Entertainment Local

Get your book signed at Manticore Saturday

By John Swartz

Here we are, first day of December with only 24 days to explode your wallet, bank accounts and credit cards and no match because few smoke anymore.

I'm here to help.

Usually this comes a little later in the month, but one gift worth giving needs mentioning now.

The Mariposa Exposed anthology celebrating Orillia's 150th anniversary with stories about people, places and events in and around Orillia is selling too well. Many stories are recollections by people with first-hand knowledge, others are by the children of those people - who heard the stories, probably too many times, and wondered if they'd ever be useful bits of information.

Dennis Rizzo and co-editor Ross Greenwood started the project early last year, inviting people to write stories, approaching some key individuals to contribute, and occasionally having a story fall in their laps. The result is a fantastic piece of work every home should have.

I've finished the book (I wrote one of the stories) and learned a few things while being entertained. Not all of the writing is expert; Dennis edited the submissions with an eye toward preserving the point of view and voice of the storyteller. Others are very well crafted. I'm not sure which category mine fits into.

The second printing is almost sold out and the third is printing as you read this. You can get it ($24.99) at Manticore Books. Should it happen Manticore is out of stock when you are in, more copies are only a phone call away. This Saturday, many of the authors will be on-hand at Manticore from noon to 4 p.m. to sign copies.

Geneva plays musical host

The Geneva Event Centre had a couple gigs last week. Jack DeKeyzer was in on Friday and he may be getting older, but he can still play guitar better than most. I was particularly blown away with his slide work in one tune - I know it was difficult but he looked like he does it in his sleep.

The next night, A New High had a CD release gig with Rellikdog and Colony opening. The Geneva's new sound gear creates the possibility for great shows, but only as good as the person operating the board makes it. Colony, who I heard at the Geneva a couple months ago - pre new gear - and at the Brownstone sounded fantastic. It was one of the best sounding sets of music I've ever heard within the city limits.

Rellikdog also sounded vastly different than last time at the Geneva for the same reason as above. They're pretty hardcore, as is A New High, who turned in a good set. Afterward I caught Pat Maloney, just him and his guitar, at the Brownstone and I'll definitely be back when he plays in town again.

Spirit of Christmas

Last Saturday, the Chamber Music Orillia concert at St. James' Anglican Church featuring the youth choirs with some help from the adult choir was very well attended. It was all Christmas music, but not all the kind of stuff you'd hear on the radio, or at parties, being drawn from the classical repertoire.

For kids, some barely able to see over the railing at the front of the church, they sounded very cohesive. I can't say more than that because my attention was divided; you can see the concert on Rogers TV starting next weekend.

The Orillia Concert Band has their annual Christmas concert at St. Paul's Centre Dec. 3. Two concerts, really. At 2 p.m. they and the Orillia Vocal Ensemble will do half of the evening program and admission is with a donation to the Sharing Place Food Bank. This is perfect for the whole family because the kids will still get to see Santa, and they won't be up late and getting all cranky.

The evening concert is at 7:30 p.m. and you can get tickets at the door, or right now at the Opera House box office. You have likely deduced the evening concert will be twice as long.

Both concerts feature a solo by Matilda Wilson. She's a Patrick Fogarty student and a member of the OVE. She'll solo with A Grown Up Christmas List. Both concerts will also feature a totally revamped program, no repeat tunes from previous years.

Odds and ends

A Very Able Christmas is at the Opera House Dec. 2. This is a local company comprised of performers who have disabilities of one type or another. The 7 p.m. show is a variety with songs, sketches and general good fun. Duck Soup Productions has several performances of Just Be at the happening Dec. 10 and 11. Also at the Opera House, their own production of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol happens Dec. 7, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. You can also have dinner at the Leacock Museum beforehand. Tickets for both are available at the box office. The Ennis Sisters of Newfoundland are in Dec. 16 and Quartette is in Dec. 17.

The Cellar Singers biennial concert, Handel's Messiah, is at Paul's Centre, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m. They'll have an orchestra and soloists along for the concert. You can get tickets at cellarsingers.com or at the door.

The Orillia Silver Band does Sleigh Bells and Brass at St. Paul's Centre Dec. 17. They'll play a bunch of traditional tunes and some new ones like you haven't heard them before and I can't wait to hear them play Carol of the Bells. They are also premiering their new CD. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. and you can get tickets at the door.

The next day across the street at St. James's Anglican, Albert Greer leads their choir with a performance of Bach's For Us A Child Is Born and Willcocks's Christ Is Born. Soloists are Anna Trubashnik, Stephen McClelland, Benoit Boutet, Nynka Greer, Tracy Montgomery and Jodi Cox. The fundraising concert is at 3 p.m.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History has the annual high school art show, This Is Tomorrow, opening Friday at 6 p.m. with Jakob Pearce playing some music. The Festival of Trees: Art Goes Arboreal opens Saturday at 7 p.m. There are 100 decorated tree-shaped pieces for sale at $50 each - plus five that will be sold at silent auction. You can also see Jim Ireland's interesting Mad Dog Monty exhibit; original illustrations from his book.

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

Swartz's Shorts

  • The Leacock Museum starts winter hours this week; they're open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Friday the Café reopens and they're having Cabin Fever Fridays with schmoozing and live music all winter from 5 to 10 p.m. Christmas With Leacock happens in the house Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m. on the 10th and 17th.
  • If Only I'd Received Art for Christmas II begins tonight at Lee Contemporary Art, 5 Peter Street South. Affordable pieces by Bewabon Shilling, Alex Richardson, Samantha Vessios, Tanya Cunnington and Annie Kmyta Cunnington are hanging around. Also on the same floor are four other studios participating in the event along with Peter Street Fine Arts, Tiffin's Creative Centre (Zephyr), The Shadowbox, Art and Home Studio, Harold and Ferne, and Deanna Sharpe Photography.
  • Coming up"¦ Tonight is Truck Stop Thursday at the Brownstone with Terry Savage and the Wonky Honkees - the Mayhemingways open; Bet Smith & the Currie Brothers are in Saturday. Steph Dunn plays Lake Country Grill Wednesdays. Mariposa Arts has auditions for Vanya and Sonia, Masha and Spike Dec. 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. at their rehearsal hall; email sccan546@yahoo.ca for details. The Brothers McClurg have a Christmas concert Dec. 14 at the Westmount United Church; get tickets at Perfect Timing or at the door. The annual Coldwater Candlelight Walk and Santa Claus Parade is Saturday after free skating at the community centre at 4 p.m.

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