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Arts and Entertainment 2023 Year in Review Part II

January 22, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Here we are, and welcome back to the second half of our 2023 Arts Review. Last week, we took you through some of the most significant arts and entertainment stories from January to May 2023 for Part I of the review. For Part II of the 2023 Arts Review, we will take you through all the most exciting art projects and events from June to December.

Let’s begin with Leisa Way and the Wayward Wind Band, who performed 120 concerts around Ontario last year. Among concerts about other artists, her season did focus on Gordon Lightfoot following his death on May 1 and beginning in his town of birth, Orillia, on May 6.

Ms. Way mentioned the four concerts that stood out for her: Re-opening Early Morning Rain: the Legend of Gordon Lightfoot in Orillia, where she said, “We certainly felt the spirit of Gordon Lightfoot in the hall that night.

“Performing our Early Morning Rain concert outdoors for the Shelburne Rotary’s Heritage Music Festival in Shelburne… Closing our Early Morning Rain tour at The Rose Theatre in Brampton… Opening Happy Days Are Here Again at Theatre Orangeville.”

June: Headwaters Art – Around the Square invited artists to make an impression within just one square foot. They did not disappoint.

June 1: BookLore – Book discussion & launch with Alberta author and city planner Stephen Shawcross – “Bloodlines” and “To the Beat of a Different Drum.”

June 3: Maggiolly – Painting on the sidewalk for the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival, adding colour underfoot for fun!

June 9: Orangeville Music Theatre (OMT) – Little Shop of Horrors, with the talent and enthusiasm of the cast and crew from OMT, performed this zany story of a ferocious flower. It was staged at the Opera House.

June 23: OMT – the younger cast brought Little Mermaid and her ocean to the Opera House, with her longings for a life she was not born to and how love beat evil and helped her wishes come true.

June 27 – 29: Leisa Way at the Orangeville Opera House – Songs of the Great American and the Great Canadian Songbooks – Music and stories from many of the best tunes for many decades, from both the US and Canada. Ms. Way and the Wayward Wind Band treated audiences to a couple of hours of fun and musical nostalgia – maybe the best kind.

July: TOV’s Young Company Music took the month of July to rehearse and prepare for a full professional-level production of the Addams Family on the main stage in Theatre Orangeville. Performers must audition and understand the full commitment to the program of rehearsals and performing at a high level five days a week before a live audience at the end of the month. It was thrilling and life-changing for many of them.

July: Maggiolly Art – the business’s window hosted Michael Pettes, mixed media artist

July 13: Elmer Isler Singers (EIS) – Music and Beyond Ottawa with composer and conductor John Rutter. A real thrill for the choir to work with this world-famous and prolific composer and conductor.

July 14: EIS – Westben Summer Series with Baritone Gino Quillico, The Barn in Campbellford. Westben sits on a 50-acre property in Northumberland County. The purpose-built theatre, The Barn, holds 400 seats and was constructed with care as to the acoustics.

July 17 to August 1: Maggiolly Arts – A kid’s camp doing art was hosted by the Maggiolly with Katherine Olenic.

July 22: EIS – Festival of the Sound 20th Anniversary Gala with the Festival Ensemble at the Charles W. Stockey Centre, Parry Sound.

August: Theatre Orangeville’s (TOV) Young Company Drama – the crew took on PUFFS to produce at the end of the month. The play featured the story of a boy magician looking to prove himself in the most famous of magic schools, regardless of whoever else attended. Where can there be better magic than in a theatre, after all?

August 11 to 13: TOV – The Summer Arts Festival at the Mount Alverno Luxury resort combined all the arts with three days of entertainment, including live music, comedy, artisans, Kidsfest, Eric Woolfe and his amazing Flea Circus, children’s entertainers, Fay and Fluffy. Drag Bingo was a highlight of the weekend.

August 13: Leisa Way Early Morning Rain – Shelburne Rotary’s Heritage Music Festival in an outdoor concert attended by Gordon Lightfoot’s nephew.

September 8: Caledon Town Hall Players (CTHP) – Love Letters – The classic story of a lifetime of friendship and romance told through their correspondence.

September 12 and 14: Maggiolly – Landscape Painting Workshops was taught by master impressionist painter John David Anderson

September 15 – 17: TOV – Whiskey Jack presents Stompin’ Tom at the Opera House. The music of Tom Connors had audiences rocking in their seats. Duncan Fremlin, who had spent years travelling with Stompin’ Tom back and forth across the country, told the tales and brought Tom to people in some wild stories.

September 16 – 24: Century Church Theatre – The Ferndale Avenue Christmas Carol – a somewhat different version of the favourite – all humour and cheer, early in the season to avoid the rush!

September 24: BookLore – Authors Afternoon, presented by the Headwaters Arts Festival, supported by BookLore at the Alton Mill. Featuring Max Wallace, author of “After the Miracle,” and Cynthia Matthews, author of “Took You So Long”.

