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COLUMN: Summer may be waning, but there's lots going on

It's been a busy post-pandemic summer and there are still more fun events coming up in Orillia and area, says columnist
2019-07-06 Mariposa Folk Festival 1
Julian Taylor, shown at the Mariposa Folk Festival in this file photo, will perform Oct. 1 at the Orillia Opera House as part of Mariposa in Concert. | Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters

Just like that, we run pell-mell into the last half of August, and the last few weeks of summer. It has been a good and busy one, and there are still more fun events coming up as we wind our way toward the Labour Day weekend.

On Aug. 27, come on out to Kelsey’s party room on Memorial Avenue for a Night of Hope, hosted by Ralston Harris and Ian McCrae. This is a community-building night of music, storytelling, and awareness, helping us all out of a rough few years, and shining a light on mental health issues, addiction, and suicide.

Confirmed musicians and speakers include Brian Adams, Melanie and Dan Bazinet, Vanessa Wilson, and Zain Campbell. There will be an open mic as well, for people to share their own experiences. Admission is by donation to the Sharing Place Food Centre, and the doors open at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m., at St. James’ Anglican Church, vocal soloist Alexandra Teske and internationally known pianist Kyung-A Lee are performing a recital. The recital is called Songs at Sunset and features Teske’s repertoire from her ARCT voice exam from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Songs by Bach, Faure, Handel, Mahler, Mozart, Sondheim and more will be featured. Since Teske studied for and performed her exam entirely virtually, it will be wonderful for her to perform the works in front of a live audience. Admission is by donation at the door, and a portion of the proceeds will go to Green Haven Shelter for Women.

On Aug. 27 from 2 to 5 p.m. at ODAS Park, a group of musicians are rallying to help a young boy with cancer in the United States. Lucas Magnelli lives in Rhode Island, and his aunt here in Orillia is putting together this fundraiser to help with his terrible medical bills from his cancer treatment.

SAMMY, Ronnie Douglas, and Liz Anderson are on the bill for this mid-afternoon concert, and admission is by donation to help Magnelli, whose hospital and treatment bills could be upward of $50,000 after surgeries and many rounds of chemotherapy.

On Aug. 26 at 5:30 p.m., the Orillia Museum of Art and History presents a virtual premiere of the documentary, Reflections of Ourselves

Reflections of Ourselves is a collaborative art project of 100 artists that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Canadians. Filmmakers Tyler Grace and Chris Lewis created this video featuring artist interviews and insight into the project to accompany this exhibition. A Q&A will follow. Tickets are $5 (plus HST) and can be purchased here.

The Orillia Opera House’s last show in its summer theatre series, Come Down from Up River, a Norm Foster new release, is on now until Sept. 2. Here is the description: “When a logger from northern New Brunswick arrives unannounced at his niece’s city home, family and forgiveness are front and centre in this warm and funny tale by Canada’s leading playwright.”

Sounds good, right? Tickets are available here. Matinee and evening shows are available.

Summer Nights at Orillia’s neighbourhood parks continues, with two events in two parks left on the agenda. Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 6:30 p.m., come out to Walter Henry Park and Eat Your Art with local foodie Nancy Hannah and music by SAMMY. On Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m., the last event in the series is Laughs on the Lawn, outdoor theatre with the Old Dancehall Players, at Victoria Park. Admission is free.

REAY music is having its first show in a year, at Bracebridge Hall Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. Founding member Bazye Murray is off to school after this, so this is a chance to hear him before he leaves. Justin Kadis, the drummer from Platinum Blonde, will sit in on drums. For tickets, click here.

Cassie DaSilva is performing Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Couchiching Craft Brewing Co., and the Chris Robinson-Will Davis jazz duo will be play Sunday, Aug. 21 from 1 to 4 p.m., there as well.

More coming up in the fall: Mariposa Folk Festival is having an Autumn Mariposa at Bayview Memorial Park in Oro-Medonte, with Irish Mythen, Aleksie Campagne, and Union Duke, on Oct. 1 from 1 to 5 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs.

That same evening, Mariposa in Concert presents Julian Taylor at the Orillia Opera House at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $40 each for An Autumn Mariposa or the Julian Taylor concert, or $70 for both events. Tickets for both are available here. They are also available in person at the Orillia Opera House box office.

Have a great week, and send your arts news to by Tuesday at noon to be included.