Soak in the culture during the Muskoka summer concert season at these performance venues and musical festivals.
BY LINDA LUONG
Parry Sound’s Stockey Centre hosts some of the region’s best concerts and recitals
CHARLES W. STOCKEY CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
This beautiful timber-framed multi-use facility built in 2003 sits on 3.5 acres of expansive lakefront land, and features a 480-seat performance hall as well as the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame. Legendary country singer Willie Nelson arrives in town on June 18 at the Bobby Orr Community Centre for an exclusive live show with his family. The centre is best known as the home of the annual Festival of the Sound, which has celebrated chamber music since 1979. Running from July 18 to August 11, this year’s lineup includes the New Zealand String Quartet, which honours masterpieces by Beethoven and Brahms on July 24, and the Cecilia String Quartet offering pieces by Haydn on August 1. The festival also offers a “Bach Around Town” program with Baroque music performed at various stages around Parry Sound.
• 2 Bay St., Parry Sound, 705-746-4466; stockeycentre.com
• Map and reviews
Try to guess the artifact at the Muskoka Lakes Museum’s annual fundraiser
Enjoy an evening of historical fun at the Muskoka Lakes Museum‘s annual ArtiFact or Fiction fundraiser. Taking place on August 14, the event features local food, live entertainment, and a challenging game that tests attendees’ knowledge of historical artifacts.
Don’t miss Gravenhurst’s last Music on the Barge show of the summer on August 19, featuring tunes from the ever-popular Good Brothers. The country-folk band has been entertaining audiences with its sterling harmonies and top-quality musicianship for more than 40 years.
Also on August 19, Juno Award-winning singer and songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk brings her signature brand of pop to the Algonquin Theatre as part of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts.
A weekend of eye-catching visuals awaits as the Artists of the Limberlost—more than 20 talented artists and craftspeople in the Muskoka region—offer their annual summer studio tour on August 18 and 19.
Colin James plays Huntsville’s Algonquin Theatre on August 8
An eclectic evening of rock, pop, blues and evening swing music awaits on August 8 as Canadian music icon Colin James plays his hits as part of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts.
Prism Theatre brings the Bard to Bracebridge from August 8 to 11 (and August 14 to 16); the troupe’s production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It offers romance, intrigue and much Elizabethan-era comedy at Annie Williams Memorial Park.
Get ready to bust a gut this week in Bracebridge and Gravenhurst—the Cottage Country Comedy Festival returns with five shows scheduled from August 9 to 11. Among the highlights are Mike Wilmot’s “Going Over Board” show at the Gravenhurst Opera House, while Just For Laughs star Joey Elias takes the stage at Bracebridge’s Club One.
August 12 offers yet another opportunity to ogle some fantastic water-bound pleasure craft as Port Carling hosts the Muskoka Lakes Association’s antique boat show. The free event features approximately 75 classic boats, many of which have been owned by Muskoka-area families for several generations.
You’ll definitely be “Working for the Weekend” over these next few days—classic ’80s band Loverboy offers its enduring fans a night of stadium-rock hits on August 12 at Deerhurst Resort.
Nikki Yanofsky plays Huntsville’s Algonquin Theatre this week (photo by Jeff Lipsky)
Jazz is on the schedule at both of the region’s big music events this coming weekend. If you’re in Huntsville on Saturday for its renowned Huntsville Festival of the Arts, be sure to check out the vocal stylings of Nikki Yanofsky. Northwest, Parry Sound’s Festival of the Sound offers a somewhat more venerable lineup—a performance by legendary vibraphonist Peter Appleyard, then a show by iconic bandleader and clarinestist Phil Nimmons.
There’s even more music this week at Gravenhurst’s Peter’s Players! Blues and soul belter Bobby “Blue” Bland—known for classics like “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” and “Turn On Your Love Light”—takes the stage on Friday, while Saturday sees a rocking appearance by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.
Families are always welcome in Muskoka, of course, but there’s even more fun this Friday through Sunday at the MacTier Big Weekend Festival, which is simply stuffed to the gunnels with everything from a beach volleyball tournament and a regatta to comedy night and “under the big top” dance party.
