Entertainment Local

Fundraising is a joint effort

John Swartz, Special to The Packet & Times

Joint Effort happens Thursday at the Orillia Opera House at 7:30 p.m.

This is the last year of a partnership between the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital volunteer association and the Orillia Wind Ensemble. It will carry on, but the volunteers who have been central to the show are taking a break. So, next year, a different charity will join the tour.

With 11 shows over 12 years, $60,000 has been raised. This year, 180 performers are taking part. That’s a long show, but you can knock that total down quickly counting all the people in the wind ensemble, the Orillia Vocal Ensemble, the Orillia Silver Band and Lake County Harmony as one act each.

Lance Anderson is going to do Georgia. That in itself is worth the ticket price. He’ll also do a preview of his The Band show (see info in Swartz’s Shorts), teaming up with Amy McIsaac and Even Steven.

The Stevens will also team up with Liz Hurtubise for the closer, as they usually do each year. Also performing are Honey Mead with Meredith Warboys, Abigail Johnson, Craig Markle, Jonathan and Jeffery Moellman, Ashley Nelson and Chris Thompson.

Artist Charles Pachter has donated three prints for auction. One of them is a version of his Canadian flag painting. Bidding will close at the end of intermission.

This show always provides a nice mix of talent and musical styles. Every year, organizer Roy Menagh manages to find someone who is not known for his or her music, or known to Orillia audiences, who then proceeds to blow us all away.

Tickets are $25 per person and you can get them at the box office.


I was at the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) Saturday night to help celebrate Madison County Food and Beverage Company’s 50th year in business. The museum is making itself available as a reception venue and I think it’s a great idea. When you run out of words or nobody will talk to you, you can look at the art hanging around.

Stop laughing; I already saw the Beckley exhibit.

Madison County owner Jim Dykes was given five coffee mugs to mark the occasion. Each was decorated by the giver and represented appreciation for his and the company’s support for different community initiatives.

The occasion was also used to announce another community program the company is sponsoring. This time, it’s Free Fridays at the museum. Admission is free on Fridays for the next year, and youth art programs that people can take part in for free are being developed.

The $4,000 donated is being matched by the artsVest program, so $8,000 is making that happen.

A similar event happening at OMAH is the CD release party for Aaron Mangoff’s new disc, Strangers, Nov. 16. Tickets are $20 and include a copy of the disc.

Back to the Allan Beckley exhibit. No Vacancy is high realism paintings of neon signs. It’s a great show and you should see it. There are a number of his landscapes at Shadowbox as well. Beckley won OMAH’s Carmichael Landscape Show two years ago.

OMAH also has a family drop-in program running Sundays from 2 to 3 p.m. It’s $5 and you should call 705-326-2159 to reserve a spot.


It may not be on many lists of top plays ever written, but Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie is on just about every list of “these are great, too” plays. Mariposa Arts Theatre is opening it Nov. 14 at the Orillia Opera House.

The story is autobiographical, a recollection of the dynamics of Williams’s family. The title comes from his sister’s collection of glass figurines.

Phyllis Johnson directs Adam Ward, Rachel Lock, Kyle Holden and Valerie Thornton. It runs until Nov. 24.


The Halloween Haunt at the Opera House last Thursday was close to hitting the mark. There were some logistical issues — too much waiting and parts of the building were not available to tour because of the elevator construction — but it was a good first try.

Most of the info from the guides was about building history. Next time, I hope it has more ghost stories.

The last part of the tour, in the public washrooms, was brilliant. Norbert Kondracki was cloaked and hooded to tell us about the goings-on in the part of the building that was the old jail. The actual cells were in the part of the basement we couldn’t get to, but his storytelling in character was exactly what needed to happen in the other parts of the tour.

The tour started in the Green Room, leaving everyone to wait in the lobby until the next group was called. I would have used the Green Room as the marshalling area because, well, you know, receiving an eerie story works best when you are ready to hear it (wink). That, and you could sit down while waiting.

I suspect this event will get better over time.

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


• Lance Anderson has a great band that includes Chuck Jackson, Johnny Max and the Webber Brothers playing the Orillia Opera House Nov. 20. It’s for a show called A Tribute to The Last Waltz: The Music of The Band. This will be a great night and tickets are already selling at a good clip, so don’t wait.

• Congrats to Lance Anderson for another Maple Blues Award nomination for Keyboard Player of the Year. He’s in Shakura S’Aida’s band and she’s been nominated for Entertainer of the Year and Singer of the Year.

• Zephyr Gallery’s annual Celebrations Silent Auction happens Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. You can see the art starting Nov. 12. This auction supports the gallery and I’ve seen a lot of really great stuff go out the door at their auctions. Cole Mendez will be there to play some music, too.

• Peter Street Fine Art has work up by guest artist David Murphy and Jimi McKee is hanging his stuff there now. It also has a seasonal sale of work priced at $100 or less. That show opens with a reception Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.

• Gordon Lightfoot’s 75th birthday is Nov. 17 and a few people are working furiously to put a celebration together that will involve a few venues downtown. (Brewery Bay Food Company already has a band booked.) There’s not much in detail yet, so check back next week.

• Coming up: The Orillia District Arts Council’s Limelight open mike happens Friday at 7 p.m. at the Aladdin Banquet Hall. The Brownstone has an open mike every Tuesday; Amy Carson Hunter, Tyler Knight and Christopher Thompson are in Friday; Jerry Leger and The Situation play Saturday night. Steph Dunn is at Sixteen Front Thursday night; Liz Hurtubise Anderson is in Friday. Jamie Drake leads a jam at McCabe’s Thursday nights starting at 8 p.m. Dave Chun is at Era 67 Friday; Taylor Abram is in Saturday. Anne Walker has a concert at Willis church in Jarratt Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.; admission is by freewill donation to the Jarratt Presbyterian Church. Brent Mayhew has a piano recital Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.; email brentmayhew@rogers.com for tickets. Gayle Schofield, Dale Duncan and Linda Plourde have art at Tiffin’s Creative Centre. Steve Bell is in concert at the Orillia Community Church Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. The Canadian Authors Association has a workshop at Brewery Bay Food Company Nov. 23 with Brian Henry. See Billy Bishop Goes to War with Dean Hollins at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.; get tickets at Tiffin’s Creative Centre. The 20th annual Christmas Artisans Tour in Oro-Medonte Township is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; see the Facebook page for more info.

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