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Stage show a community collaboration

Ross McIntyre

hen an event takes on a life of its own over a long period of time, it is a sign organizers have something special on their hands. Joint Effort is a perfect example of this. It has become a staple of the Orillia arts community since its first incarnation in 2000 and this Thursday will mark the 12th concert in 13 years.

For those who have not heard of this event, Joint Effort is a variety concert fundraiser for Orillia Soldier’s Memorial Hospital (OSMH) and it lives up to its name. This Thursday, more than 180 individuals will share the stage at the Orillia Opera House, some as individual performers and others as members of larger groups such as the Orillia Vocal Ensemble and the Orillia Wind Ensemble.

Local artists throwing their talents behind fundraisers is common in Orillia, though it is rare to have so many converge on one stage. The simple range of performances and the exceptional quality of performers is reason enough to attend this event.

“Each year, the quality gets better and better,” said Roy Menagh, musical director for both the Orillia Wind Ensemble and the Orillia Vocal Ensemble.

Both groups play a key role in the success of Joint Effort.

“Joint Effort was hatched back in 2000. It is a hospital fundraiser, but it is equally important in how it showcases local performers,” said Menagh.

There are some interesting, defining parts of the 2013 Joint Effort.

“One twist this year is the donations (by) artist Charles Pachter,” said Menagh. “They are displayed for bidding in the hospital now and are wonderful pieces. The audience will be able to put bid in at the concert as well.”

The donation of these pieces adds to the artistic collaboration that defines this event.

When asked about the appeal for artists to get involved in this fundraiser, Menagh highlighted the mutual benefits.

“For the young artists, some of the appeal is to be in the company of more experienced artists,” he said.

Chris Thompson, finger-style guitarist, is one of those young performers and he has his own reasons for pitching in for Joint Effort.

“I was attracted to the event because it will be cool to play the main stage at the Opera House and I’m also looking forward to seeing more of Lance Anderson.”

Thompson also commented on the gracious audiences that attend events like Joint Effort in, saying, “It is always nice to have a chance to play charity gigs and the audiences at these events are often attentive and great people. The audience is there because they really enjoy music.”

As if Joint Effort does not cover enough ground already, a portion of the program leading to the intermission is in honour of Remembrance Day and will feature an entrance of the Royal Canadian Legion. The variety and depth of talent will ensure this performance is memorable.

“At the intermission, the audience will wonder where the first hour went,” said Menagh.

The Joint Effort fundraiser truly lives up to its name and is a testament to collaboration in Orillia. We can further the collaborative nature of this event by attending. This is the last year Joint Effort will run in support of OSMH, so if you have not been, now is the time to get your tickets. Music lovers can find tickets online or at the Orillia Opera House box office. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Orillia Opera House.

Ross McIntyre is a director at Camp Couchiching and the Couchiching Community Initiative. He is passionate about outdoor education and community building. This column profiles community organizations dedicated to Orillia and opportunities for local youth engagement. If you have a story idea, email

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