Skip to content

Want to be entertained? Amazed? Check out what's coming up!

From Roots North to Mariposa showcase, to fun fundraisers, our arts and entertainment columnist has you covered!
Quisha Wint photo by Chris Cheong
Quisha Wint will be performing with Lance Anderson at the Orillia Youth Centre fundraiser on May 3. Chris Cheong Photo

So much to share in this column this week! Both April and May are shaping up to be so busy with many great events coming up in O-Town.

But first, let’s take a quick look back. Orillia Vocal Ensemble’s Love Never Forgets concert, in support of the Alzheimer’s Society, raised $4,140 for the Simcoe County branch of that non-profit. Congratulations!

St. Paul’s United Church and Centre’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was a five-performance sold-out success. Lots of rave reviews and the quality of the music and production were top-notch. Hats off to the over 60 volunteers who brought this amazing show to Orillia audiences.

Coming up fast, as in, you’d better have your tickets bought: Roots North Music Festival. Recently named one of the top music festivals in Ontario, this home-grown grassroots music festival brought to you by the little committee that could, is five years old this year and runs April 26 and 27.

Headliners are Ron Sexsmith, Rose Cousins, Ariana Gillis, The Weather Station, Alysha Brilla, and hometown favourites, VK. Evening headline shows are at St. Paul’s Centre 62 Peter St. N. starting at 7 p.m., with lots of free daytime shows on Saturday throughout the downtown, and late-night music at the Brownstone café each evening starting at 10 p.m. Right now, all this music is yours for only $45 but hurry and grab your tickets here as the price goes up this Friday.

Also coming up fast, this Friday, April 12 is Tech Night at the Brownstone Café, 178 Mississaga St. E. Brought to you by DJ Subverse Tech, this techno party is a safe zone for all and a fun night out, helping to battle stress and anxiety through music and friends.

Another event this coming weekend? Mariposa Folk Festival’s annual Showcase audition is Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Best Western Mariposa Inn. This Battle of the Bands-like event features 10 bands trying out for the opportunity to be one of three who get to play at the folk festival this July 5-7 at Tudhope Park.

A really fun afternoon out and a chance to hear some great new music. Admission is free, and these are the bands being auditioned: Deeps, The Doozies, Our Shotgun Wedding, The Connors Brothers, Veranda, I, the Mountain, John Muirhead, RedFox, James Gray Music and SaraRose.

There are a few big fundraisers coming up in O-Town soon, for Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH), the Orillia Youth Centre and Green Haven Shelter for Women.

The OMAH fundraiser, Mariposa Gala, will raise money for children and youth programming. The April 27 event will feature sommelier and fromager Andre Derrick from Vineland Estates Winery who will do some wine and cheese pairings to go with other local fare. There will be live entertainment as well, and the whole night will be at the OMAH. Tickets are $75 available through the museum at 705-326-2159 or here.

The youth centre evening is at St. Paul’s Centre May 3 and features incredible musician Lance Anderson and equally incredible vocalist Quisha Wint, as well as a three-course meal by local caterer Melanie Robinson. This evening is a fundraiser for the OYC’s Valis sound studio as well as for a bursary in the late Nelson Bell’s name. Tickets are $150 and can be purchased here. There are also tables for eight for $1,000.

The Green Haven fundraiser is the play, Empty Regalia, at the Orillia Opera House, on Wed. May 15 at 7 p.m. The play tells the story of five Indigenous women whose lives are cut short because of their heritage and vulnerability. This timely production is a must-see and all funds raised will go to Green Haven. Tickets are $30 and are available through the Opera House at 705-326-8011 or here.  

Orillia Secondary School music teacher Laura Lee Matthie sent me a note about some of the awesome things her students have up and coming. OSS bands received all high Silvers and a Gold at MusicFest and all have been invited to Nationals, coming up in May.

OSS guitar classes have been enjoying songwriting workshops with the great Skye Wallace this week. The OSS Stage Bands and some other ensembles will be playing at the annual Spring Fling on April 26 starting at 7 p.m. Also on that night, yummy desserts and a silent auction. Tickets are only $20 and available through the school office. In addition, don’t forget the annual Spring Concert at the school, on Thurs. May 23, admission by donation. A chance to hear some great tunes by our young musicians.

Orillia Concert Association is starting to sell subscriptions for its 2019-20 series of five concerts, only $90 for all five, or $30 for students. Next year’s shows include Tom Allen’s Missing Pages with CBC Radio’s host Tom Allen; Canadian Guitar Quartet; Bridge and Wolak (baroque music); the Toronto Mandolin Orchestra and the Toronto Concert Orchestra with Kerry Stratton. Lots of great music for under $100. For tickets, call 705-326-6598.

Quick heads-up regarding what else is coming up in May? Concerts by Orillia Concert Band, Orillia Silver Band, Jubilee Chorale, and Cellar Singers. Also, An Evening of Song with pianist Doreen Uren Simmons and vocalists Lillian Brooks and Amy Doddington, May 4 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre, admission by donation to the centre and the Orillia Youth Centre.

Live music in the bars this weekend? You betcha. Brownstone Café, Walk of Shame pre-release Thursday and Tech Night Friday. Hog ‘n’ Penny, The Station Friday and Jitensha Saturday. Fionn MacCool’s, Jakob Pearce Friday.

Have a great week and send me your arts events to