Muskoka To-DAILY

‘Musical Memories of Muskoka’ celebrates resort bands, dance halls at Grace & Speed museum

GRAVENNHURST -  Step back in time to experience “The sweetest music this side of heaven” at “Where all Muskoka dances.”

musical memories logoThat’s the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre’s Grace & Speed this summer, as ‘Musical Memories of Muskoka’ are celebrated at the Muskoka Wharf museum.

A tribute to the music of the Muskoka Lakes resorts and dance halls kicks off with Neil Barlow’s 15-piece Muskoka Swing Band Thursday night with a sneak peak for museum patrons as they preview the show that will run all summer to Thanksgiving.

With a genuine replica of the Dunn’s Pavilion cottage band stand stage, and Gerry Dunn’s famous drug store Marine soda fountain, it’s a wonderful glimpse back at an era that made Muskoka more famous.

basie posterWhen the big bands like Count Basie, Duke Ellington and even the great Louis Armstrong played Dunn’s in the 1960s, it was as Dunn billled it – ‘Where all Muskoka dances.’

And among the most famous bands was Canada’s own Guy Lombardo with ‘The sweetest music this side of heaven.’

But the step back in time also remembers music around the lakes, like The 21 Club in Port Carling, the Muskoka Beach Inn – later Muskoka Sands – in Gravenhurst, Bangor Lodge, the Sharon Club, and even the Cove in Gravenhurst where The Better Reason cut their rock-and-roll teeth.

It starts with a night of nostalgia Thursday 7-9 p.m. for invited guests, friends and supporters who make the museum so great.

There’s a dance floor and dance demonstration of the Lindy hop and more.

The exhibit opens Friday with regular admission.

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