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Local musician Ayden Miller finds 'The Way' with new band

There are lots of ways to support local musicians and artists despite the pandemic, says arts and entertainment columnist
New Friends credit New Friends
New Friends, Stefan Boulineau, Orillian Ayden Miller and Cole Wilson, have a new single out this week. Contributed photo

Happy May long weekend everyone. Please, if you do get out to enjoy the great outdoors, stay safe and distanced, and wear your mask if it isn’t possible to stay away from people.

Nice to see the Couchiching Conservancy nature reserves are open for hiking again as of Thursday; just be aware of the social distancing guidelines. Let’s keep flattening that curve and keep people healthy.

In music news this week, Orillian Ayden Miller reached out to me to tell me about his pop band, New Friends. Three guys from the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario (Stefan Boulineau, Miller and Cole Wilson) formed this band in 2019 and shortly after won the first ever award for Artist of the Year.

This award comes with a $12,000 grant for artist development, and the guys have been busy, with their first single, The Way, out this week. Ayden also plays keys for Bleeker, so lots of talent in this musician and in New Friends. Check out the catchy pop tune The Way on YouTube here.

The Essential Concert Series, in support of the OSMH Foundation, presents local musician Angie Nussey live on Facebook on Thurs. May 14 at 8 p.m. You can check it out here.

Remember to support local musicians, and all the musicians you love, by buying their merch, not just streaming their music from streaming services.

Now more than ever, with live music not happening, musicians need you to support them, not streaming services. Streaming services pay very little to musicians, which is why they have to tour so much to pay the bills.

So, check out your favourite musicians online, then buy their music and merch through the platforms they use for that. Check my column last week for some more local musicians who have recently released new material.

Mariposa Arts Theatre has announced that Rabbit Hole, the production originally scheduled for this spring, will be hopefully performed in November 2020. Gin Game, which was supposed to be this May, will be rescheduled for May 2021. Fingers crossed that MAT can have a 2021 season, we will have to wait and see.

Local galleries are now allowed to be “open” for curbside pick up and deliveries, only. Many of them are advertising their work online through their websites or Facebook pages, here is a sampling:

Peter Street Fine Arts Gallery and Studio: a group of artists who work in various media, including acrylics, oils, photography, fibre arts, and woodturning.

Mad with Rapture Studio: artist Patti Agapi who works in different media, doing collages and other fine art.

Three Crows Speak Studio: artists Sylvia Tesori and Patti Agapi have a variety of artwork here, as well as Sylvia’s amazing homemade soaps, essential oils, smudging kits and more

Hibernation Arts: a group of artists who work in various media, including paint, fibre arts, and more.

The Shadowbox is open for curbside pick up and delivery as well.

Otter Art Club will be zooming again this Sunday at 1 p.m. Email them at to get in on the fun.

Rumour has it that a new website for online shopping in downtown Orillia is coming soon, so do some searching starting this Thursday and see if you can spot it…can’t say any more just yet, shhhhh!

Don’t forget to check out all the local libraries’ websites for online programming for all ages and interests, there is lots going on to entertain and inform. Click here for Orillia Public Library programming, here for Barrie Public Library information and here for all the activities and programs at Midland Public Library.

Take care, and send me your arts news, virtual and otherwise, to by Tuesday at noon, to be included in this column.