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COLUMN: There's lots to see and do this weekend in Orillia

'We are very spoiled for choice in Orillia, with art and cultural events,' says arts and entertainment columnist, who encourages people to support local events
Tomson Highway will be performing as part of The Gathering: A Festival of First Nations Stories on June 3.

Welcome to the events of the last weekend of May and once again there is so much happening. We are very spoiled for choice in Orillia, with art and cultural events. I think sometimes that can make us complacent. There is so much going on, we can usually make our decisions and buy our tickets at the very last minute and be assured of getting a seat.

But maybe we should take a minute to think about what that last minute decision-making does for the promotor or producer of the event. They are probably sweating buckets the week before, looking at ticket sales and thinking, is there going to be enough of an audience to make the house look decent? Am I going to lose money? Is all this hard work for nothing? Where is everyone?

Do those promotors and producers a favour and buy your tickets in a timely manner. Today, for the events I am mentioning in this column. Event organizers will breathe a sigh of relief.

This weekend, two venerable Orillia cultural institutions have concerts: the Cellar Singers and the Orillia Silver Band. The Cellar Singers’ show, Cantatas Old and New, is this Saturday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. at St. James’ Anglican Church in Orillia. It features special guests Amy Dodington and composer Ben Keast, who is a Korean-born Canadian composer.

The Cellar Singers have commissioned a cantata from Keast, asking him to mirror the more traditional Bach cantatas in the rest of the program. Keast will be there to elucidate the audience as to his methods, and Dodington will be the feature soprano in the cantatas. It will be a wonderful show.

Tickets are $25, $15 for seniors and you might be able to get them at the door, but you are going to buy them now, through Eventbrite, here.

The Orillia Silver Band’s show, Serenade in Brass, will be a wonderful concert for lovers of great music. Featuring tunes such as Franz Von Suppe’s Light Cavalry Overture, Gordon Langford’s Fantasy on British Sea songs, and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. 

The Silver Band show is at the Orillia Opera House on Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. and you can grab your tickets here. Of course, you will pick those up today.  

The Orillia Opera House is also the scene for the Laugh for Lake Simcoe Show, in support of, you guessed, it, Lake Simcoe. This is an annual comedy fest fundraiser for the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, and this year features hilarious Canadian comedy performers Martha Chaves, Jon Steinberg and Rob Bebeneck. 

The show is this Friday, May 26 at 7 p.m. and you can get your $60 ticket through the Orillia Opera House box office at 705-326-8011 or their website. And of course, you will be buying those tickets today. 

Don’t forget about the Sing It! women’s choir concert at St. Paul’s Centre May 29 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre. Proceeds will be going to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orillia and district. Tickets are just $15 and you can pick them up at the door.

Coming up the first weekend in June, there are a couple of big events. 

June 3 at Hawk Ridge Golf Course, Orillia’s Big Band and The Lighthouse are teaming up to present a dinner/dance celebrating the big band music of the 1930s. The theme of the night will be all thirties, all the way, the age of swing. There will be cocktails, dinner, dancing, a silent auction, and costumes of course, all in aid of The Lighthouse. 

May 24 is the last day to get tickets! They are $160 each and you get a tax receipt for $80. Grab yours today, because today is all you have ... here.

June 1 to 4 are the dates for Gathering: A Festival of First Nations Stories. There will be assorted events, speakers, and stories each day, some at Rama First Nation and on Sunday, at St. Paul’s Centre. There will also be two concerts, Tom Wilson on the Friday night, and Tomson Highway and friends on the Saturday night, both at St. Paul’s Centre. I wrote lots more about it last week, so you can check there or at the producer’s website, for more information. 

The events of the weekend are free, you just need to RSVP so they know how many to expect. Each concert is only $25, due to grants and sponsors. So yes, buy your tickets today, through See you there!

Also June 3, in Midland at the Midland Cultural Centre, the continuing Seven Grandfather Teachings event with local artists Paul Shilling and Xavier Fernandes, as well as artists Julie Tian and Ted Fullerton, will be happening. In this event the artists will show and talk about their work related to the fifth teaching, Truth. The event is from 1 to 3 p.m. at Quest Gallery in the Midland Cultural Centre in Midland, and it is free. 

Also coming up in June, OMAH is hosting a fun Sunshine City Art Rally on June 10, a chance to raise funds for OMAH and see the new public art recently installed in our fair city. To find out more, go here.

This weekend, Couchiching Craft Brewery is hopping with music Thursday to Sunday, with lots of great local talent. Thursday, Vinyl Night with DJ Wilverine; Friday, Cassie DaSilva; Saturday, Brigitte Eve; and Sunday, the Chris Robinson and Will Davis Jazz Duo.

Have a great week and don’t forget to buy those tickets. If you have arts news, send it to [email protected] by Tuesday at noon to be included. 


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