Muskoka Arts Award

This award celebrates individuals whose creativity, personal artistic achievements, support of the arts and/or leadership has had a significant impact on Muskoka’s arts community.

CapturePeter and Michelle Swanek have dedicated their lives in Muskoka to bringing great music to the masses.

Working under the belief, music can heal all that ails, the Swaneks have time and again proven this through concerts at Peter’s Players in Gravenhurst.

Even those who might not be able to afford tickets, but could use a night of uplifting musical intervention, have been invited by the Swaneks to attend concerts at their theatre.

They participate on community hoards in Gravenhurst, contribute to charitable organizations in Muskoka, bring in enormous amounts of tourism and business to the area while running their successful theatre business.

The results are palpable says both Peter and Michelle of music’s ability to heal. Michelle says it’s a good feeling knowing Peter’s Players is not exclusive to those who can afford it and being able to bring music to the community is an amazing experience.

Peter says they notice a change in the way people feel from when they walk through the doors at Peter’s PlayerS to when they leave following a concert. “This happens just about at every single show,” says Peter. “Their heads are literally spinning off their shoulders because they’re in disbelief and they’re elated. And whatever mindset they were in when they came, it was completely recalibrated throughout the show and they leave in a whole different mindset.”

Peter made the decision to relocate from Innisfil to Gravenhurst in 2007 and despite doubts from family members, he envisioned the transformation from a place known as Moe’s Garage into the acclaimed swinging theatre it is today.

In April 2008 .Peter’s Players opened with Johnny Winter and James Cotton playing to a sold out audience.

Peter married. Michelle in. 2009. She is very involved with everything from writing thank you notes and supporting local charities to keeping the place looking good and running well, with her keen eye on the financials. “The intent was to bring in great artists that weren’t around, so I could bring focus on our venue,” says Peter. “That has been achieved because we bring in lots of international artists and sometimes it’s the only Canadian date they’ll play on a tour, so the entire focus is here in Gravenhurst.”

Peter and Michelle. Swanek are the recipients of the Muskoka Award for Arts.

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