April: Eclipse in Kingston, Theatre Aquarius, Koerner Hall, Holi Festival of Colours and more!

Greetings friends of OCAF!

As we continue to celebrate 25 years of supporting Ontario’s cultural tourism sector it seems important and appropriate to honour our Founding Chair, Dr. Murray Frum. Dr. Frum, entrepreneur, developer, lover of the arts and avid collector of African and Renaissance work, was the Founding Chair of OCAF. He, along with Henry H.R. Jackman, were the Chair of the Ontario Arts Foundation and Chair of the Ontario Arts Council, respectively, and helped to usher in new programs under the Mike Harris government in the late 1990’s. Murray, together with the OCAF Founding Board (visit our website for the full list), launched OCAF in April, 1999 and supported major events in the first year of operation.

Dr. Frum, in spite of his broad interests and busy schedule (chair and member of many boards including the Stratford Festival and the Art Gallery of Ontario) always made time for OCAF and for me. We had lively discussions in the early days about how to ensure broad participation and he presided over many early decisions to create flexibility, like opening the door to free and low-cost events. His business background, coupled with his love of Canadian culture, made him the perfect ambassador for the new program and he rose to the occasion with great panache and commitment. Sadly, we lost him in 2013, and OCAF, and Ontario, lost a great Canadian. John McKellar, who was Vice-Chair at the time, ably stepped into the role of Chair (more on John in the next issue).

OCAF has been honoured to have worked with such outstanding board members since 1999, all of whom believed passionately in the mandate of the program and the inherent entrepreneurial nature of the arts and cultural tourism. Dr. Frum would be so proud to know we are celebrating 25 years of the program he launched all those years ago!

All the best to you for a wonderful April filled with festivals, events and exhibitions,

Kathleen Sharpe
Executive Director

CAF Board Member, Vikas Kohli and MonstrARTity, honoured!

Vikas Kohli, former Treasurer for OCAF, and current Outreach Ambassador, and his organization, MonstrARTity, was honoured recently with two awards.

On the right is Vikas accepting an award at the Festivals and Events Ontario conference in Niagara Falls last month for their Bollywood Monster Mashup festival.

On the left, he is accepting an award from (at the time) Mississauga Mayor, Bonnie Crombie, for the 2023 Civic Award of Recognition for the same event.

Bravo Vikas and MonstrARTity on your great success!

Events On Now: Opening

Programming for the 10th anniversary ofthe Theater Centre continues this April with theatre, an open mic night, and murder mystery performance!

Solidarity in Storytelling: Open Mic Night – April 4
Join Living Hyphen for an evening of storytelling in solidarity for shared liberation at The Theatre Centre.

Mad Madge – April 9 to April 21
Paying homage to Jane Austen and Tina Fey in the same breath, this laugh out loud contemporary-period mashup suggests that perhaps a woman’s hunger for unbridled attention is not so shallow, after all.

Murder with No Mystery: A Murder Mystery – April 25 to April 27
From the team behind Toronto’s 2017 production of Matt & Ben, this ridiculous new murder mystery comedy promises a high-energy concoction of laughs, tropes and, of course, brutal murder. Don’t miss the world premiere of this delightfully deranged play.

Learn more

The 2024 Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival, now in its 27th year, attracts visitors from Toronto, Durham Region and the rest of the Greater Toronto Area – and even beyond! The Festival offers a great opportunity to discover the many things that make Sunderland special, while celebrating the time-honoured Canadian tradition of making maple syrup.

By the arena see a Petting Zoo & Pony Rides, Draft Horse display, Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue and Fallen Willow Forge demonstrations. Live stage entertainment includes Lexy the Rap Dad.

On Saturday, you can attend a Stoker Biomass Heating demonstration at Northern Metalworks, and the Festival also offers bathtub races.

On Sunday, the 4-H Ontario’s lawn tractor pull demonstration will take place. If you have never seen one of these tractor pulls, you’re in for a real treat! On both Saturday and Sunday, the Legion will be the site of pancake breakfasts from morning to early afternoon.

Learn more

Eclipse 2024: Kingston takes place April 4-8 at various locations in Kingston.  The path of totality, where the moon’s position aligns precisely between the Earth and the sun and all phases of the eclipse are visible, is only 185 kilometres wide – and Kingston is in the path. 

Programming will span across arts and culture, history and heritage, science and engineering, and eclipse-viewing opportunities, with a strong focus on arts and culture throughout the festival weekend. Below are just some events leading up to and during the eclipse you can expect:

Learn more.

Koerner Hall’s 15th Anniversary Celebration continues with two fantastic music evenings!

The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Montréal Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now in his 12th  season as Music and Artistic Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and his engagement has been extended through 2030! He joins a remarkable list of music directors such as Fritz Scheel, Carl Pohlig, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Christoph Eschenbach. He also serves as Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera and Montréal’s Orchestre Métropolitain, which has performed in Koerner Hall on two occasions.

Florence Price: Symphony No. 4 in D Minor
Sergei Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, op. 27Learn more.

John Pizzarelli and Caity Gyorgy

World-renowned guitarist and vocalist John Pizzarelli has been hailed by The Boston Globe for “reinvigorating the Great American Songbook.” He returns to Koerner Hall with a new album that showcases his versatility and virtuosity in exploring the timeless songs of Broadway and Hollywood.Caity Gyorgy (pronounced George) is a two-time Juno Award-winning Canadian vocalist who is known for singing bebop and swing music. She has performed at popular clubs and jazz festivals across Canada and the USA and has worked and recorded with incredible musicians and groups.

Learn more.

As part of its 50th anniversary season Theatre Aquarius presents Beautiful Scars.

For decades after, Tom carved out a life for himself in the shadows, battling demons along the way as he waited for the secret of who he was and where he came from to reveal itself. And when it did, it swept up the St. Lawrence River to Kahnaw’a:ke Mohawk territory and exposed a story generations in the making. A best-selling book, film and now a world premiere musical featuring some of the country’s most celebrated actors and musicians with a powerfully evocative score by multi-award-winning musician Tom Wilson, Beautiful Scars is a story of loss, love and forgiveness that will leave you spellbound to the final note.

Learn more.

Srishti Foundation brings the joyous ancient Dharmic festival of Holi to downtown London, ON, on April 27!

Come out, get coloured and have fun!

Join in for five hours of a “Riot of Colours“, synchronized colour throws, joy, music and dance with over 1000kgs of colours.

The celebrations include:

  • “Riot of Colours”
  • High Energy Drummers (Dhol)
  • Bollywood dances & other Live performances
  • Synchronized Colour Throws & Play with Colours
  • Traditional Ganesh Puja to commence celebrations.
  • Delicious cuisine from North & South of India & Nepal.

Holi symbolizes the onset of spring, the blooming of colours in nature and signifies unity in diversity in the universe. The Festival is marked by celebrations that involve boisterous fun, music, dancing, food and playing with colours. Holi signifies “unity in diversity” and oneness, that beneath the layers of different colours splashed across our faces, we are all the same and in sync with nature.

Learn more.

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