community, happens at ODAS Park Saturday. Call or text Manish Bajaj: 705-350-0283 or Jigar Patel: 705-796-2546.

At Hibernation Arts, Carmichael Too, local nods to Carmichael, for the month of November, opening Sat. Nov. 6, from 12 noon to 3 p.m.

At Orillia Museum of Art and History, two new exhibitions opening on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m., D. Ahsén:nase Douglas: We are Still Here and Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition: Tradition Transformed.

Have a great week and weekend, and welcome to the season of so much to do!

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