By Sue Tiffin
Published by April 23 2019
Just last month the trails winding through YMCA Wanakita were lit with lanterns perched on top of snowbanks leading the way to the Winter Folk Camp. The boxes of light on a dark winter path led the way to the dining hall where musicians on a low stage at the front of the room filled the space with clear crisp soul-moving music. The concert is a completely magical experience and not just for the camaraderie of the camp participants or the quality of the music itself but for that setting which offers this breathtaking blend of nature nostalgia and intimacy between musicians and concert-goers just minutes away from our own backyard.
That space is unique but there are many like it offering a spot for a memorable audial experience in this county: area churches the Legion the Curling Club the Hali Youth Hub and community centres. The Haliburton Highlands Museum sets the stage for the Haliburton Folk Society open mic night outdoor events will invite choirs and buskers and local businesses will open their doors to live bands as well.
This week (April 25 and 26) the Haliburton Highlands Music Festival brings adjudicators and a busy program to the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion our own 226-seat community theatre anchored securely within sight of Haliburton’s downtown village. For years the NLPAP has been an integral part of the town home to concerts plays and musicals and this summer will bring crowds together for music-filled opportunities including the Haliburton Concert Series (Rolston String Quartet on May 5) the Highlands Chamber Orchestra (spring concert on May 25) Highlands Summer Festival (including the stage musical Mary Poppins on June 30 and the early days of July) and Highlands Opera Studio performances (Women In Opera: Then & Now August 15 and Ariadne auf Naxos August 22 – 26) to name a few upcoming experiences.
We won’t have the enchanted Bone Lake Ampitheatre at the Haliburton Forest Festival this summer as it undergoes renovations but the power of a concert at the Historic Logging Museum is nothing to shake a stick at and so imagining the music promised in the 2019 lineup – including that of Steven Page the Slocan Ramblers and an innovative program by CBC Radio 2 host Tom Allen – as it pours into that ambient space is already raising goosebumps on arms across the county.
The bandshell will be in full use for Rotary Club of Haliburton’s Music in the Park with a lineup that starts with the Highland Swing Band on July 2 and ends with Sheri Hawkins & The Tent Shakers on Aug. 13. It’s easy even now as winter finally leaves us to close your eyes and imagine lounging in a chair or on a blanket next to Head Lake in the park on a perfect summer evening listening to live music that sounds like it is being made just for you.
But that’s not all – we’ll also be able to get fresh air while taking in music on sunny days at Head Lake Park that are so close we can almost feel them bringing us a soundtrack for our stroll through the farmers market a beat to move to during drum circles at Rail’s End Gallery and Haliburton DrumFest and those impromptu concerts of summer days and nights underneath the trees.
The music being made in this county by both local talent and visiting guests is sensational made even more special by the venues in which we are invited to take it all in. Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be heard in the Highlands.