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Arts and Entertainment 2021 Year in Review

January 13, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Just as the whole world it seems, the arts world suffered from the restrictions the pandemic imposed for a second year. With this review of 2021, we applaud artists’ tenacity and determination to improve all our lives by keeping the arts in our lives.

Now let’s take a look back at some of the highlights and significant stories from the Local Arts and Entertainment page in 2021.

Theatre Orangeville – (TOV)

Theatre Orangeville, offered audiences both locally and new patrons from across Canada and even Europe to theatre to watch by purchasing virtual “tickets.”

January 15 to 25: The first show featured the Theatre Orangeville Youth Alumnae producing Broadway Bound – a cabaret show. This was followed by:

January to February 11 (North (519) Festival) Brave New Works, a fascinating collection of vignettes written by the young actors themselves – no bars held, just witty, raw and honest.

February 12 – 25 An Affair of the Heart was presented with music and short stories, starring a number of Theatre Orangeville’s best loved actors and performers.

February 26 – March 11 Laneway Cafe, moving into story telling came the “reading” of a new play by playwright Marni Wetsch. Jane Spence and Jeffrey Wetsch star as neighbours meeting weekly, while putting out their garbage. Inevitable romance ensues. Nicolas Mustapha provided the musical interludes.

TOV brought the theatrical experience as closely as possible to film.

April 16, The Rules of Playing Risk by Kristen DaSilva, directed by David Nairn, a one act play starred Neil Foster, Erin MacKinnon and Liam MacDonald about a troubled teen coming to live with his curmudgeonly grandfather.

July 30 – August 17 – Third Life of Eddie Mann, with David Rosser, Stephen Sparks and Jeffrey Wetsch by John Spurway: Eddie is on a ledge and a stranger shows up to talk to him about it. David Nairn in the Director’s chair.

August 11 – 20 saw audiences seated for a live performance of Chase the Ace written and performed as a one man show by Mark Crawford in an outdoor venue at the Mount Alverno Resort.

August 18 – TOV’s Starlight Gala was also staged there, with David Nairn standing on a chair to announce and boldly go forward into the 2021/2022 Season of indoor theatre.

August 26 to 29- Once again an outdoor live presentation from Theatre Orangeville Young Company: Cluemadcap comedy” from the classic movie and the board game.

September 25 – October 2 – Josiah. Boldly written and directed by Charles Robertson, Cassel Miles gave audiences the story of Josiah; Miles Cassel played more than 30 characters in this one man show.

September 23 – November 1 – TOV’S first 50/50 draw begins as a fundraiser.

October 13 to 31 – In-theatre production of Same Time, Next Year, classic Bernard Slade comedy, starring Jane Spence and Jeffrey Wetsch about a once-a-year affair. Limited seating.

November 5 – 28 – Creative Partners on Stage with two shows: Zoom Zoom Room Cabaret (Chandra Pepper, Janee Gowing, Cathy Broom directing and stage managing) and Hidden Talent Showcase (compiled and written by Elizabeth Glenday and Kristen Gamache).

December 1 – 23 – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted and performed as a one act, on man play by Rod Beattie. Fantastic.

The Alton Mill Arts Centre, Headwaters Arts and Noodle Gallery –

January – April – With the Mill closed due to Covid-19, several online art shows were conducted by the Mill and Headwaters Arts with “huge results.” Of the 25 shows presented to the public together by Headwaters Arts, Noodle Gallery and the artist tenants of the Mill “over the last 12 months” ending in 2021, some are listed here:

March 31-August 8, – Nature Re-Designed, collaborated by Steve Sestic, using abstract geometric shapes for landscapes and Karen Brown encaustic artist capturing close-ups in nature and winter scenes, with other works in mixed media.

The public was welcomed at last to come into the Mill with protocols.

June 20/21 – The big news for the Alton Mill is the three-season cover, installed as a part time roof for the Annex in front of the Mill. A space to welcome art shows and displays, entertainment and concerts safely. Many musicians performed there over the summer and fall, among which were the Good Lovelies, Tim Hicks and Antonella Vizzini.

August 4 to 15 – Vivid Moments, Vivid Memories – Solo show by Kayla Jackson, a native of Alton who complied a collection of more than 50 pieces that were shown in the Falls Gallery. Recently graduated from Sheridan, Kayla was mentored by Paul Morin.

September – welcomed three new tenants: Johana Cordero with her Loom Room making textile art and offering workshops. Jason Duclos has taken over the livery and forge. Jason is a Bladesmith. Lynda Panart joined a little later. She is an abstract artist.

September 16 – Raising the Bar exhibition challenged artists to submit work done over the pandemic “during this unprecedented time of …isolation…” 80 works were submitted by 45 artists.

October 6 – October 17 –20/20 – Janet Simmons Sweet notes that even 20/20 vision is not perfect and her impressionistic works are often “pushed to realism or pulled to distraction.”

October 6 – November 7 – Journeys, Dreams and Fantasies – Headwaters Arts member artists, Marnie Cook (acrylic), Susan Kelly (oil) and Jolanta Jung (ceramic and glass), playing with abstract landscapes, impressionistic landscapes and glass forms embellished with other materials, all challenged the conventional and tempted the viewers to imagine.

December 1 to 23 – the Annual Christmas Artful Giving included all the artists and artisans offering gift choices large and small; the Grinch attended for photos and we all wished for better times. 