Stay out late on Friday night in Bracebridge—the town’s Midnight Madness event runs from 6 p.m. to midnight with all manner of fun distractions, including buskers, a climbing wall, kids zone, live music and more.
Bala’s Museum presents its annual “Everything Anne” day—fun for the whole family on July 24.
Mark the 90th anniversary of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s notable sojourn in Muskoka at “Everything Anne” day, July 24 at Bala’s Museum with Memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery. The heritage centre, now celebrating its 20th year, is a must-visit for fans of the Anne of Green Gables books (written by Montgomery, of course). This particular special event focuses on the book series’ red-haired protagonist, and offers all manner of old time family fun—sack races, cake, prizes for best in-character costumes and much more!
Climb aboard the RMS Segwun on July 27 and embark on the Muskoka Heritage Foundation’s annual summer cottage tour of Lake Muskoka. This year’s excursion offers a look at some of the classic cottages in the Beaumaris area, and includes lunch at the acclaimed Taste restaurant at Touchstone on Lake Muskoka.
The Huntsville Festival of the Arts continues this week with daily performances and highlight concerts by the likes of crooner John McDermott (July 25), indie rockers the Joel Plaskett Emergency (July 26) and a comedic appearance by farce-master Rod Beattie, who presents Wingfield on Ice (July 27).
And for even more music, try the Festival of the Sound. Its classy concerts this week include an evening of songs by Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello, George Gershwin and others as interpreted by soprano Patricia O’Callaghan and the Gryphon Trio (July 24), plus an opera gala (July 28) featuring top Canadian vocal talents.
End the week by feasting your eyes and filling your mouth! From July 27 to 29, Gravenhurst hosts the Muskoka In-Water Boat and Cottage Show in conjunction with the Muskoka Rib Fest. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of more than 100 top-of-the-line boats and cottage displays to view, plus live entertainment, giveaways and, of course, succulent barbecued meat.
Jim Cuddy plays the Huntsville Festival of the Arts this week.
The 20th annual Huntsville Festival of the Arts is now in full swing, with it’s slate of daily concerts by local performers plus three headlining shows this week. First up is Blue Rodeo frontman Jim Cuddy, playing on July 17 in an intimate trio setting with violinist Anne Lindsay and guitarist Colin Cripps. On July 19, powerhouse vocalist Molly Johnson demonstrates why she’s one of the country’s best-known jazz and blues singers. And on July 21, CBC radio host, writer and musician Jian Ghomeshi takes the stage to share stories and insight from his time behind the microphone.
The Festival of the Sound, another hugely anticipated annual concert event, returns on July 18 with a gala featuring England’s Choir of Trinity College performing Eleanor Daley’s festival-commissioned Paradise: A Song of Georgian Bay, plus works by Bach, Mendelssohn and more. And if that wasn’t enough, the event offers classical music every day this week, including an appearance by the Canadian Brass on July 21.
Want more music? You’ve got it at Bracebridge’s Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre, which hosts a Jazz in July celebration on July 21. Expect an ebullient evening of big band swing, Latin jazz, R&B, motown and more, as interpreted by 12-piece ensemble Spektrum.
Once you’ve taken in the tunes, it’s time to eye some superlative visuals at the 50th Muskoka Arts and Crafts Summer Show. Running from July 20 to 22 at Bracebridge’s Annie Williams Park, this very popular gathering brings together dozens of Ontario-based painters, sculptors, jewellers, fashion designers and even a batch of gourmet food vendors. It’s a veritable one-stop shop to help make your home or cottage look its best for years to come.
1. Major Canadian talent makes the trip to Muskoka this week, as acclaimed singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith takes the stage for two shows at Peter’s Place Live on July 23 and 24.
2. Check out the latest pleasure crafts and cottage accessories from July 22 to 24, as Gravenhurst’s Muskoka Wharf hosts the annual In-Water Boat and Cottage Show. If all that salivating (at boats) makes you actually hungry, you’re in luck, the Muskoka Cottage Brewery lounge, also on-site, offers a filling Ribfest, too. (more…)
Steven Page plays the Huntsville Festival of the Arts this week
1. The Huntsville Festival of the Arts has a big week. Former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page is sure to bring the house down when he plays the Algonquin Theatre on July 15. On July 17, the ever-popular Rod Beattie brings his curmudgeonly character Walt Wingfield to town in Wingfield’s Folly.
