Entertainment Local

’Tis the (busy) season

By John Swartz

As we negotiate the home stretch, it would be wise to note the major events related to the season.

Alex is having a concert Friday at Swanmore Hall at 8 p.m. The band will do some favourites and some songs that are not often heard.

Fred Addis will read Leacock’s Hoodoo McFiggin's Christmas, Susan Charters will tell a French-Canadian folk tale, Daphne Mainprize will read Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales and Don Evans will step away from his singing mike to the reading mike to read the conclusion of A Christmas Carol.

Oh, the guy with the newest job in town, Steve Clarke, will be the host. Admission is free, but a collection will be taken to create a new garden dedicated to teachers on museum grounds — and donations to The Sharing Place food bank will be accepted.

Saturday, that guy with the new job will be making an appearance at Christmas Prelude. Most won’t recognize him.

The Orillia Wind Ensemble will do a couple of new pieces. Don’t worry; the concert will still open with Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Festival and close with Messiah.

The Orillia Vocal Ensemble (OVE) will sing several tunes, and its chamber choir will do Rutter’s Nativity Carol. The kids will like the new stuff and Santa will drop in for a few minutes.

Joining the show this year are Laura Aylan-Parker and Alison Jane Taylor, who will do a number of tunes in each half of the concert.

It’s at 7:30 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House and you can get tickets at the box office.

The OVE has another gig Dec. 13 at Thor Motors. The mechanics are going to be busy; the OVE has 60 members who all drive and musicians from the Orillia Music School will be along, too.

Actually, it’s a concert, not a tune-up. It’s happening in partnership with Thor Motors. There’s no admission, but a collection will be taken for The Sharing Place. It happens from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Don’t worry if you can’t get out of the parking lot at the mall; they are running the show twice, so go early or late.

Are we done yet? No, kids; not until the funny uncle, Jim, says so.

That would be Jim Foster, who always has some nice words and wisdom to impart about the season each December.

He will do so at Swanmore Hall Dec. 11 at 6 or 8 p.m. Well, dinner is at 6 and Jim’s eloquent rant starts at 8.

He’s calling it The Turkey Monologues. Dinner/show tickets cost $29.95. Tickets for just the show cost $10. You can call the Leacock Museum at 705-329-1908 to get them.

The Cellar Singers will perform the fantastical and majestic Messiah Dec. 14 at 3 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre. Soloists are Jennifer Tavener (soprano), Jennifer Enns Modolo (mezzo), Joseph Levesque (tenor) and Benjamin Covey (baritone). You can get tickets at Manticore Books.

Dec. 13, the Orillia Silver Band has its Christmas concert at St. Paul’s Centre (St. Paul’s United Church) at 7:30 p.m. The band will cover excerpts from The Nutcracker and Philip Sparke's The Snowman. Band members Sarah Hemeon and Paul Rayment are featured soloists, while Jim Ferris will lead the sing-alongs.

Tickets cost $15 — students and children get in free — and you can get them at the Orillia Museum of Art and History or at the door.

The Couchiching Jubilee House is once again having a reading of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. It will happen Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Guardian Angels. The readers are Krista Storey, Rev. Karen Horst (St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church), Dr. Rob Town, Franco Bassoriello and Mayor Steve Clarke. Music will be by the Guardian Angels choir, directed by Jeff Moellman.

You can get tickets, $15, at the Jubilee House office at 79 Colborne St. E., St. James’ Anglican Church, Home Hardware or by calling 705-325-3722.


Nothing says merry Christmas better than a book that will take until the new year to read.

A number of people you probably know have recently published books. All of the following are available at Manticore Books.

Two books about the Second World War are fresh. Jim Watt documented Orillians who didn’t come home in Orillia’s Fallen, and Howard Raper told the story of Robert “Flash” Clayton’s captivity in Hoping in Hell.

David Town tells the story of athlete Walter Knox in Hot Foot. Bob McDonald profiles Canadian astronauts Chris Hadfield, Steve MacLean and Dave Williams in Canadian Spacewalkers.

Jim Foster has The Crowning of Miss Mariposa, a funny continuation, of sorts, of Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. William Bell has a new young-adult novel, Julian, on the shelf, and Lee Bice-Matheson's newest is Destiny’s Child. Not entirely fiction, but Colin Andrew and Dorothy Duncan have come up with recipes for all of the food mentioned in Sunshine Sketches in Mariposa at Table. John Forrest has stories in several Chicken Soup books, including the new one, and his two Christmas books are available.

Marcel Rousseau put together Postcard Memories: Orillia, telling our story from preserved postcards. Last, don’t forget 50+ Poems for Gordon Lightfoot, which has contributions from several Orillians and other famous writers.

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


• A new café is opening downtown Saturday. The Starlight Café is at 61 Mississaga St. E. and Liz Hurtubise will be on hand to entertain when it opens at 1 p.m.

• Lake Country Harmony has its annual Christmas Sing-along at the Christian Reformed Church, 50 Fittons Rd., Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. There is no cost of admission, but a collection will be taken to benefit the Green Haven Shelter for Women.

• Michael Jones is launching his new book, The Soul of Place, Dec. 10 at St. Paul’s Centre from 5 to 7 p.m. He’ll sign copies and do a little piano playing.

• Zephyr Gallery’s annual Walls of Smalls Christmas art show is up, as is Peter Street Art Gallery’s. I’ve been in to both and there’s a lot of inexpensive art to choose from to make an impressionable Christmas gift. The Orillia Museum of Art and History has tons of inexpensive Christmas gifts, too. It will also open the annual student art show, This is Tomorrow, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.

• Further to my planned submission to have the new school called C.H. Hale Secondary (see last week’s column), I now have 175 co-signers. Visit my Facebook page, John Swartz’s Orillia, to read the supporting evidence and find out how to add your name. You can also visit scdsb.on.ca/About%20Us/News%20Documents/Orillia-SS-Naming_Form.pdf and add your name to this cause by putting the details in an email to jsammon@scdsb.on.ca or by dropping the form off at OD/Park Secondary School before Dec. 12.

• Coming up: Ian Chaplin and Jennifer Louise Robert play the Orillia Farmers’ Market Saturday; KJ plays the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market. The Brownstone has an open mike every Tuesday at 9 p.m.; The Reply is playing Friday; Beth Moore is in Saturday. Dave Chun plays Era 67 Friday and Saturday. The Barra MacNeils are at the Orillia Opera House Dec. 3; Christmas with the King, with Tom E. Hendry doing Elvis, happens Friday; Tom Jackson is in Dec. 12 with A Huron Carole; Duck Soup Productions does the musical revue Snow Dec. 13 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 14 at 1 and 6 p.m. Beth McKean is at Bistro 179 Friday evening; Nick Howell is in Saturday.

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