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COLUMN: Local performers rejoice as live music finally returns

After 18 months of near silence, there are, finally, many opportunities to enjoy live music locally, says arts and entertainment columnist

Hello and welcome to the second half of August, and the latter part of the summer. If, like me, that makes you sad, read on to get cheered up…there are lots of really fun events to take part in, safely, before we say good-bye to the best of seasons!

Under live music, we have a lot going on, finally. After a hiatus of over 18 months for lots of musicians, they are out hustling again, performing and recording for our enjoyment.

See You on the Patio every Friday and Saturday night until Sept. 4 always has several live performances, either on the street or in the restaurants, so nip downtown this weekend and check out some fantastic music.

Reay Music is performing at the Bracebridge Hall on Aug. 27, and I know there are lots of local and loyal fans reading this column, so get over to the website here www.bbhall.ca and grab your tickets today.

Blue Moon Junction near Washago has live music on the patio every Sunday and this week and next week it’s The Jazz Standards, playing…jazz standards…from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Go out, grab some lunch, sip some beer, and enjoy these very talented local musicians in the hopefully wonderful weather on the patio on Sunday.

Couchiching Craft Brewery is hosting its first ever Open Mic Night, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. With the closing of the Brownstone, the famed Open Mic there has ceased, and I, for one, am hoping this replaces that, as it was a way for up-and-coming local musicians to get their performing hours in, and a wonderful evening of entertainment for the audience. Both walk-ins and reservations are welcome, and it goes until 10 p.m., so put that in your calendar.

Local but living-in-Toronto-now musician, Kirty, has a new video coming out on Thursday, AND a full album release, this Friday. I have been a fan of Kirty’s ever since her first album, “Kirty”, and can’t wait to see what she has in store for us with this one.

The new album is called, We Are All On Fire, and features singles God Help Us, This Year’s Been Hell, and Turn You On. You can pre-order the album through all streaming platforms or through Kirty’s website here.

Wed. Aug. 18 at 7 p.m., virtually, as part of the Mariposa Incubator Series for Emerging Artists, aspiring musicians can listen to a panel of four industry experts, for free. The experts are Mariposa Folk Festival artistic director Liz Scott, agent Adam Kreeft, and two performing artists, Alysha Brilla and Kyla Charter. There will be an interactive Q and A as part of this session.

The panel is free, but you do have to register to join in, so click here to do so.

Speaking of Mariposa Folk Festival, on Aug. 22, Mariposa presents local and fan favourites, Lance Anderson and Matchedash Parish, live and in person at the Orillia Opera House (OOH) at 7:30 p.m. There are literally only a handful of tickets left for this amazing show, so I urge you to grab yours without delay here. You can also call 705-326-8011. All current COVID-19 protocols will be in place.

Speaking of the OOH, live theatre is alive and well there with multiple performances of Norm Foster’s Old Love running from Aug. 18 to Sept. 3, various days and times.

Old Love is the story of three decades and half a dozen meetings between a salesman and the widow of his boss, and of course, it will be funny and moving all at once, as it’s Norm Foster. You can get tix through the OOH box office here.

Mariposa Arts Theatre’s (MAT) outdoor production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, performed outdoors at the Leacock Museum, is set to debut on Aug. 25 and run until Sept. 5, various dates and times.

For this production, MAT has set the play in the 1930’s, making great use of the Leacock Home setting, and 1930’s music as well. This will be a really entertaining way to see Shakespeare, starring so many of your favourite local actors, so come out and support. Tickets are, again, through the OOH box office, please bring your own lawn chair.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) has a new exhibit. “Welcome Home to Orillia” tells the stories of 11 newcomers from six continents, who immigrated to Orillia. Why did they come? What did they overcome to get here? What is it about Orillia that makes people want to stay? Find out these answers and more in this thought-provoking exhibit. OMAH is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

OMAH is also hosting weekly walking tours, as part of the downtown street closures. Titled “Gangs, Guns, and Grog: True Stories of Orillia’s Wild West Days,” the tours will include plenty of salty tales about Orillia’s sordid history, as well as a free beer, on OMAH, at the Hog ‘n’ Penny, at the end.

Tours are for 19 plus only, and you can get lots more information and tickets here.

I hope you will take advantage of these last few weeks of summer and support all the creatives who are so happy to be back in circulation. Don’t forget about the weekly Art Walks and all the local galleries, open each Friday Night, and we will see you, safely and vaccinated, out here in Orillia and area.

If you have arts news, send it to annaproctor111@gmail.com by Tuesdays at noon to be included.