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COLUMN: It's time to get your Christmas on, Orillia!

There are lots of festive-themed concerts, events, markets and much more happening in the area, says arts and entertainment columnist
arts district sign wrapped for christmas
The Holiday Art Hop will be happening in the Orillia Arts District Saturday. So it seems appropriate the Arts District sign has been wrapped with a bow. Leslie Fournier of Streets Alive poses in front of the decorated sign.

And just like that, here we are in the second week of December! I hope you got to enjoy at least one of the first round of local Christmas concerts here in O-Town, whether it was the Barra MacNeils at the Orillia Opera House, or one of the delightful Orillia Concert Band (OCB) shows at St. Paul’s Centre.

If you missed the Orillia Concert Band shows, fear not, they were live-streamed thanks to St. Paul’s live-streaming capabilities. The afternoon, family-friendly show can be found here.

The evening Christmas Prelude with guests Christina Bosco and St. Paul’s own Blair Bailey (the recent winner of the Qennefer Browne award at the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards), can be found here.

I listened to the Christmas Prelude and it definitely put me in the Christmas spirit, as it did the over 400 other livestream listeners, I am sure. If you would like to contribute to the cost of the livestream, the OCB has made it easy for you to do so, through this link. Enjoy!

We still have some great Christmas concerts coming up, including The Lighthouse Holiday Wishlist concert this Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre, featuring New Moon Junction and SteelHorse Gypsies. Admission to this one is a $20 donation at the door, or items totalling at least $20 from The Lighthouse holiday wishlist, which you can find here.

This Friday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m., join The Cellar Singers at the traditional performance of The Messiah, at St. James' Anglican Church. The Messiah is certainly a big Christmas tradition in many families, just a beautiful piece of Christmas music, and The Cellar Singers always do it justice. Tickets can be purchased here.

And, not to be outdone, the Orillia Silver Band chimes in with its Christmas concert, Brass and Voices, featuring guests, members of Jazzamatazz. The show is Sunday December 12 at 2 p.m. and is at the Orillia Opera House. The Silver Band is a wonderful group of musicians, and the sounds of brass and vocals are definitely a holiday favourite. You can get your tickets here.

The Orillia Community Children’s Choir is performing a short holiday concert next Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre. Entry is just $5 at the door, come and see what these talented kiddos have been up to!

If you are looking for a more intimate holiday show, check out Alex Andrews Rose and Michael Martyn in the cozy space at Hibernation Arts, 17 Peter St. S., next Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m., playing Celtic and Christmas music on viola and guitar. Admission is just $20 at the door. This promises to be a beautiful evening with this talented duo.

Of course, with all of these events, COVID-19 rules must be followed, so everyone must bring proof of vaccination and be masked. Enjoy these special holiday moments, courtesy of our great community musicians.

Coming up this week?

Local author and historian Dennis Rizzo will be speaking on his books, at Hibernation Arts Thursday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. Admission $10 at the door, must bring proof of vaccination.

Dec. 11 at the Orillia Opera House, The Music of the Night, music of Andrew Lloyd Weber, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets through the box office here.

Christmas Markets? Of course! Dec. 11 at Braestone and ODAS Park, and Dec. 15 at the Orillia Farmers’ Market.

Christmas workshops? Lots at Creative Nomad Studios, various days, themes and age groups. Check them all out here.

'Holidate' at Orillia Museum of Art and History, Wednesday and Friday, more information here.

Don’t forget to check out the Whoville trees scattered throughout downtown, courtesy of Streets Alive Productions and many area artists. They, along with the Christmas décor courtesy of the Downtown Orillia Management Board, really beautify the downtown this holiday season.

Last but not least, don’t miss the Holiday Art Hop in the Orillia Arts District and throughout the downtown, this Saturday, Dec. 11 from noon to 4 p.m. Lots of local art and goodies to pick up for the faves on your Christmas shopping list.

Have a merry week two and don’t forget to send your arts news to [email protected] by Tuesday at noon to be included in this arts and culture column.