Summer Serenade a concert series for everyone

13 performances will cover jazz, cabaret, Celtic and more

Midland Mirror

MIDLAND – From jazz and cabaret to Celtic and gypsy fusion music, Summer Serenade is back for a fourth year of bringing a taste of classical music to Midland.

“The series really offers something for everyone. We’ve got every genre,” said John French, founder of Brookside Music Association, which runs the series.

New to the classics? No problem.

The performers “make it very accessible to the audience. They talk to them and explain a little bit,” he said.

What started as small house concerts in French’s living room has grown into a full-fledged series funded by Ontario grants and local businesses and individuals.

This year, 13 performances will be held between July 3 and Aug. 28 at various venues in Midland. Click here for details.

The Gryphon Trio, a chamber music ensemble making its second Summer Serenade appearance, will kick things off July 3 at the Midland Cultural Centre.

The Lemon Bucket Orkestra will end the series Aug. 28 at the Boathouse Eatery. The group plays “one-of-a-kind gypsy fusion music” in a lively show, French explained. They gained notoriety in 2012 when a video of them doing an impromptu performance on a delayed Air Canada flight went viral.

“They are in high demand right now,” French said.

New this year is the addition of cabaret, and many high-profile performers will also be taking the stage.

French said he hopes Summer Serenade will keep growing and become a tourist attraction for the area.

“We hope we can reach a larger audience now,” he said. “We’re constantly amazed when people say, ‘We didn’t know anything about it.’”

Midland picked to host performing arts conference (The Midland Mirror – November 11, 2013)

Midland Mirror

MIDLAND – Midland has been chosen to host an annual conference that will feature more than 500 members of the Ontario arts community.

The Ontario Contact conference will take place from Nov. 5-8, 2014. Individuals working in the performing arts will network and share information about contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre and more.

The event will include showcase performances, workshops and an arts industry marketplace.

John French, founder and artistic director of Brookside Music Association, said he is delighted with the selection of Midland as the 2014 host community.

“This conference is a wonderful opportunity to show the best that Midland has to offer to professionals in the performing arts sector, and to promote its vibrant arts community,” he stated in a press release.

French said the event committee was extremely impressed with the Midland Cultural Centre, where showcases by performers are slated to occur. The North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre will be the site of exhibitor booths.

Rising soprano to perform in Midland (The Midland Mirror – November 11, 2013)


MIDLAND – Canadian soprano Simone Osborne will perform at the Midland Cultural Centre on Nov. 21 in a concert called “Songs of Life and Love.”

The show is part of the new Maureen Forrester Award Tour, a 13-city trek through Ontario and Quebec. The Jeunesses Musicales Canada production in honour of the legendary Canadian contralto is being presented by Brookside Music Association.

Osborne, the first winner of the Maureen Forrester Award, recently completed her tenure as a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio.

In addition she has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Opera, Opera Hamilton, and the Victoria Symphony. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in January.

Tickets to the Nov. 21 concert are $25 for adults and $10 for students. They are available at the box office or by visiting


Brookside’s Soiree Musicale Fundraising Concert a Great Success

MIDLAND – On Saturday, September 28, Brookside Music Association was pleased to join friends for an intimate evening of music, candlelight and wine. The evening featured an impressive program with John French (piano)and Victoria Thompson (soprano).  

Proceeds from this event support the ongoing programming costs of Brookside Music which is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of promoting the love of great music through the presentation of workshops, master classes and concert series. 

John French and Victoria Thompson performing at Soiree Musicale in the Midland Cultural Centre

John French and Victoria Thompson performing at Soiree Musicale in the Midland Cultural Centre


Trillium Grants Totalling $201,000 Announced

NORTH SIMCOE – Three local groups are celebrating after receiving a total of $201,000 in government funding last week. Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop was in Midland April 4 for the Ontario Trillium Foundation announcement, which saw Gateway Centre for Learning receive $105,000, the Township of Tiny get $67,400, and Brookside Music Association…

John French and Garfield Dunlop

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Classical Music Just the Beginning

MIDLAND – The Brookside Music Association is branching out for its 2012-13 fall and winter series. “Great music does not mean just classical music,” said Brookside founder and artistic director John French.

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Record Crowds Raise Hopes for Music Series

MIDLAND – A week after voicing doubts over the future of the Summer Serenade series, Brookside Music Association founder and artistic director John French is singing a different tune. The record crowds that flocked to the last two concerts of the season have a lot to do with his improved outlook.

Anton Kuerti and John French

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Attendance Woes Plague Music Series

MIDLAND – Despite a positive reception last year, Brookside Music Association’s Summer Serenade series is at risk of being cancelled due to lack of attendance.
Founder and artistic director John French told The Mirror attendance at concerts this year has been “very disappointing.”
“I am hoping it’s going to pick up,” he said…

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