2. Parry Sound’s biggest annual event kicks off on July 15 as the Festival of the Sound hosts a “piano gala” featuring music by Debussy, Gershwin, Beethoven and more. Four additional concerts and two lectures round out the weekend’s programming. (more…)
George Canyon appears at the Huntsville Festival of the Arts on July 14
JULY 2 TO 23, 2011 Popular music gets its due once again as the Huntsville Festival of the Arts returns for its 18th edition. One of Muskoka’s most star-studded events, this year’s festival boasts exciting shows including a kick-off concert by Native American violin and flute master Arvel Bird on July 2, followed by country star George Canyon on July 14, former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page on July 15, and jazz piano legend Oliver Jones on July 22. Algonquin Theatre, $20 to $48; call 705-789-4975 or click here for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets.
photo by Meddygarnet
The Canada Day long weekend brings much excitement to the Muskoka region!
1. Friday, July 1 offers sure cause for celebration in Huntsville, which hosts a bevy of Canada Day activities from morning to night. Among the attractions, Muskoka Heritage Place hosts a strawberry social beginning at 10 a.m. And don’t miss the fireworks display over Hunters Bay, starting at dusk.
2. Also on July 1 (and running to July 3) is the annual Bala Antique and Nostalgia Show, which takes place at Bala Arena. More than 40 vendors set up shop at this event, with everything from vintage country furniture to estate jewellery and collectibles. (more…)
Be sure to check out the Algonquin Theatre’s entertaining shows—there’s an artistic pick for each night this weekend!
Sarah Harmer serenades the Algonquin Theatre on Sunday night
Friday, August 20
Shop, play games and win prizes at Muskoka Wharf’s Dockside & Steamship Festivals. There’s much to do on the water, with more than 80 artisans participating in an arts and crafts show, 90-plus shopping options, live shows and a kids’ zone.
Enjoy a night of storytelling, song and dance at Algonquin Theatre’s Echoes of Ireland production, part of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts.
Saturday, August 21
Spend your day Scottish-style at the Bracebridge Highland Games. Dancing, piping, caber tossing, hammer throwing—there’s so much traditional fun to choose from!
After that, get your bearings and head over to the Algonquin Theatre for the Muskoka Music Men’s 21st annual Night of Harmony, featuring the Barrie Huronia Soundwaves.
Sunday, August 22
Trek through the pristinely beautiful Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve in time to catch the final day of its Forest Festival. Breathe the clean air (thanks to 70,000 acres of trees) while absorbing the glorious waterside view, or check out one of seven scheduled concerts.
Make a return trip to the Algonquin Theatre to witness celebrated singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer perform her passionate brand of folk-rock.
Music and art continue to make their marks this weekend in Muskoka.
Vintage goods abound at the Muskoka Antique Show
Friday, July 23
Look out for antique goodies as 40 dealers from across the country gather at the 29th annual Muskoka Antique Show in Port Carling.
Take in a memorable celebration to one of country music’s modern legends, as Leisa Way stars in Rhinestone Cowgirl: A Tribute to Dolly Parton. The performance, part of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts, makes its way to the Algonquin Theatre tonight.
Saturday, July 24
Enjoy a pancake breakfast with live music or set up the kids with some face painting and a petting-zoo experience at the Baysville Walkabout Festival. After that, treasure seekers can peruse the offerings of more than 120 artisans and craftspeople who line the town’s main street.
Combine art and nature at Bracebridge’s Artful Garden. Here, more than 40 artists showcase their original garden-inspired visuals in the open air at the studio and home of area residents Jon and Suzann Partridge.
Sunday, July 25
Pay homage to true divas at Classic Primadonna, a Festival of the Sound production starring soprano Mary Lou Fallis. Dessert and coffee are served while you enjoy a classy evening with music by Mozart and Schubert.
Rock on with jukebox hits performed live on the water by Freddy Vette and the Flames as part of the Music on the Barge Festival concert series in Gravenhurst.