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Bleeker keeps proving it hasn't forgotten small-town roots

Wide range of art, concerts, shows and opportunities on the local menu, says our arts and entertainment columnist
Champagne Thomson credit Zain Campbell
Champagne Thomson, one half of Gypsy Dreams, will have a show opening Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. at Three Crows Speak Studio in the Orillia Peter Street Arts District. Zain Campbell photo

First of all, a couple of great give backs to the community from the guys at Bleeker.

Cole and Tay Perkins, from small-town-band-makes-big, Bleeker, have opened a recording studio, named Greenhat Studio. The studio is open to anyone looking to make a record, and the guys have kept it affordable for first timers.

The brothers are also making green hats to celebrate the studio, and are donating the proceeds from hat sales to music programs at Harriet Todd P.S. where the pair went to elementary school. You can order a $20 hat by emailing But wait there’s more!

Bleeker is also part of a special fundraising concert for Strings for Students. This is a first annual, and the lucky recipient of new guitars for their music program will be Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School.

The show is July 27 at the Geneva Event Centre. Doors open at 8 p.m., and will feature Bleeker unplugged as well as friends Doug Trucker and Danny Webster. Advance tickets are just $10 at Gilbert’s Guitars and Alleycats, or $15 at the door, but I am betting it will sell out before then. Grab your tickets now and support a great cause.

Speaking of the Geneva, My Favorite Headache, a Rush tribute band, is coming June 15; doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and available here. Grab them while you can, Rush fans.

Friday, June 14 at St. Paul’s Centre, you can see the Scott Woods band and friends in Just Fiddlin’ Around. Great opportunity to see some upbeat, energetic music and dance with incredibly talented musicians. Tickets are just $30 through the Orillia Opera House box office 705-326-8011; the show gets underway at 7 p.m.

Three Crows Speak Studio at 9 Peter St. S. is welcoming guest artists Donna and Champagne Thomson, of Gypsy Dreams, for the month of June. Opening reception is June 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. This mom and daughter duo create crystal and stone artworks to help and heal and also look beautiful. Come check them out, that day or any day at the studio.

Speaking of studios, the gals at Tango Artspace are hosting an evening of Freestyle Art, upstairs at 5 Peter St. S. on June 25 at 6 p.m. This is billed as a social evening of creating with hosts Tammy Henry and Patti Agapi. They supply the paper and snacks and you BYOM (Bring Your Own Materials.) Cost is $15 and you can RSVP to Patti at Can’t come June 25? Next dates are July 31 and Aug. 28 so reserve your spot today and get creating.

Speaking of art, just outside of town at Double Door Studios at 4004 Horseshoe Valley Rd. W. in Anten Mills, the show Convergence will be opening Saturday with a reception from noon to 4 p.m. Featured artists include Sue Curtis, Steve Gilligan, D.A.Hill, John Jacquemain, David Kennedy, Christine Mack, and Anton Pickard.

And, speaking of out of town, the Coldwater Studio Tour is coming up fast, June 22 and 23, in studios throughout Coldwater and area. The tour runs daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and there are over 30 artists and 16 studios participating. This is a great opportunity to buy and see wonderful local art in a variety of media, right in our backyard. For more information and a list of studios and artists, check out the website.

Right in our own backyard, the Peter Street Arts District group has decided to host a Solstice Art Tour on June 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. Looks like all the galleries on Peter Street South are participating, as well as G.J. Thompson Photography at 73 Mississaga St. E. Come wander the galleries and check out fantastic and beautiful works by our local artists and artisans.

Orillia Museum of Art and History wanted me to let you know about their annual general meeting June 13 at 6 p.m. This is an opportunity for OMAH members to have a say in the future of the museum and get caught up on all the news therein. You can grab a membership and have a voice. Contact the museum at 705-326-2159 to make sure your membership is up to date and to RSVP your attendance.

Don’t miss the opening of Streets Alive’s Peddle Powered public art display, this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Decorated bikes made by local artists will be on display in all their glory and you have a chance to vote for your favourites all season long. Come check it all out, all day Saturday in downtown Orillia.

Lakehead University is putting on a lecture/storytelling/musical show, Women and Water, on June 19 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre. This features Maude Barlow and singer Coco Love Alcorn and honestly I am sure will knock your socks off. Tickets are only $19 available here.

Looking for Elvis and The Man in Black, an incredible dance show, will be staged at the Orillia Opera House, June 28. It’s going to be amazing and I urge you all to go. Tickets through the Opera House box office at $30 quite the bargain, here.

Music at the bars and casino? Of course! At the Brownstone Café, June 13 Sun Harmonic, June 14 Supernatural Buffalo, June 17 This Frontier Needs Heroes. Hog ‘n’ Penny, June 14 Jakob Pearce, June 15 Stevolution. At the Casino? June 13 and 14, Chicago, June 15 Lonestar.

Arts news? Send it to me at by Tuesdays at noon please and thanks!