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Looking to get into the Christmas spirit? Check out what's happening!

There are lots of festive, fun and charity-driven events happening in the next few days, says arts and entertainment columnist
Randy Hoover credit OSB
Get in the Christmas spirit with Randy Hoover this Sunday with the Orillia Silver Band and this Friday at the Hog ‘n’ Penny. Contributed photo

We are really counting down to Christmas now! The big Orillia Concert Band and Orillia Vocal Ensemble (OVE) Christmas concerts went really well last weekend; there were great audiences and wonderful music for everyone in the audience.

The OVE concert raised over $5,000 for the Lakehead University Humanities 101 course so definitely a triumph that way as well.

This weekend features the Orillia Silver Band, Jubilee Chorale, Muskoka Advent Choir, and The Cellar Singers.

The Muskoka Advent Choir is hosting Waiting for Christmas Friday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church. Come out and enjoy music celebrating the coming of Christ, freewill offering in support of the Orillia Pregnancy Resource Centre.

The Cellar Singers concert is Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at St. James’ Anglican Church at 58 Peter St. N. The concert is titled Carols Ancient and Modern and features Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols as well as other seasonal songs.

This will be a gorgeous evening of fine singing and playing, courtesy of Blair Bailey, on piano. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students and available at Eventbrite here. You can also obtain tickets at the door.

The Jubilee Chorale is doing a Christmas concert and treats show at St. David’s Anglican/Lutheran Church this Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. The highlight of this show is the chance to win one of two Christmas hampers, valued at $200 and $300 each. There are only 500 tickets and tickets are $5 each or three for $10. Draw is at the end of the show, so get yourself there to win.

The Orillia Silver Band holiday show is Sun. Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House (OOH). The concert is titled Sleighbells and Brass and will feature pieces including O Magnum Mysterium, Fanfare Jubiloso, and a Christmas singalong called Neil’s Christmas Jukebox, where the audience gets to pick the singalong tunes.

Tickets are $25 adults $10 students/children, through the OOH box office at 705-326-8011 or here.

Apropos of the OOH, there are still a couple of seasonal offerings there available in addition to the Orillia Silver Band show on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. come to the OOH for the Next Generation Leahy Christmas, featuring the talented kidlets of Doug and Jennifer Leahy, who homeschool their kids and take them on the road performing throughout the year.

This will be a fun, high energy, vocals, fiddle and stepdancing kind of Christmas concert, lots of fun for the whole family. Tickets are limited, $35 and can be found here or by calling 705-326-8011.

Also at the OOH, the very next night, Friday, Dec. 13, come out to a Canadian Country Christmas at 7:30 p.m. Featuring country stars Steve Wilkinson, Adam Gregory Thomas Wade (of Wayward Fame) and show founder singer songwriter, Sean Hogan, among others.

Tickets are $35 adults, $30 seniors and $15 students/kids and available here or call 705-326-8011. Kids 9 and under are FREE, however please call the box office to reserve them a seat!

There are a couple of Christmas cheer as in fun AND giving, events happening this weekend, and both of these are benefitting our local Sharing Place Food Centre.

Derick Lehman and his Big Event have been producing the Ugly Sweater Bowling Party for six years, and this year’s event is bigger and better than ever before.

Starting Friday, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m., there are lanes and bowling available then, and also from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. Derick just added some extra lanes for the 4 to 6 p.m. crowd and the super late-night round features local fave band, Bleeker.

The whole night features fabulous prizes, a cash bar, and a chance to wear your favourite ugly sweater, bowl, badly or not, with your friends, and help strike out hunger. To register, click here.

The Orillia Vocal Ensemble (OVE) is known as Orillia’s most giving choir, with proceeds from all of its concerts going to local charities. This Saturday the OVE gives in a different way with its Old-Fashioned Family Christmas Celebration at Thor Motors Orillia from 1 to 3 p.m.

Come out and sing Christmas carols with the OVE and the Ukulele Kids, enjoy Christmas snacks, a visit from Santa, and donate to The Sharing Place Food Centre. Bob Brown at Thor Motors moves all the cars out of the showroom for this special event. Come check it out and help out at the same time.

This weekend is the last weekend to enjoy a Nutcracker Tea at Old Brewery Bay, with readings from Stephen Leacock and a delicious high tea with all the trimmings, on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The tea is served in the actual Leacock Home, a beautiful setting, and is $29.95. Reservations can be made here. Enjoy 25% off in the gift shop as well while you are there.

Still working on your Christmas shopping? Buy local downtown or nip on over to the first annual Stanton Santa Sale, featuring five local artisans, at 41 Stanton Dr. This is happening Sunday, Dec. 15 from 1 to 5 p.m. and is hosted by Woodlot Arts and Co. Go check it out!

And now, just a quick look forward into January:

Thursday, Jan. 9 to Jan. 11, for three nights this year, the Banff Mountain Film Festival comes to the Orillia Opera House. Loads of outdoorsy films of feats of daring! Tickets through the OOH box office. This will likely sell out.

Saturday, Jan. 11 at Hawk Ridge, the annual Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner, featuring Dr. Kevin Kee, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ottawa, noted digital humanist, author and historian. Tickets are $65 each and available through the Orillia Museum of Art and History, and this one usually sells out as well.

Also, just announced and looking into February but this one sells out as well. The Mariposa in Concert Annual Blues and Gospel Concert, featuring Lance Anderson and friends, is Saturday, Feb. 8 at St. Paul’s Centre. For tickets, go here.

Music in the bars? Of course! At the Brownstone Café, Thurs. Song Circle with Sean Patrick, Geoff Booth, Paul Court and Alex Rabbitson; Sat. The Rip Nancies. At the Hog ‘n’ Penny, Friday, Will Davis and Randy Hoover, Saturday, Jakob Pearce. At Fionn MacCool’s, Friday, Dual Therapy, Saturday, Darcy Windover. At the casino, Saturday, Lee Brice.

Thanks for reading and send me your arts news by Tuesdays at noon, to