Leisa Way- 

It was July before Ms. Way had her first concert yet, over this pandemic year, she did 74 concerts! Busy as she was performing concerts elsewhere in Ontario, here is how she contributed to music in Orangeville. With support from the Music Performance Trust Fund and in partnership with Downtown Orangeville BIA to create a series of outdoor Saturday morning concerts, Ms. Way was able to hire local musicians for the Live on Broadway Music Series. This ran to:

July 24 – Jazz and Blues with Stan Chang and Charlie Cooley

July 31 – Songs from the Great American Song Book – Leisa Way, Nicolas Mustapha and Bob Hewus

August 7th – Blues with Larry Kurtz, Bruce Ley and Bob Hewus

August 14th – Summer Mix Tape with Leisa Way, Fred Smith and Bobby Prochaska

August 21st – Rock & classics with Ryan Hancock and Aaron Solomon.

August 28th – Soulful songs with Heather Katz and Bruce Ley.

August and September: Concerned that “many seniors in our community had not seen or heard live music in over a year…” Ms. Way contacted all the seniors’ residences and once more, the Music Performance Trust Fund backed her to 50% this time so that she and her musicians gave six free outdoor concerts for seniors.

In addition, there were her outdoor concerts, partly funded and in partnerships:

August 2 – Sweet Dreams [with] Patsy Cline at the Avalon Retirement Centre

August 8 – Rhinestone Cowgirl [with] Dolly Parton at the Heritage Music Festival presented by the Shelburne Rotary.

August 26 – Opry Gold – free outdoor summer concert series in Rotary Park.

Ms. Way’s company, Way-to-Go Productions, partnered with the Town of Orangeville to provide entertainment for two events:

October: Hollowe’en Hunt in Downtown Orangeville

November 19 – Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Elmer Iseler Singers-

Lydia Adams, Conductor and Artistic Director of the Elmer Iseler Singers gave us the rundown of the famous Choral group. Moving to online as Covid restraints dictated, the EIS nevertheless had a busy year. The choir frequently offers mentorship to young and amateur choirs in the town where they are singing.

Fall, 2020 and Spring, 2021 – For six dates they virtually mentored The Viva Chamber Singers of Toronto, on the choruses of Handel’s ‘Messiah’, in preparation for an ‘in person’ performance of the entire work as soon as it is possible.

Spring 2021 – We Rise Again Cross-Canada Virtual National Tour:The EIS invited The Singers, as their guests with five other choirs, 150 singers in all – to present virtually “a powerful statement of hope, resilience and optimism, in an online performance of Leon Dubinsky’s ‘We Rise Again’.”

Throughout 2021 – Stayed in steady “contact with our valued supporters through updates, musical emails and choral ‘gifts’ to keep us all in regular contact.”

June 21st Virtual recording for a Spring fundraising event, Strawberries and Champagne ‘At Home’ – an hour-long presentation with special guest artists as well as virtual performances by the Singers.

October – ‘In Person’ singing workshops in October (first time together in 18 months) for an Elmer Iseler Singers’ a new commission of a meditational choral work by Canadian composer Timothy Corlis, Aum Sahana Vavatu, for choir and instruments, as a means for healing in society, preparing for a premiere performance in May, 2022.

November- ‘In Person’ recording for a December concert/fundraising event with a video of the choir at work, recording with masks, using all medical protocols; also, of the choir outdoors, with their faces visible.

November- Virtual recording for a January, 2022 online Gala event in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Dr. Roberta Bondar’s historic flight into space on board the space shuttle, Discovery.

Museum of Dufferin:

February 20 – Solidarity in my Community. MoD held a live You Tube event on the theme of solidarity in our Community to celebrate Black History month. The panelists for this event were Federal MP Kyle Seeback, Ontario’s Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, Maestro Fresh Wes, Darren White, Kardinal Offishall, Actor Kevin Hanchard, and Poet Nadine Williams.

June 27 – Shelburne Multicultural Event. The successful event has offered visitors an opportunity to enjoy meeting the residents and businesses in our community. In its third year, this event has a proven track record of bringing the Shelburne community together as well as the rest of the County. This year’s event was virtual.

September 16- A Long Journey – British Home Children of Dufferin County. It is estimated that 100,000 children, mainly under the age of 12 came to Canada between 1869 and late 1930’s. The experiences these children are quite varied but it is estimated that 10 per cent of Canada’s population may be descended from them. This exhibit tries to follow the stories of some 300 children who came to Dufferin County.

October 21 to December 18- Amy Shackleton – playing with Fire and Ice. Travelling has influenced Amy Shackleton’s art, which concerns itself with the devastation of climate change. Rather than brushes, she uses squeeze bottles and gravity as her tools.

October 27 – MoD launched an online Exhibit – Before Your Eyes “A changing Clime in Dufferin County:

December 1st to 12th, 17th Annual Holiday Treasures Arts & Crafts Sale at the Museum of Dufferin.

Jackson & Munson Studio Gallery 

October 9 – Opened for 11 weeks at 15962Mississauga Road, Melville White Church, near Belfountain

October 22/23 – Plein air events for Culture Days

October 9 – December 26 – An additional three themed shows with 14 regional artists, guest artists, a holiday market with artists and 15 artisans; a readers’ series of emerging and established writers, workshops, featured artists. 

Said co-founder E. Connie Munson,“Success could be rated by the sale of 20 pieces among seven artists on a three-day show. We want to be known as purveyors of fine art, photography, artisanal gifts; we think we met our goal.”

Dr. Ryan Iron, writer and blogger, former Ted X Talks: “It is a chic, upscale and interesting gallery with jaw-dropping art.”

Said Ms. Munson with plenty of plans for 2022, “People like to hang there.”

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