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COLUMN: Songs for Freedom will ring out in support of Ukraine

There are still tickets available for Sunday afternoon event at St. Paul's Centre that is raising money for Red Cross efforts to help people of Ukraine
Zachary Lucky credit Zachary Lucky
Zachary Lucky is among those who will be performing at Sunday's concert to benefit Ukrainians impacted by Russia's invasion of their country. Supplied photo

As we come into April and true springtime weather (we hope), the cultural events are coming fast and furious. So nice to see the sector reviving and people coming back out to enjoy all the talent that is being offered in our area.

Starting with this weekend, we have the big Ukrainian humanitarian relief fundraising concert, Song for Freedom, being put on by St. Paul’s Orillia, or more specifically Dr. John Jefferies and helpers. The concert is Sunday, April 3 at 3 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre, 62 Peter St. N., and features a variety of well-known and popular Orillia artists, including Blair Bailey, Zachary Lucky, Sing It! Choir, a local barbershop quartet, and lots more.

The show will end with a mass rendition of Hymn to Freedom, Oscar Peterson’s iconic song. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for youth 16 and under, and can be bought in advance at St. Paul’s from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 31, or at the door the day of the concert. Already, more than 150 tickets have been sold out of the 400 available.

Local sponsors Orillia Home Hardware, HGR Graham LLB, and Steve Orr of Dapper Depot are a big part of the fundraising, and the show couldn’t go on with them, so a big thank-you to them.

If you would like to donate more, or are unable to come to the concert, you can contribute via this secure dedicated Red Cross donation portal here. All money raised via this portal will be credited to this fundraiser. The goal is to raise $10,000, so please do what you can.

On April 2 from 1 to 3 p.m., the Orillia Museum of Art and History will be hosting a closing reception for Colour with a U, the exhibition of art quilts on the theme of diversity and inclusion by Canadian members of Studio Art Quilt Associates. The show is only up until April 9, so come on out to the reception or at another time next week to see these beautiful works.

This weekend is also Maple Weekend in Simcoe County, a chance to check out the local sugar shacks and enjoy fun and goodies as well. This is the finale of Orillia and Lake Country Tourism’s Tap into Maple event, ending this Sunday.

Lots of local maple syrup makers producing syrup and fun this weekend, including Shaws, Hutchinsons, Backwoods, Maple Grove, Elsie’s and Steamy Kettle. For more information and maple syrup producers, click here.

Third Age Learning Lakehead’s five-part virtual series on China and the World started March 30, but it is recorded, so you can still get in on the action. Click here to register.

Wednesday, April 6 is the Orillia Scottish Festival Tartan Day fundraiser at Quayle’s Brewery, and there are only a few tickets left, so grab yours today for trivia, beer, eats, and fun.

Next weekend, the Orillia Centre for Arts’ big community theatre project, Theatre and Cross Creativity, gets underway, with a change in the lineup due to some cancellations. Nevertheless, this will be a fun, free weekend of thespian workshops and delight. Check it all out and register here.

Also next weekend, Lance Anderson’s show, An Evening of Blues and Gospel X, at the Orillia Opera House, still has some seats available. So, don’t delay. Grab yours today here.

Enjoy the week and weekend, and send your arts news to by Tuesday at noon to be included. Have fun!