MUSKOKA - He’s a star of the musical theatre. He front-lined in Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables and has wowed audiences across the globe with his vocal range and passion for decades.
Robert Pilon comes to Muskoka this week to perform a concert to benefit YWCA Muskoka. It’s his second fundraiser for the organization in three years.
Robert Pilon and Friends will feature guest artists in a two-hour variety-style show embracing a musical range from Broadway to jazz and even some inspirational tunes.
Appearing with Pilon will be up-and-coming folk and jazz artist Elli Grace and Jennifer Strype who is pursuing a career in musical theatre.
Huntsville’s own Jillian McDougall, who heads the Huntsville Community Choir, will be performing a couple of duets with Pilon.
Performance Artist Holly Carr will be painting on-stage, completing an entire piece from start to finish during the program. At the end of the show the silk painting will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Pilon’s connection with YWCA Muskoka goes back to when he was first approached at a dinner party in Muskoka Lakes by a mutual friend of the late Carolyn Bray. This conversation led to the first concert.
Charity fundraisers are something Pilon embraces, having done five concerts for the families of 9/11 victims in Ottawa and New York, as well as several overseas tours to entertain Canada’s troops.
He will go to Afghanistan again this year, as well as perform concerts in the East Coast to benefit hospice and other charities.
“I certainly do try to associate with certain charitable organizations to help bring focus and awareness to their cause,” said Pilon.
On June 23 he was awarded the Queen’s diamond jubilee medal, given to living Canadians that have contributed toward their field in Canada or abroad.
He was nominated by Julian Fantino because of the concerts he has performed for 9/11 victim’s families.
Pilon was trained operatically but says he considers himself a legitimate Broadway voice in the music industry.
He calls Muskoka a beautiful land and visits the area frequently to spend time with family and friends on Lake Muskoka and Lake Rosseau.
“Thankfully they continue to invite us,” he said.
Robert Pilon and Friends returns to the Algonquin Theatre this Thursday, Aug. 16 for a benefit concert for YWCA Muskoka.
The evening begins at 7 p.m. with a wine and cheese reception featuring hors d’oeuvres by the chefs at Crossroads Restaurant, in addition to wines carefully selected to please your palette.
Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at the box office or by calling 705-789-4975.
“It was pure magic. I attended this event in 2009 and I was absolutely thrilled by what I saw and heard. You will be singing these songs for days after the show is over,” said A.J. Specht, president of YWCA Muskoka’s board of directors.