Tag Archives: Owen Sound

‘Tis The Season, Fa-la-la-la-la

It’s that time of year again when choirs raise their voices in song and Christmas specials abound.  Live music takes on a special flavour this time of year.  Here’s a guide to some of what’s happening around our area.

Meaford’s longstanding Women’s Choir, The Goldenaires, presents their annual Christmas concert at the Meaford United Church on Sunday afternoon.  The choir is under the direction of Catherine Robertson and features special guests the Beaver Valley Concert Band, directed by Don Robertson.  The show starts at 2:30 pm and admission is by donation.

Tonight at The Historic Gayety Theatre, classical guitarist and five time Juno Award winner Liona Boyd presents “A Winter Fantasy”, featuring music from her 2014 Christmas album accompanied by guitarist and vocalist Andrew Dolson.   This is her third Christmas themed work.  The first one, entitiled “A Guitar For Christmas”, was the first classical album to go platinum in Canada, establishing her as Canada’s “First Lady of the Classical Guitar”.

Sharlene Wallace Brings The Harp to Harp and Holly Christmas Concerts

Sharlene Wallace, one of Canada’s most prolific and influential harpists, winner of several international awards, is making room in her busy schedule this Christmas season to play a number of “Harp and Holly” concerts in our area.


“I love the Harp and Holly show,” she says, “I have been sincerely looking forward to this all year.”

Harp and Holly is a special musical journey created by Terry Young and Sandra Swannell several years ago.  In what has become a Christmas tradition, it will include a number of concerts starting this Sunday in Sauble Beach and including stops in Guelph, Colpoy’s Bay, Wasaga Beach and finally Owen Sound just a few days before Christmas.    With Harp & Holly this world-class trio blends Celtic, New Age and Baroque sounds to immerse audiences in the magic of the Christmas season.

 “It’s all beautiful music, a really beautiful uplifting show,” says Sharlene, “The arrangements are very interesting and a nice combination of tunes.  I absolutely love this show a lot.”

Dave Russell’s Special Valentine’s Show

One of the busiest and most popular local musicians, David J. Russell, will be the star of a special Valentine’s Day Show at The Gayety Theatre in Collingwood.  For this one night, our local guitar hero will transform himself into Jim Croce (maybe he’ll rent a big black moustache) to create an evening featuring the late songwriter’s most popular tunes.

If you aren’t a fan of Dave Russell it’s probably because you haven’t seen him perform, and if you haven’t seen him perform then you aren’t getting out enough.

For many years he has performed somewhere practically every day of the week, almost always in our local area.  Up until recently many of the shows he did were for free, but he is now enough in demand to string together paying gigs at local pubs and restaurants, sometimes with his band The Rockafellers but often solo.  You might have seen him at M. J. Byrne’s in the Blue Mountain Village, or at the weekly jam he hosts on Thursdays at The Corner Café in Thornbury, but you are just as likely to see him hosting or co-hosting various open stages, including Sundays at The Barn, Tuesday’s with Chris Scerri at The Leeky Canoe, or Wednesday nights up at Ted’s Range Road Diner.  But this show is special, in a concert setting with him at the centre of it.

Dave has been playing music for a long time and has put out two CDs of his original songs.  His big break is long overdue.  How this show came about is a story in itself.  The catalyst is a man named David Maxwell.  Serendipity played a part as well.

“I met Dave Russell through a mutual friend, David Wilding-Davies of Ashanti Coffee, at a street festival in Thornbury,” says Dave Maxwell, “I met Dave Russell and Sid Dickinson, owner of the Gayety, literally at exactly the same time when they were sitting outside the Ashanti coffee shop.”   He heard Dave play on a Sunday afternoon at the Thornbury market. “He he was singing ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen.  For whatever reason, as I was driving home I was trying to figure out who he reminded me of.   Three days later it hit me…it was Jim Croce.”

Like many people, he saw in Dave Russell a talent that deserves to go places.  Ideas rattled around in his imagination as several months went by and then, eighteen months later, he ran into Sid Dickinson again at a dinner party.  And around the same time he ran into Dave Russell again.  Dave Maxwell had been involved in hospital fundraising over the years and he found a kindred spirit in Sid, who had “completed a coast to coast bike run raising over $42,000 for the Collingwood hospitals.  So our thought was to continue with Sid’s fundraising efforts in particular given the Gayety is the centre of it all.”  He wondered if Dave Russell would agree to do a Jim Croce tribute at The Gayety as a fundraiser for the Collingwood Hospital.  Sid had an open date at The Gayety on Valentine’s Day and it all seemed to fit together perfectly. The first thing he did was get in contact with Jim Croce’s widow and he obtained permission to use his songs.  When he approached Dave Russell with the idea he got a positive response.  And the rest is history.

“Those of us who know the musical talent of Dave Russell truly enjoy him both as a musician and as a tremendous personality,” he says, “We believe it is now ‘Dave Russell’s Time’, and we want to do everything we can to help promote and elevate his career profile.”

The music of Jim Croce is in a class by itself, sincere ballads and rocking story songs.  He died in a plane crash in 1973 at the height of his popularity, leaving behind a legacy of unforgettable songs.

David Maxwell is hoping for big things to happen for David J. Russell as a result of this undertaking.   “There are two things we are hoping will come out of this project,” he says, “The first being the potential of a national series of fundraising for hospitals which are the centre of our communities.  And secondly, the Gayety is to be ‘the Home Of Dave Russell’ for concerts once a month.”

The concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Valentine’s Evening, and “both Dave and Sid are very excited about their special guests”.  Tickets are $35.

So if you’re looking for a special night out with your sweetie, this is your chance to let Dave Russell speak for you, to “say I love you in a song”.

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Catch the Live Music Today

Let’s hope the roads stay clear today and tonight.  If it’s a good night for driving you can catch a lot of great live entertainment either within downtown Meaford or just a short drive away.

Seven cellists bring a random act of Christmas music to The Frog Pond for lunch

If you happen to be in Owen Sound this morning, stop at The Frog Pond at 11 a.m. to hear seven cellists play Christmas music.  It runs through the lunch hour so grab something to eat.  If you are a real early bird, rambling about the city at 10 a.m. the cellists will be running through their repertoire at Heartwood Hall and you’re invited.  It’s a random act of Christmas music with love from seven cellos and they are even bringing song sheets you can borrow.

Jessy Bell Smith joins Andy Maize and Josh Findlayson as today’s Skydiggers

Meaford Hall’s concert tonight is a presentation of Presented by Inside The Music. It’s The Skydiggers’ famous Christmas show, something that’s been a tradition, usually at The Horseshoe in Toronto, for many years now.  This is the first time they’ve taken the show on the road. Tickets are $46.70 at the box office and the show starts at 8 pm.

When Meaford Hall lets out don’t leave town without stopping at The Leeky Canoe across the street to hear Craig Smith.

If you enjoyed Joe Huron at The Red Door Grille in Meaford last night, you might want to head over to Collingwood tonight to catch him with his trio McAndrew, Huron and Moore, filling out his sound with drums and sax at The Huron Club.

In the opposite direction, all around the bottom of the bay to Owen Sound, The Heartwood Concert Hall is always a good bet for good music in a great casual venue.  The Sons of Perry are there tonight with Marshall Veroni.

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