Archive for the ‘Famous Persons’ Category.

Jazz Musician Performs in Orangeville

Joe Sealy, a renowned Canadian jazz pianist and composer, has deep ties with Orangeville’s arts scene. In 1994, he played the inauguration of the opera house after it underwent renovation. Together with former ballet dancer and producer/director Veronica Tennant, they performed to an excited audience – it’s a memory Sealy holds dear in his heart.

Fresh from receiving the prestigious Order of Canada, Sealy took to the opera house stage once more on Friday, February 5, as part of the Orangeville Concert Association’s (OCA) 2009-2010 season.

The two hour show featured a range of musical styles, with traditional song numbers done by Gershwin and Duke Ellington. Sealy performed together with three talented songstresses, namely Julie Michels, Adi Braun, and Gillian Margot – the trio also known as the Jazzbirds. And although Margot was unable to perform in Orangeville due to a conflict of schedule, Sealy was quickly able to replace her with Alana Bridgewater, a talented performer in her own right.

The show was a good mix of everything, with Michels performing jazz standards, Alana singing songs that border on R&B, and some other numbers with a gospel influence. Sealy on the other hand, accompanied the Jazzbirds on the piano.

With the show being a success, Sealy is looking forward to make another return to the opera house stage.

Ann Mortimer and Her Umbrellas Made of Clay

Renowned sculptor Ann Mortimer will be the first ever artist to exhibit at the Aurora Cultural Centre in Ontario.

She’ll be showcasing a collection of umbrellas crafted from clay, inspired by the paper umbrella factory she visited during her time spent in China.

Mortimer said it took a lot of time and effort to construct the umbrellas. She had to go through a lot of failures and designs to make them, she added. What drew her to make her clay creations was how the paper umbrellas made in that China factory seemingly took her breath away with their bright color and eye-catching designs.

For years, Ann Mortimer has made a name for herself for creating pieces many thought would’ve been impossible.

After working for a few years as a nurse, her interest in clay was sparked after a visit to King Crafts. After the untimely passing of her husband, she put up a house with an art studio on the property she and her husband bought on the Newmarket/King Township border.

She further honed her talent by attending a 2-week workshop with Hockley Valley Fine Arts, learning more techniques on how to craft clay.

Fast forward to today; Mortimer is considered one of the country’s most creative sculptors.

Hockley Valley’s Local Potter & Tour Guide

Al Pace, Hockley Valley’s own local potter is known for his beautiful creations, but did you know that he also moonlights as a tour guide? The potter, who is also an avid outdoorsman, likes to take tourists, Canadians and locals out to see the wilderness. He has so far done 18 canoe trips, bringing along different people of different ages up to the far north.

Hockley Valley's Local Potter & Tour Guide Al Pace

For this year, his business received a grant from the North West Territories government, enabling Pace to further expand his business, something he and his wife, Lin Ward, are very excited to do.

The couple, who own the Farmhouse Pottery studio, located on Hockley Road, first started out when they went on a trip to Yukon with their little boy, Taylor. Upon getting back, Mr. Pace decided to write about his trip on his studio newsletter which he sends to his regular clients. The response was enthusiastic.

They made a return trip to the north with family the following year, and again, Mr. Pace wrote of his experience on his newsletters. This time however, readers were not only enthusiastic, but were also interested in tagging along with them on future trips.

The family then decided to form an outdoor and adventure company, Canoe North Adventure, with the goal of organizing canoe trips for interested parties who want to explore the Great North.

Their first trip with a group of strangers was a massive success, and word soon began to spread of Mr. Pace’s canoe trips. The best part is that the company has different trips tailor made for people of different ages, ensuring that everybody has a great time.

So far, the Mr. Pace’s family business has flourished. They’ve taken some 700 people on 18 canoe trips up north. With the grant he just received, Canoe North Adventure of Hockley Valley looks to stick around for the years to come.

Hockley Valley’s Famed Tenor

Mark DuBois of Hockley Valley Ontario

Mark DuBois of Hockley Valley Ontario

Renowned tenor Mark DuBois, who hails from Hockley Valley, Ontario, has sung virtually every song imaginable. From opera, to broadway hits, to folk songs in various languages – even singing Frederick Weatherly’s Danny Boy in Mandarin, DuBois is known the world over as a flexible and extremely talented tenor.

Despite his massive success and travels around the world, he still favors his home standing on a 50-acre piece of beautiful land in Hockley Valley, his primary residence for over a decade and a half.

The father of five says, “It’s just paradise.” DuBois has frequented the area ever since his parents bought the property over 50 years ago.

Aside from performing in major orchestras across North America, some of DuBois’ notable performances include singing for the Pope, a monarch and a President.

As for his work and success, DuBois comments, “Being a tenor is quite demanding.  That’s why I came up with the Art of the Tenor, to show different aspects of my life.”

DuBois refers to his upcoming show on Nov. 13 at the Orangeville Opera House, with “everything from traditional musical theatre, the old ones like Westside Story and Sound of Music, to more modern music like Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera,” he said.

DuBois traces his interest in music back to when he was in the church choir at the tender age of 6. He then went on to study at the University of Toronto, taking up music and operatic performance, turning pro at only 18.

From that day on, DuBois has performed with every major orchestra in his native Canada as well as others in the United States including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. DuBois has also gone international – gracing stages in Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy and the United Kingdom.

The tenor is currently busy imparting his talent and knowledge to the younger generation. Each year, he holds auditions and picks two or three kids to be part of his private class.

Asked as to why he does this, the Hockley Valley said, “I think artists, as much as they can, should give back to the community who got them where they are.” Lucky for us living with in close proximity to the famed tenor her in Hockley Valley.