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SweetWater Music Festival has announced its full line-up of concerts for their 20th Anniversary Festival, taking place from Tuesday, Sept. 12, to Sunday, Sept. 17, in Owen Sound, Leith, and Meaford. 

“For twenty years, SweetWater Music Festival has been captivating and enriching the communities of Owen Sound and Meaford by spreading the joy of music,"  says SweetWater Artistic Director Edwin Huizinga.

"This year’s festival is a proud homage to the dedicated audiences, hard-working volunteers, and our supremely talented musicians as we celebrate twenty years of enjoying live music together!”

The theme of the 20th Anniversary Festival is Baroque & Beyond.

Mr. Huizinga has programmed a week of music which will feature Bach’s 3rd, 5th, and 6th Brandenburg Concertos, plus other chamber works from the Baroque period including works by Corelli, Vivaldi, Handel, and Biber. 

Returning this September to celebrate the 20th Anniversary will be the founding Artistic Director Mark Fewer, who will perform with current Artistic Director Edwin Huizinga on the finale concert.

Artists performing at SweetWater 2023 include:

  • SHHH! Ensemble (piano-percussion duo)
  • Tom Allen (host)
  • Mark Fewer (violin)
  • Roberto Occhipinti Trio (jazz)
  • Lori Gemmel (harp)
  • Daniel Taylor (voice)
  • Ellen McAteer (voice)
  • Manami Mizumoto (violin)
  • Keith Hamm (viola)
  • Isaac Chalk (viola)
  • Julie Hereish (cello)
  • Elinor Frey (cello)
  • Elliot Figg (keyboard)
  • Melisande McNabney (harpsichord)
  • Lucas Harris (lute)
  • Emi Ferguson (flute)
  • Joseph Philips (bass)
  • Chloe Fedor (violin)
  • Keiran Campbell (cello)
  • Suba Sankaran (voice)
  • Deva Munay (sound bowls)
  • Edwin Huizinga (violin)

The Festival includes six ticketed concerts and eight free community concerts, workshops, and events.

SweetWater orchThe sold-out 20th Anniversary Gala will take place at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery on Wednesday, Sept. 13, and will be hosted by Tom Allen of CBC Radio. Elinor Frey will perform a Baroque inspired programme of solo cello works.

On Thursday, Sept. 14, the piano-percussion duo SHHH! Ensemble will perform a concert at the Harmony Centre. The programme entitled Starry Night features new music composed for SHHH!! by Monica Pearce, Jocelyn Morlock, Paolo Griffin, Mari Alice Conrad, and more. Audiences will enjoy an opening set by Edwin Huizinga and Deva Munay, a sound healing specialist.

Limited tickets remain for A Baroque Party which takes place at Historic Leith Church on Friday, Sept. 15. The programme will feature Mark Fewer performing Biber’s Representiva, Elinor Frey performing some Dall’Abaco, and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. 

On Saturday, Sept. 16, at Georgian Shores United Church, Concertos & Songs for the Ages will feature Daniel Taylor and Ellen McAteer performing Bach’s Stabat Mater, and Isaac Chalk and Keith Hamm will be featured on Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6.

This year’s Late Night concert at Heartwood Concert Hall at 9:30 p.m. (doors 9:00 p.m.) will feature Roberto Occhipinti’s jazz trio. The trio will be playing music from Occhipinit’s last recording The Next Step on Modica music.

The Finale concert, Baroque and Roll, will take place at Meaford Arts Centre on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 3:00 p.m.

This culmination of our 20th anniversary will feature our Artistic Directors, past and present (Mark Fewer and Edwin Huizinga) performing Corelli’s Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 4, concluding with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

The entire audience will be invited to celebrate SweetWater’s 20th anniversary at a reception after the concert.

SweetWater Bach c

SweetWater’s free community events for 2023 include:

  • Sound Journey (9:00 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17) – a sound bowl healing meditation featuring Deva Munay, a frequent collaborator of Edwin Huizinga’s from California
  • Music For Munchkins (10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, Harmony Centre) – a free concert for kids, featuring Keith Hamm and Julie Hereish, designed for children ages 1-5
  • Bach Bash (1:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, Harmony Centre )–  a luthier exhibit where attendees can hear SweetWater artists perform on locally made string instruments and meet local Luthiers.
  • Classical Jam Sesh (2:30 p.m.,  Saturday, Sept. 16, Harmony Centre) – a participatory classical jam session for string players on Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

Plus two free noon hour concerts:

  • JS Bach’s Long Walk in the Snow featuring CBC Radio’s Tom Allen & Friends (12:00 p.m.,  Saturday, Sept. 16, Harmony Centre)  ” ...a coming-of-age-story about a hot-headed, small-town orphan who narrowly avoided committing murder, turned his back on a perfectly good job and walked 400 kilometres north to find love, fulfillment, and the father figure he didn’t know he needed.”
  • Next Wave Showcase (12:00 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 17, Harmony Centre) featuring participants from SweetWater’s Next Wave emerging artists programme Simon Hauber (violin), Olivier Lafleur (violin), & Jessa Rutter (piano)


Festival Passes are sold out, but single tickets are available at the Roxy Theatre Box Office (519.371.2833) and the Meaford Arts Centre (519.538.0463).


source: media release, SweetWater Music Festival



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