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HomeNewsGrove Theatre In Fenelon Falls Fosters Homegrown Talent

Grove Theatre In Fenelon Falls Fosters Homegrown Talent

KAWARTHA LAKES-Madison Kozak lives in Nashville now but she caught the music bug when she stepped on stage for the first time at the Moose Lodge in Lindsay when she was just nine years old.

“My dad is a big fan of country music and always played the guitar around the house and listened to Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn and I kind of took an interest in it.” Kozak told Kawartha 411 News. “One day he said to get in the car we are going to go for a drive and he packed up the guitars and took me to the Moose Lodge. They had an open mic and dad convinced them to let a nine-year-old girl get up there and sing a Patsy Cline cover and that was kind of the catalyst, I caught the bug right then and there.”

At age 14, the Lindsay native moved to Nashville to finish high school and pursue her dream of a career in music.

In 2018 Kozak signed her first publishing deal with Craig Wiseman’s Big Loud. She later found herself taking the stage opening for country music icon Willie Nelson & rising country music star Morgan Wallen. Additionally, she has performed at CMA Fest, the legendary Bluebird Café, and Nashville Predators’ games. In 2020, she was named as one of CMT’s 2020 Next Women of Music, along with signing as the flagship artist of Songs & Daughters.

Kozak will take to the stage at The Grove Theatre tonight with her show North Of Nashville.

“I really wanted to bring some of my favorite parts of Nashville to my show at the Grove.” Kozak explains. “In Nashville they have these things called Writers Rounds where three or four writers will get on stage and they will each tell the story behind a song and then they will play it and go down in a row with stories and songs, stories and songs. The Grove approached me to put together a show I thought what better way to bring this to Ontario. I called my friend Griffen Palmer and we are going to have a couple of special guests, bringing some of Nashville to Fenelon Falls.

Jennifer Harding

Jenn Harding and her family have had a cottage in Fenelon Falls since the 1950’s. Her family become more permanent members of the local community about 25 years ago. In the early days of the pandemic, she and her husband decided to move home to the Buckhorn area.

Harding had been living and working in London, England. She studied acting and George Brown Theatre College in Toronto and worked in theatres in Canada and singing on cruise ships for five years before moving to London to perform in big West End shows.

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate it’s a career that you don’t stay in one place for very long   and I’ve been really, really fortunate to be able to come home and now do work here.”

Harding says her father, who worked in theatre told her how important it is to be properly trained for a career in the theatre.

“If you don’t want to be a flash in the pan you really have to work in it. You have to hone your craft and change direction on where you are and what you are doing and you need to experience every angle of the entertainment industry.”

Harding and her husband now have two kids and she says she is so grateful to have a professional theatre company so close to home.

“I can’t tell you the effect that that’s had on our lives. Something came up earlier this year and it’s in Toronto and I thought that’s still a commute for me. It’s not London anymore, it’s not flying home to do the show but it’s leaving my family and I have no interest in that.”

Harding brings her one-woman show to The Grove on June 29th. The Roles I Almost Played:  A Cabaret recounts the trials and tribulations of “making it” in the world of theatre and finding what really makes your heart sing.

“I haven’t been able to perform this show in Canada ever and it’s like I’ve done it in London and on cruise ships but never a platform to perform it in Canada. This is the first time my family is going to be able to come see it.” Harding explained.

Harding says the outdoor theatre aspect of the Grove is challenging but reading.

“As an artist, you tend to gravitate toward things that interest you and I think outdoor theatre is this insane challenge for any performer but in such a wonderful way because it creates this environment of nature around and everyone is involved in almost immersive theatre and it allows you to try on characters in a very different way,” Harding said. “This has been specifically crafted for The Grove because it has a lot of content about moving home. It’s pretty cool when you get to come home and be surrounded by the people you live doing the things you love.”

Julian Taylor

Julian Taylor spends a lot of time at the cottage on Cameron Lake.

“I love The Grove Theatre, I think they’ve done an incredible job, the vibe, the atmosphere and everything including the fact there’s not a lot of mosquitoes there when you are performing is phenomenal.”

Taylor began playing guitar around the campfire when he was only four years old. From there he started a high school band, signing a record deal and releasing three albums. He is a local favourite and JUNO and Canadian Folk Music Awards nominee.

I basically taught myself.” Taylor says.

He will be at The Grove Theatre on September 2 with his band. This is his third year performing at The Grove.

“This time I’m bringing a band there will be four of us. I will be able to tell the stories that I’ve written and do that but also have a band perform and get people up dancing. It’s become an annual gig for me it’s wonderful to be able to have a hometown show every year and it’s wonderful to see the community.”

Taylor’s show is so popular staff at the grove say “Beer and amphitheatre and Julian makes a perfect night.”

The Grove is a stunning outdoor amphitheatre—the first ever in Fenelon Falls—is home to The Grove Theatre. A space where professional theatre, concerts, live music, and other community events animate the stage, and friends and family gather to enjoy open-air performances staged in an idyllic natural setting.

“You better get tickets because it’s going to be awesome,”said Taylor

“The fact that there is a theatre that is producing such beautiful work and bringing entertainment of this calibre to the Kawarthas is a dream.” exclaims Harding.

“I can’t wait to get on that stage because we are just so lucky to have that stage and the more we can support that industry the better,” said Kozak.

For more information on tickets go to https://www.grovetheatre.ca



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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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