Indian River Festival officially opens 17th season

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CBC host Tom Allen will be the storyteller at this weekend's events at Indian River Music Festival.

The Indian River Festival officially launches its 17th season tonight at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church, Indian River with two of Canada's finest vocalists, soprano Sally Dibblee and baritone Brett Polegato.

The singers are joined by harpist Lori Gemmell and pianist/festival artistic director, Robert Kortgaard, in a programme ranging from Fauré chansons and selections for harp by Marcel Grandjany, to folksongs of Britten and hits from the music theatre stage.

The evening is hosted by popular CBC Radio presenter, Tom Allen.  

On Saturday at 1 p.m., Lori Gemmell will give a harp workshop. This is a special opportunity for harpists to work in an intimate setting with a professional harpist and teacher. Gemmell started as a street-corner busker in Montreal. She is now principal harpist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and teaches both privately, at Wilfred Laurier University and at Redeemer University College. She plays regularly with the Toronto Symphony, COC and National Ballet orchestras.

The weekend comes to a close on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with a program titled, The Storied Harp. Love, abduction, revenge are themes that are woven together as storyteller Allen and harpist Gemmell present a program inspired by Greek myth: tales of seductive nymphs, hideous monsters and flawed heroes  are accompanied by Marjan Mozetich's haunting Songs of Nymphs and R. Murray Shafer's tour-de-force The Crown of Ariadne.

Looking ahead, the Indian River Festival House Tour is scheduled for Saturday, July 14 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for this special fundraising event which will take participants through lovely homes in the areas of New London and New Glasgow. For information on all the events this season at the festival or to buy tickets, call the box office at 1-866-856-3733 or visit

Organizations: Redeemer University College, CBC Radio, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Wilfred Laurier University Toronto Symphony National Ballet Indian River Festival House Tour New London

Geographic location: Indian River, Mary, Canada Montreal New Glasgow

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Recent comments

  • Hat's off
    July 07, 2012 - 06:55

    Congratulations to the volunteers, staff and performers of the Indian River Festival. This venue is getting better and better every year with a fantastic variety of music and performers from folk to classical to traditional to blues to jazz. I saw some of the best performances there last year and hope to see many more again this year! The ukele guy was fantastic, as was Rose Cousins and Cindy Church/Susan Crowe/Raylene Rankin and Ivan and Vivian Hicks, not to mention Matt Anderson. Every single show was a fantastic acoustical surprise, even performers I had never heard of and didn't know if I would like--I loved them all. Book your seats early, folks. The word seems to be spreading.