October: Maggiolly Arts – Nahid Azari was the window guest for a couple of months, starting in October.

October 14: BookLore – Launch for “Beatrice and Barb,” a beautiful picture book about a different kind of pet by Kate Jenks Landry.

October 21: BookLore – joined with the Orangeville Town staff to celebrate the launch of an exciting new picture book for all ages, “Once Upon a Forest.” Written by Nancy Early and illustrated by Kasia Charko, this book is an excellent contribution to the history of Orangeville.

October 22: BookLore & Theatre Orangeville presented with Theatre Orangeville – Adam Shoalts at the Opera House with his latest adventure book, “Where the Falcon Flies.” Shoalts is an amazing speaker about his solo canoe trips in the Arctic.

October 28: EIS – Celestial Light at Eglington United St. George’s Church – fabulous concert of Requiem by Gabriel Fauré and sacred music by others, finishing with a cry for peace The Hour has Come by Srul Irving Glick, text by Carol H. Lackner

November 8: BookLore & Theatre Orangeville – Authors on Stage – Beloved Canadian actor RH Thomson & acclaimed Canadian author Anne Michaels presenting their books “By the Ghost Light” and “Held.”

November 11: EIS continued their annual Remembrance Day tradition of singing at Toronto’s Old City Hall as part of its Remembrance Day ceremonies.

November 11: CTHP – Norm Foster’s Halfway There – The women of the coffee shop in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia, are best friends, but a Toronto doctor arrives, and everything changes.

November 12 – 29: TOV -The View from Here by Jamie Williams, starring himself and Melanie Jensen, is about a long-term married couple at their moment of self-reassessment. Touching, funny, beautiful ending.

November 17: Leisa Way – closing Early Morning Rain at the Rose Theatre in Brampton, on “what would have been Gord’s 85th birthday,” with Lightfoot’s drummer of 47 years, Barry Keane, “attending and hanging with us after the concert. Barry told us stories about working with Gord that we’d never heard before…”

November 25 – December 10: Century Church Theatre – Panto: Beauty and the Beast – this theatre’s annual treat fills the seats with audiences who make it part of their family tradition.

November 25: TOV – ‘Twas the Night Gala – the annual premiere fundraiser, a grand event of silent and live auctions and splendid entertainment, with David Nairn as MC and Auctioneer and held at the Best Western Orangeville, where Gourmandissimo dished up a superb dinner.

November 25 and 26: Maggiolly Arts – A Mixed Media Portrait Workshop was taught by award-winning artist and new Maggiolly instructor Stephanie Schirm.

November 25, December 2: “Achill Celebrates 40,” a special concert celebrating 40 years as Headwaters’ mixed voice community choir featured guest string quintet and Achill alumni singers. It also featured conductor Shawn Grenke and collaborative pianist/organist Nancy Dettbarn. The performances were at Westminster United in Orangeville and Knox Presbyterian in Alliston.

November 30 to December 23: TOV’s first ever Panto, in honour of the 30th Anniversary: Cinderella – if the Shoe Fits, by Debbie Collins and David Nairn – is the ancient story in modern times. Cinderella is an organic farmer living in Greensville with the two (Evil) Silly Step-Sisters, their hilariously Wicked Stepmother, a charming if misunderstood prince, and the magical Buttons, fulfilling the traditions Panto demands. It kept audiences laughing and filling the house. Wonderful.

December: Maggiolly Arts placed the artwork of Jocelyn Burke in the front window.

December 3: BookLore & Theatre Orangeville presented Colonel Chris Hadfield at Authors on Stage. Discussing his latest thriller, “The Defector,” he took time to answer questions and sign every single book.

December 8: EIS – Handel’s Messiah at Yorkminster Baptist Church – grand tradition.

December 10: BookLore & Theatre Orangeville – Canada’s newsman, Peter Mansbridge, with his latest book, “How Canada Works,” at Authors on Stage.

December 12: TOV Academy Showcase brings together the Academy programs in a tremendous show. Junior, Intermediate, Theatre Orangeville Exceptional Players (TOEP) and TOYS all trotted out their talents with skits and songs.

December 17: EIS – Sherry and Shortbread ‘at home’ – this event featured Christmas music and reading of Don Gillmor’s The Christmas Orange by Ben Heppner.

For 2023: Dragonfly Arts, Joan Hope was not able to give us a list but wanted to let us know that in 2023, “We have welcomed five new jewellery artists, working in silver, gold, semi-precious stones and various other metals.

“[We] introduced many new artists with temporary exhibitions through our Window on Broadway program.

“Our permanent artists continue to be recognized outside our community with shows and awards. New faces include a new studio artist, and we have a young intern from York University helping out.

“Our Sunday pop-ups went well in December,” said Hope.

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