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Orillia Culture Days kick off with downtown concert on Saturday

'It's going to be very, very powerful,' says Orillia District Arts Council official of events being planned to celebrate local culture
Former St. Paul’s United Church Director of Music, Blair Bailey, will be teaching people how to sing along with the ensemble as part of Culture Days events in Orillia.

Orillia Culture Days are just around the corner, and the Orillia District Arts Council (ODAC) has organized a variety of unique events for the public.

The Orillia Vocal Ensemble will kick Culture Days off with a free public concert outside the Orillia Public Library on Sept. 23 at 11 a.m., with public participation welcome.

“Blair Bailey (the ensemble’s artistic director) is actually going to be teaching the crowd how to sing along with the ensemble, and he's doing mostly Canadian songs,” said ODAC member Christine Hager.

Culture Days runs in numerous communities across the province between Sept. 22 and Oct. 15, and ODAC has put together a variety of events for people to enjoy locally, she explained.

“The thing about Culture Days is all the events are free to the public,” she said. “There may be one or two where they might ask for donations, if you can.”

Among the events, the city’s youth will have a chance to record and produce winter holiday music on Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Simcoe Mechanical Recording Studio.

“They ask 30 young people, ages 12 to 17 … to go in and they can check out the recording process at the studio,” Hager said. “They're going to try recording and putting it into a festive song album for Christmas.”

On Oct. 5, at Georgian College, Drums et al will host a West African style drum circle between from 2 to 4 p.m., and 6 to 7 p.m.

“It's happening in conjunction with a big cultural festival day that Georgian is doing, and involves many of their students from different areas and different places,” said ODAC board co-chair, Dennis Rizzo.

A celtic band, The Flailing Shilaleighs, will put on a concert at Couchiching Craft Brewing Co. on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

ODAC has also partnered with the McLaren Art Centre in Barrie for an art talk with Ukrainian artists, titled Against All Odds: Artistic Practice in the Face of Uncertainty and Change, on Oct. 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the centre in Barrie.

"We have one lady from Orillia and one lady from the Barrie area that are going to be talking. It's going to be very, very powerful," Hager said.

Rizzo said he is happy with the events coming to Orillia this year, but noted the offering is a bit more lean than in years past.

“I think it's a good presentation this year. It's not as rich with events and stuff that we would like to be, but that's the process that's in place. We negotiate that with the city,” he said.

More may be read about Orillia Culture Days events here.


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Greg McGrath-Goudie

About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie

Greg has been with Village Media since 2021, where he has worked as an LJI reporter for CollingwoodToday, and now as a city hall/general assignment reporter for OrilliaMatters
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