Orillia downtown and around town will be swinging once again to the sounds of live jazz and blues when the 26th annual Orillia Jazz Festival hits the streets October 13 to 16 – with two ticketed events and lots of free events!
“Once again, we have received fantastic support from venues and sponsors, including Casino Rama Resort, City of Orillia and the merchants of Downtown Orillia. The number of venues has increased to 17 this year, most of them downtown, to provide four days jam-packed with performances,” Committee member Susan Willsey said.
New events this year are the Orillia Public Library‘s “Big Loud Lunch” on Friday, Oct. 14 from 12 Noon to 2 p.m.; art meets jazz at the Orillia Museum of Art and History as they open their specially-commissioned “Jazz Impressions” exhibit on Friday evening, and the refurbished Geneva Event Centre proudly presents a concert on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. with the newly-minted Orillia Jazz Brass Band led by Curtis Metcalf, with special guest act, the Orillia Secondary School Stage Band.
“We’ve designed the schedule so you can enjoy as many of these acts as possible. Have a meal to the sounds of live jazz Thursday through Sunday of the festival; groove to fantastic later-night jazz and blues and catch matinees on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Willsey added.
This year’s headliner is JUNO award-winning artist Molly Johnson, truly one of the world’s greatest jazz voices. Come and hear this Canadian icon accompanied by a virtual who’s who of jazz greats: Robi Botos on piano, Mike Downes on bass and Terry Clark on drums, as she performs music made famous by Billie Holiday and more. Presented by the Orillia Opera House at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, tickets for the Molly Johnson concert are $42 for adults; $39, seniors; and $20 for 18 and under. They are available at the Opera House Box Office or online at http://www.orilliaoperahouse.ca/. You can also access the link via the Orillia Jazz Festival website at www.orilliajazzfest.ca.
Orillia’s own JUNO Award-winner, Lance Anderson, teams up with bassist Russ Boswell to present “Jazz Royalty,” featuring the music of Duke Ellington and Count Basie at the recently transformed St. Paul’s Centre from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15. Tickets are $20 and are available at St. Paul’s Centre and at Alleycats Music & Art, 95 Mississaga St. E.
Award-winning singer-songwriter Lily Frost and her band, the Kelvinators, bring their musical stylings to Orillia twice on Saturday, Oct. 15. They appear at Apple Annie’s Cafe from 12 Noon to 3 p.m. and then at The Brownstone Cafe from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. The ever-popular Joe Huron Trio will be back, featuring one of two special guests at each of two evening shows at Eight Hundred Degrees Pizza – including award-winning flautist Bill McBirnie on Friday and extraordinary guitarist Ted Quinlan on Saturday. Intimate performances by unique vocalist Jeff Jones and master saxophonist Shawn Nykwist, each accompanied by versatile pianist Amanda MacLeod, will happen at newly-opened Rustica Pizza Vino on Friday and Saturday evenings, respectively.
The popular October festival will feature more than 50 Canadian performers and groups, many of them world-class musicians, and most of the performances are free. For a full list of events and artists, check www.orilliajazzfest.ca