KAWARTHA LAKES-If the walls of Coronation Hall in Omemee could talk, imagine the tales it would tell. From the recent concert by hometown hero Neil Young, to the show by the Sadies, all the way back to it’s grand opening in 1911, there are a lot of musical stories to be told.
A group of local residents in conjunction with the City of Kawartha Lakes is looking to harness Coronation Hall’s musical past and famous former residents to create an opportunity for the future of the village of Omemee. “Ray Marshall, who used to do promotions for Showplace in Peterborough, and I were brainstorming ideas and what we came up with was having a show at the concert hall but also to create a concert series. Doug Kennedy, The Downtown Revitalization Committee, told Kawartha 411. “You can’t just focus on Omemee, we decided it was easier to focus on elements of Omemee and in the end Omemee gets the reward of having that focus.”
One of the “elements’ they are focusing on is Coronation Hall. The group decided to make Coronation Hall a destination for musicians and music lovers alike. “It’s a concert hall, it’s not a town hall, but I believe everybody who thinks of Coronation Hall thinks of it as a town hall.” Kennedy explains. “If we can bring back that reputation as a concert hall, then different groups, artist and communities will want to use it.”
That’s when the idea of a “concert series” began, starting out with some pop-up shows and a grand finale of sorts. “Our actual concert series this year was through four pop up performances in the village of Omemee, with different local acoustic buskers playing and taking about music and promoting the show on the 28th of July.” Kennedy says.
The show on July 28th features Melissa Payne, a fiddle and celtic artist from the Ennismore area. Payne is a world renowned artist and the group is hoping the next concert series will draw more top notch talent. “As the years go by the hope is that the concert series itself will become a series of concerts in the hall.” Kennedy says.
According to local historians Coronation Hall was a gift to the village from Lady Eaton, formerly Flora McCrea of Omemee. The grand opening was held December 19, 1911. It was originally to be named Omemee Hall but because King George V and Queen Mary were crowned at Westminster Abbey that year, it was considered fitting that the building be named Coronation Hall and so that was painted on the east wall of the building.
The push to make Omemee a music hub of the Kawartha lakes doesn’t stop there though. They’ve got some “wayfinding” signs in the shape of guitars officials will be installing very soon and a mural will also be going up on Coronation Hall.
The show on Saturday night is almost sold out, with just a handful of tickets available. It’s a licensed event wth Fenelon Falls Brewing Company on hand and seating for 140 people. Tickets are available at Coronation Hall on King Street in Omemee. The proceeds will be used for Downtown Revitalization.