Culture works together

John Swartz

I didn't bring my shoe horn with me Friday night to the opening of the new Mariposa Folk Foundation (MFF) office, but I could have used it to get in.

The MFF moved its office back to Peter Street from its Mississaga Street spot across from the new library building.

By the way, the new library officially opens June 2 at 1:30 p.m.

The new office is where Tre Sorelle used to be, or if your memory is long, where Evans Travel was before that.

One of the great things about life here is how so many of the cultural groups help each other out, or work together on projects. To that end, Chris Lusty, the president of the foundation, thanked everyone for coming and then directed them across the street to Zephyr Gallery for the opening of its show. Smooth way to clear everyone out for cleanup, Chris.

The Zephyr show, It's a Jungle Out There, features art inside by area students and a five-panel mural in the alley next to the gallery.

The mural was created by Vanessa Villa, William Pedwell, Casey Madeline Elrick, Clairesse Lalonde and Claire Levesque. The Orillia Youth Centre was a partner in this project.

Gallery members Xavier Fernandes, Susan McTavish and Paul Baxter helped. Xavier told me they did none of the painting, and the concept for what got painted came entirely from the students.

It looks cool. Xavier and company have plans for murals in other alleyways downtown. This is a great project and needed, as are the lights the City of Orillia plans to install in three alleyways that connect parking lots to the main street.

Xavier and Susan also have an exhibit of their work at Alleycats Music and Art.

Still on art, the Orillia Museum of Art and History has Waterline Timeline up. This group show includes many pieces by Orillia artists and features scenes from Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching.


It looks like the Brownstone is becoming the preview venue for the Mariposa Folk Festival. Recently announced acts added to the summer festival include Jayme Stone, who played the Brownstone just a couple of weeks ago, and Dear Sister, who play Friday night.

Dear Sister is Raven Shields, Bri Salmena and Aaron Comeau. Comeau is also in a band with Sam Cash, who opened for Kirsten Scholte last week (Mariposa alumnus Josh Cockerill was in her band) and Comeau is currently the boyfriend of local artistic photographer Laura Proctor.

Also at the Brownstone this week are Beth Moore and Jordan Raycroft tonight and The Dotted Lines (Aaron Howes, Paul Court and David Christie) Saturday at 2 p.m. with Cutting Bracken along in the evening.


Sunday's Chamber Music Orillia concert at Guardian Angels Church was fantastic. I haven't been in that church for some time to hear a concert and with this particular one, the terrific acoustics of the church stood out.

Jeffrey Moellman (organ), Marie Caroline Bourque (violin) and Christina Heppelle (soprano) performed most of their stuff from the choir loft behind the pews.

Christina's voice is great and I think she's got a great career ahead of her. Both her pieces, Haydn's Creation and a Mozart piece, introduced the audience to one of the strongest, purest voices to have been heard in Orillia. The sound seemed to be coming from everywhere in the church, even though she was behind the audience.

Caroline's first piece - a duet with Jeffrey - was from the choir loft, but her second feature was done from the front of the church. In both cases, she used the acoustics to create an illusion that there were two violins at play.

The organ pieces highlighted different properties of the organ. The closer, Crown Imperial, was simply magnificent. It was the first time I heard it on organ since it's usually done with an orchestra or band.


Saturday, Orillia Laser Tag is hosting a battle of the bands at 6 p.m. Acts entered include Vicky May and Tyler Whitworth, Fairview, Grant Mask, Jake Beers, Amidst the Hollow, Tyler Knight, Unfettered Mind, Cooked Veins, Zingalo and Dismount Westmount Unplugged.

Tickets are $5 and there are prizes for best band, best unplugged band and best original song. Several of those entered I've heard already, so this should be a good night.

Rants! Raves! Info? Write John Swartz at watchthisproductions@encode.com.

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Swartz's shorts

- Anne Walker, who does a funny little tune about swimsuits, has a concert Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the Coulson Church. The church was restored and reopened for its 130th anniversary last year and the Walker family, who reacquired the land donated by their great-grandfather for the church, plans to make more use of it for things like concerts. I heard Anne at the Mariposa Folk Festival audition concert. She didn't make the cut, but then the competition was very thick this year. She's worth seeing. You can call 705-835-2760 for tickets. I'll have more in Saturday's paper.

- Local historian Dorothy Duncan has a new book, Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst: Everyday Life in Upper Canada. She's signing copies at the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) Saturday at 1 p.m.

- Next week is Orillia Youth Symphony Orchestra (OYSO) Week. A chamber concert happens Sunday at OMAH at 3 p.m. They'll also have a booth at the sidewalk sale this weekend. The OYSO will be doing O Canada at council Monday night. They are hosting an open mike at the Orillia Youth Centre Wednesday evening. All former members are invited to a reunion party Friday night at the Highwayman Inn. Saturday their annual concert happens at the Opera House at 7 p.m.

- Either council takes the wrong week off or the Kiwanis Music Festival Stars of the Festival concert needs to change dates. I only saw it twice over the years and I always feel disappointed I have to miss it. The youngsters chosen to perform are the best of the festival's entrants as chosen by the adjudicators. Of the ones I did see, I was thoroughly impressed with their talent and you will be, too, if you go. You are going, aren't you? It's 7:30 p.m. May 28 and admission is by donation.

- The Jubilee Choral is doing Broadway Bound for its annual concert May 30 at Calvary Pentecostal Church. Jake Thompson and Lumina are guest artists. You can get tickets, $12, at the door. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

- Coming up: Alex plays the Orillia Farmers' Market Saturday. Era 67 has Taylor Abram playing Friday; Marlon Gibbons is in Saturday. Sixteen Front has Will Davis playing Friday; Shawn Mei is in Saturday. McCabe's has a jam tonight with Jamie Drake hosting. The Orillia Folk Society Friday Folk concert is Friday at Swanmore Hall with Rob Heath (One Gun City opens); get tickets at 705-326-3655. Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School students are doing Romeo and Winnifred, a remake of the classic Shakespeare play of a somewhat similar name; Dates are May 30, 31 and June 1 at 7 p.m. at the school. The Orillia Spring Blues Festival starts June 7; lots of great stuff happening; more next week.

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