On Tuesday April 25th, it was a feast for the eyes, ears and palate for a full house audience at Collingwood Music Festival’s annual Spring Fundraiser Concert, this time held at the beautiful Breakers House near Sunset Point in Collingwood. The performance starred the celebrated string and classical guitar “Paganini Ensemble Vienna” touring Canada all the way from Austria joined by the festival’s artistic director Daniel Vnukowski, also a renowned concert pianist.
The musicians played their hearts out to a very enthusiastic audience, which rewarded their efforts with a prolonged standing ovation. The presentation was European chamber-style – intimately up-close with the musicians but with high ceilings which still made the setting feel spacious. Afterward the musicians mingled with the guests and everyone left for home with smiles on their faces and uplifting memories.
Vnukowski exclaimed: “It was a magnificent event and an auspicious start for our festival’s new concert grand piano, whose music soon fell into rhythm with the beating waves of South Georgian Bay’s iconic shoreline. The views from every angle of the Breakers House were absolutely breathtaking. What a way to officiate the piano than together with the resonating old-world charm of the Paganini Ensemble Vienna’s masterful interpretations of Mozart’s and Paganini’s works. We could strongly feel the presence of our former board member Margaret Bridgman in the room that night, for whom the piano was lovingly donated and dedicated.
We are extremely grateful to our title sponsor Engel & Völkers Collingwood, a division of E&V Toronto Central for making this event possible, as well as our wine provider, the award-winning Windrush Estate Winery. Our guests enjoyed VQA ruby reds and honey whites, after being greeted at the door with crisp “Sparkling Spring Waltz” spritzers. Adding to the excitement was our very own new, festival cocktail recipe evoking the colours of our bay, crafted by Freshwater Distillery, called “Rhapsody in Blue.”
With such incredible momentum in place, we are all the more excited about our upcoming summer festival series and invite everyone out to enjoy our diverse array of events from July 8-15 this year.”
Guests also savoured Chef Zak Collingwood’s mouthwatering, handcrafted hors d’oeuvres and the festival had prepared carefully-trained docents who treated everyone to an engaging tour of the artwork collection hanging throughout the house, featuring the works of important social realists such as Käthe Kollwitz and Leah Denbok.
Organizers are thrilled that tickets for the fundraiser sold out weeks in advance, showing how since the festival’s modest beginnings in 2019 that it has grown into a beloved and much-anticipated event in the community and region. Just under three months before the actual festival, the event raised over $26,000 to further the festival’s mission of bringing exceptional, memorable music experiences to the South Georgian Bay area each summer which feature award-winning artists in the fields of classical, world, jazz and Indigenous genres.
As well this important fundraiser will assist in expanding the festival’s second year of FREE youth programs which will have an enchanted, outdoor musical pathway coupled with the serenity of nature.
The Collingwood Music Festival has announced that ticket sales are now open for their fourth annual event at Click Here and are also available at their Box Office, phone: (705) 416-1317. The festival runs July 8 – 15. All concerts are from 7-9PM, most in First Presbyterian Church – and are free for youth under 16.
Festival Schedule and Line-up:
Wednesday July 5: free youth day on the spectacular grounds of Duntroon Highlands Golf.
Saturday July 8: Inaugural Concert featuring the full splendour of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada led by Maestro Alain Trudel with special guest Jeremy Dutcher performing songs inspired by his Wolastoq First Nation roots. Outdoors at Millennium Park, set against the stunning backdrop of Georgian Bay and the Niagara Escarpment.
Sunday July 09: Stories of the Underground Railroad with Juno-award winning Toronto Mass Choir. Cutting-edge gospel music combined with Caribbean influences.
Monday, July 10: A ‘classical and jazz jam’ featuring two renowned Canadian virtuosi: Daniel Vnukowski, piano and Peter Stoll, clarinet and alto saxophone.
Tuesday, July 11: A family-fun event starring the Devah Electric String Quartet, showing the evolution of the string quartet from Joseph Haydn, through 70s rock hits to modern pop sounds.
Wednesday July 12: Two-time JUNO-nominated multi-instrumentalist and lyricist Beny Esguerra, brings his unique sound to Collingwood, blending everything from hip-hop, spoken word, Afro-Indigenous Colombian music and cumbia.
Thursday July 13: No Time for Chamber Music with collectif9. Known for their innovative programming, the Montreal-based string ensemble performs with an infectious energy and vigour that is sure to grab an audience’s attention.
Friday July 14: For The End of Time. Three-Time Juno Award Winning Gryphon Trio with James Campbell, clarinet. Olivier Messiaen’s seminal, mysterious work “Quartet for the End of Time”, which premièred at the Nazi prison camp Stalag VIIIA in 1941.
Saturday July 15: Mad About the Boys. Adi Braun and her jazz trio pay tribute to the genius of iconic songwriters, Noel Coward, Cole Porter and Kurt Weill, saluting unforgettable melodies of these giants of song.
Photo credit: Tjalling Photography