Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lots of music to enjoy this summer throughout Ontario

With the end of June almost upon us, the start of summer music festivals is all around us again, so I thought this weekend we'd take a brief look at some of the offerings in the Region and beyond, as you start to plan your summer outings. As for me, I am on a couple of weeks holidays as of now, but other than a couple of day trips and a couple of visits to Stratford and Shaw it will be a stay-at-home vacation.

This week, Canada Day will be celebrated just about everywhere, and locally the City of St. Catharines has a lot of entertainment planned at the downtown Market Square during the day on July 1st. There is a blues festival planned, and at 4 pm, the Niagara Symphony will lift the spirits of those dragged down by the blues as Associate Conductor Laura Thomas leads the orchestra at Market Square. All events are free that day, by the way.

The Lewiston Council of the Arts in Lewiston, New York, has their annual festival getting underway in early July, with Blue Mondays, International Fridays and the annual Summer of '69 concert on July 16th. There are too many events to list here, but if you're in the Lewiston area this summer, you can pick up a brochure at most merchants and take in some great entertainment.

In Toronto, the Summer Music in the Garden series at Harbourfront Centre begins Canada Day and runs through to September 19th, with 20 free outdoor concerts involving more than 88 artists. The concerts take place Thursday evenings at 7 and Sunday afternoons at 4. For more information, call the Harbourfront Centre at 416-973-4000 or visit for complete details.

Here in Niagara, we have the Hillebrand Jazz & Blues at the Winery coming up in July and August. The jazz weekend is July 10th, with Emilie-Claire Barlow, Denzal Sinclaire and Richard Underhill among the artists featured; the blues weekend is August 14th. For more details, contact the winery at 905-468-6217.

Of course, the big musical event in Niagara in the summer is the Music Niagara concert series at various locations throughout Historic Niagara-on-the-Lake. The series begins July 17th with a gala opening concert featuring pianist Andre Laplante performing music by Chopin and Schumann, and continues through to August 14th, with classical, jazz and other musical styles offered throughout the festival. Call 905-468-3804 or toll free, 1-800-511-7429 for more details.

Over in Hamilton, the annual Brott Summer Music Festival is already underway, with lots of musical events planned throughout Hamilton and Burlington right through to August 20th. From High Tea with music by pianist Valerie Tryon to the finale performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony with Boris Brott conducting the National Academy Orchestra and the Arkady Singers and Brott Festival Choir, the summer will be filled with some great music in the Hamilton area. For tickets, call 905-525-7664 or toll free, 1-888-475-9377, or go to for all the details.

One of my favourite festivals, and one I plan to attend in about three weeks, is the Elora Festival in Elora, just north of Guelph, which kicks off July 9th and runs through to August 1st. Performances range from jazz with Chris Donnelly to classical with pianist Andre Laplante to a show called Give My Regards to Broadway at the Gambrel Barn. If you go on a weekend, plan to say overnight and do as I did last year, attend one of the Sunday morning services at St. John's Church in Elora, to hear the Elora Festival Singers in a lovely, intimate setting. They have a new CD out, too, on the Naxos label: it's choral music by contemporary choral composer Eric Whitacre, and it is just a lovely disc. You can pick it up by going to my website, or emailing me directly at For a limited time, it is on sale for a special low price to coincide with the Elora Festival. For tickets, call 519-846-0331 or toll free, 1-888-747-7550, or log on to

Finally, the 10th anniversary season of the Stratford Summer Music Festival gets underway July 19th, and running to August 22nd at several venues in and around Stratford. Everything from Ben Heppner to Quartetto Gelato is scheduled this year, with lots of variety. I hope to finally attend a performance this year while I'm in Stratford covering the Festival. For tickets, go to or call 519-271-2101 or toll free, 1-866-288-4313.

That's just a sampling of what's coming up musically this summer within a short drive of home. I plan to finally update the calendar page on my website at this week, so you can go there to view a comprehensive list of events coming up over the summer months.

Enjoy some music this summer!

June 26th, 2010.


怡君 said...


Brott Music Festival said...

Hey Mike: Thanks for the mention. Will we see you out at any concerts this summer? Email me at Oh, and the website is actually for the hyperlink to work.
cheers and thanks again,
Mary Pat