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Orillia Performing Arts Forum ensures the hits keep coming

Orillia has an action-packed lineup of music, arts and entertainment coming up, says arts and entertainment columnist
Orillia Silver Band credit Orillia Silver Band
The Orillia Silver Band will present its spring concert, Orillia Silver Band Goes to the Beach May 12. Contributed photo

April is almost over! Are you as astonished as I am? This month has flown by, between fairly terrible grey weather and lots and lots of lovely events.

Roots North Music Festival is always a highlight of April, and this year is no exception. Sadly, tickets for the evening shows at St. Paul’s Centre are sold out, but you can hit up a fine roster of free music this Saturday during the day, throughout downtown Orillia, and late night Friday and Saturday for a $10 cover at the Brownstone Café. Check out the schedule here

The Orillia Secondary School Sweet Spring Fling is Friday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. Bring your cash at the door and enjoy treats, music, and a silent auction in this fun night out. Also this Thursday, at Orillia Museum of Art and History, a three-show opening, 7 to 9 p.m. Come see all the new exhibits at 30 Peter St. S.

Did you know Orillia has an Orillia Performing Arts Forum (OPAF)? This is an umbrella group for our large community music and performing arts groups which includes Orillia Concert Band, Orillia Silver Band, Orillia Vocal Ensemble, The Cellar Singers, Jubilee Chorale, Orillia Centre for Culture, Mariposa Arts Theatre, and the Orillia Concert Association.

OPAF makes sure that these groups pick dates for their shows that don’t conflict, and that each group promotes the other groups’ concerts in each of their programs. Most of these ensembles put on at least three shows a year and are made up of hard-working volunteers who are involved for the love of their art.

Coming up, in OPAF shows, is the Orillia Silver Band’s spring concert, Orillia Silver Band Goes to the Beach. This concert will feature lots of great breach-themed music to prep us for summer, including The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations and Handel’s Water Music. The show is Sunday May 12 at 2:30 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House and tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students/children, available at 705-326-8011 and online here.

Mariposa Arts Theatre, another OPAF group, is performing the play Educating Rita, at its warehouse space as part of the Play and a Tart series. This year, Educating Rita will be performed Thursday to Saturday, May 23 to 25 and May 30 to June 1, at 7:30 p.m. and on two Sunday matinees, May 26 and June 2, at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and include a complimentary refreshment and a tart. You can purchase tickets through the Opera House box office, 705-326-8011, online here although the performances will be at the MAT warehouse space at 12 Brammer Dr. This is a great chance to see a classic play up close and personal.

Other OPAF concerts this spring include Orillia Vocal Ensemble’s Orillia’s Got Talent! A fundraiser for the Orillia Youth Centre Valis Sound Studio, on May 26 at 3 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre, and the Orillia Concert Band spring concert, Hometown Proud, with local singer Liz Anderson, on May 25 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre.

Speaking of St. Paul’s Centre, this venue at 62 Peter St. N. is hopping as always. The Orillia Kiwanis Music Festival will be making beautiful sounds there for the next three weeks, daytime; get the program here to find out the schedule.

As well, Roots North is there this coming weekend, there is a free screening of The Social Shift, a documentary about social enterprise in Canada, May 1 at 7 p.m., the Orillia Youth Centre fundraiser Dinner and a Show with Lance Anderson and Quisha Wint Friday May 3; tickets here.

On top that is An Evening of Song May 4 at 7 p.m. with Doreen Uren Simmons, Lillian Brooks and Amy Dodington; admission by donation. And that’s only the next week or so. For more St. Paul’s Centre events check out the website here.

Orillia’s Arts District on Peter St. S. is full of gorgeous new spring shows and art. Hibernation Arts, at 7 Peter St. S. has a new show, Abstractly Thinking, opening May 4 at 1 to 3 p.m., and the monthly Wordsmith poetry reading series is this Sunday, April 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. A $10 cash charge will buy you poetry and light refreshments.

This weekend, lots of great music as always. Roots North music at the Brownstone café Friday and Saturday nights starting at about 10:30 p.m. At the casino, April 25, Alice in Chains with City and Color; April 26, Brad Paisley; April 27, Luca Carboni. At the Hog ‘n’ Penny, April 26, Jamie Drake. At Fionn’s Waterfront, April 26, Augusta Ray.

Have a great last weekend of April and send me your arts news, to