UXBRIDGE: It has been an exciting last few months for local country music star Leah Daniels.
In early May, she was named the 2016 FACTOR Breakthrough Artist of the Year winner at the Canadian Radio Music Awards in Toronto.
“It was crazy because I had no idea that I was up for the award,” Ms. Daniels said. “When they were announcing the winner, they were doing a little spiel about the person and I was thinking ‘that sounds like me.’”
She has also been nominated for five Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) awards, including Female Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Music Video of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.
“That was another surprise. It is a real honour because the people that pick those awards are my peers, performers that I respect,” Ms. Daniels said.
The CMAO awards will be held on Monday, May 30. As well, Ms. Daniels also released a new music video for her song “Your Kiss is Killing Me” on CMT on Saturday, May 14.
“It was a song that I wrote with Karen Kosowski. What I love about it is that it has so many emotions to it. The song is about the battle between your heart and your head and we play on that in the video,” she said.
Ms. Daniels will also be performing in Kitchener on Saturday, July 9 for CMT Music Fest.
“It’s exciting for me, because it is close to home, so it is nice to have friends and family be able to attend,” she said.
Ms. Daniels grew up on a farm in Uxbridge. She told The Standard that she was introduced to music by her uncle Owen Herrell and grandfather Edgar Herrell.
“My grandpa and uncle were always playing music. My grandpa loved country music and my uncle would always be playing rock so those ended up to be my influences,” she said.
Ms. Daniels had her first band in high school, which consisted of her and her three brothers.
“Growing up, Uxbridge was a great town and there were always many options to perform in festivals and other events,” she said.
She told The Standard that her favourite performance memory is when she took the stage at the Uxbridge Music Hall this past November, to launch her first album, titled What It Feels Like.
“I grew up on that stage, so it was special to go back and have my family and friends and even some of my old teachers in attendance,” Ms. Daniels said.
She also added that she was very fortunate to have grown up in Uxbridge.
“The whole town has been so supportive of me over the years. I have been fortunate enough that a lot of my music videos have been filmed in Uxbridge or in the nearby area.”
Ms. Daniels will be performing next in Uxbridge on Saturday, July 16 for the annual Bonner Boys Ribfest in Elgin Park.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Local audiences won't need a spoonful of sugar to sweeten the latest offering from the Uxbridge Youth Theatre.
Mary Poppins' is based on the books by P.L. Travers and the classic Walt Disney film. This production is delighting audiences everywhere, and will be opening at the historic Uxbridge Music Hall on Thursday, May 26, at 7:30 p.m., for a special two-week engagement
One of the most popular Disney movies of all time will capture your heart as a practically perfect musical, with additional evening performances on May 28, June 2, 3, and 4. Matinee performances are scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 28, 29 and June 4.
Advance tickets are currently available on-line at www.starticketing.com or in person at Sugar FX or Little Acorn on Brock St., in downtown Uxbridge at a cost of $25 for Adults or $15 for Students. For more information on the show, or upcoming productions, please visit www.uxbridgeyouththeatre.com or the Uxbridge Youth Theatre's Facebook page
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: A local artist was recently named as one of seven finalists in a contest to share the stage with some of the biggest names in country music this summer.
Uxbridge's Robyn Ottolini is one of seven finalists in the running for the Emerging Artist Showcase presented by Sirius XM Canada at this summer's Boots and Hearts Music Festival.
According to a press release from the Festival, the seven finalists will be competing for a chance to perform on the Main Stage at Boots and Hearts prior to Chase Rice on Sunday, Aug. 7, in addition to a release with Universal Music Canada and a spot on the 2017 festival line up.
"The emerging artist showcase is something we are very proud to have as a pillar of our festival. It not only creates a platform for artists to showcase their talent to a country music fan base but can also jumpstart their careers," Stan Dunford, CEO of Republic Live, promoters of the Festival said in a press release.
Fans are encouraged to cast their vote for Ms. Ottolini at www.bootsandhearts.com/showcase. Fan votes will determine the artists' placement in the performance line up on the Front Porch Stage in front of a panel of judges at Boots and Hearts on Saturday, Aug. 6.
"I'm so excited and grateful that I get to be included in the Top 7 for the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase presented by Sirius XM! Every vote counts and you can vote once a day! Thank you so much in advance, so stoked for this summer," Ms. Ottolini said in a post on her web-site, at www.robynottolini.com.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Audiences can enjoy a "rare treat" this week, according to Uxbridge Chamber Choir director Tom Baker.
On Friday, May 13, the Chamber Choir will be performing the 'All-Night Vigil', often called 'The Vespers' by Russian composer Sergei Rachmanioff at St. Paul's Anglican Church.
“It's rare because it is a work that doesn't get performed often," explained Mr. Baker. "One reason that it is sung so seldom is its difficulty. In some sections, the choir, normally split into four parts, is divided into five, six or eight parts. And, in one movement, into 11 parts."
The performance gets underway at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $20, or $15 for students and free for those under 12. Advance purchases can be made at Blue Heron Books or Presents, Presents, Presents in downtown Uxbridge. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Despite the title, choir president Ian Newton adds that, “there's no need to worry, the concert doesn't go on all night. In fact, it's a fairly compact concert, because our director decided that the work is so intense, it wouldn't make sense to add other works."
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: It was recently announced that Colonel Sam Sharpe, one of the town's most notable historical figures is set to be immortalized in a new public art installation.
The announcement was made at the recent Colonel Sharpe Gala at Uxbridge Secondary School, in support of next year's trip to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
The work on the larger-than-life sized bronze statue will be undertaken by esteemed local sculptor Wynn Walters, and discussions on a downtown location for the finished product are ongoing.
Mr. Walters told The Standard that he is hopeful to have the project completed in 2017.
The project has received great support, including endorsements from former Minister of Veterans' Affairs, Durham MP Erin O'Toole; Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O'Connell; Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor; the commander of the Ontario Regiment, which is the descendent of Sharpe's 116th Battalion; retired General Julian Chapman, on the executive of Wounded Warriors Canada; eminent military historian and Uxbridge resident Ted Barris; the Western Front Association (deal with issues of the First World War); the Royal Canadian Legion; and the Uxbridge Historical Society. Donations to the project will be channeled through the Historical Society once community fundraising initiatives are launched later this year.
The legacy of Colonel Sharpe has been emboldened with a greater focus on society surrounding mental health issues. After returning from the Great War, and reeling from the horrors he witnessed, Colonel Sharpe took his own life.
"It's a very poignant story and a lot of residents may know the name, but don't know the story," commented Mr. Walters. "The pose is not a typical 'military hero', but in a reflective mood, agonizing over the horrors of war."