Saturday, October 28, 2023. 7:30 - 9:30 pm
Getting together in person to enjoy live music is a cause for celebration. Jacquie Dancyger-Arnold and Hugh Coleman and friends are coming together once again for the museum with a musical showcase for all to enjoy. The musical repertoire and performer bios are found below.
Funds raised from this event will go to supporting our new youth program, entitled, You Are A Superhero, Empowering Vulnerable Youth (to be launched 2024).
GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY
Jacquie Dancyger Arnold
Jacquie Dancyger Arnold began her piano studies in Toronto when she was 4. She was introduced to the piano by her father, who soon realized she needed a teacher. She eventually received a scholarship to study with the renowned teacher Mona Bates. Jacquie gave her first solo recital at the age of 7 and began teaching at the age of 11. She received over 50 awards and medals and four scholarships by the time she was 16. After receiving her ARCT, Jacquie decided to start a career as a high-school music teacher at George S. Henry Academy in North York. There she taught and conducted numerous chamber groups, symphony orchestras and choirs. In 1999, she retired as the Head of Music. Jacquie is well known to the Orillia area as both soloist and teacher. She has been a part of a number of musical groups over the past 16 years. Memorable performances include Rhapsody in Blue with both the Orillia Wind Ensemble and the Huronia Symphony, numerous performances with the Stan Passfield Quintet and a two-piano concert with Doreen Uren Simmons. Jacquie was also accompanied by the Orillia Silver Band in a performance of Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasie and the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 and Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto. Jacquie lives in Orillia where she teaches piano and theory privately and, along with her husband Ross Arnold, plays percussion in the Orillia Wind Ensemble.
Blair Bailey, our MC for today’s concert, is well known to Orillia and area audiences as a concert performer and music educator. Since returning to his home town of Orillia after attaining his Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music degrees from the Universi- ty of Toronto, Blair has been the organist and choir director here at St. Paul’s United Church since 1984. He has been the principal accompanist of the Cellar Singers from 1985 to 2020 and often appeared with them and many other vocal and instrumental ensembles performing on the piano, pipe organ and harpsichord in concerts throughout Simcoe County and Muskoka.
Gail Spencer is a retired English teacher who winters in Bracebridge and summers on Lake Temagami. She was born and grew up in Orillia, where she learned to play flute in what was, in the 1960s, a very recently introduced instrumental music option. This has been a huge gift throughout her life. In 2008, her partner Harold Keevil gave her an alto flute. Shortly afterwards, she and her mother attended a Proms concert by the Orillia Wind Ensemble and, with Harold’s encouragement and the opportunity to play the flute made real by the band, a whole new world opened up. It has been a very steep learning curve, she says, and all those dusty notes on the page have been a challenge, but it’s never too late.
Hugh Coleman started playing clarinet in Grade 4 and competed in many Kiwanis music festivals. Still a student of the instrument, he is fond of all types of music, especially jazz and chamber music. With Mariposa Arts Theatre, he has played in many pit orchestras, including productions of Evita, Carousel, Chicago, and Sweeny Todd. He has been a member of the Orillia Wind Ensemble for over 20 years. Other instruments he plays include alto and tenor saxophone and bass clarinet.
Ross Arnold is a retired high-school music teacher who taught at George S. Henry Academy in North York and Twin Lakes Secondary School in Orillia. Ross received his Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto. He has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra, the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Huronia Symphony. He has also played in the pit orchestras in many of the Mariposa Arts Theatre musicals and in productions conducted by Blair Bailey at St. Paul’s United Church. Ross continues to teach music privately in Orillia and plays timpani and percussion with the Orillia Concert Band and the Orillia Silver Band.
Mezzo-soprano Laura Kelly is an active member of Ontario’s professional music scene. Laura has always enjoyed performing, and finds inspiration both as a teacher and singer. While she specializes as a soloist, her other performance credits include choral singing, musical theatre and ensemble work. Laura is a graduate of York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts with an honours degree in music under the direction of Canadian legend Catherine Robbin.
Eager to share her love of musical performance, Laura appears at special events, concerts and galas. In recent years, she was a member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Mendelssohn Singers, frequently performing at Roy Thomson Hall with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Other highlights include performing with international superstar Andrea Bocelli at the Air Canada Centre. Laura also performed at Canada’s famous Black Creek Music Festival, sharing the stage with opera legend Placido Domingo, Sondra Radvanovsky, the London Symphony Orchestra, Martin Short, Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell, among other notable performers.