By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I've got relatives visiting and my wife is interested in taking them to see something cultural. We live in Durham and really don't want to drive too far. Any suggestions?

A: It sounds far fetched but a symphony experience in a barn may be the answer. Seeing that it's off a quiet country road in Durham, your family won't have to travel far either.

Called "Symphony Barn," concertgoers are ushered behind the barn boards and under the rafters to hear blissful tunes performed by a formal orchestra who dawn black and white hues and perform seamlessly on a lazy summer afternoon.

Situated in a 100-year-old barn amidst tall grass fields along with flocks of sheep, chickens and the odd pig, organizer Michael Schmidt is packing them in here. Don't be surprised if the maestro and organic farmer announces, "You've got a free concert with the birds."

On my latest outing, we heard the tunes of "New York New York" performed by the "Windjammer Swing Band" and "Somewhere over the Rainbow," sung by the effervescent, Dinah Christie who resides in nearby Holstein.

There are some great B&B's along the way too. Twenty minutes from "Symphony Barn," in nearby Shelburne, a great haven for antique collectors, Munshaw Village Inn has eight rooms and a two-bedroom suite available. For reservations call 1-888-209-6222. Camping facilities are located at the Durham Conservation Area Saugeen Valley Conservation. Visit Saugeen Valley Conservation for more camping information.

To get to the barn, directions are easy. Follow highway 10 north past Orangeville, Shelburne until you get to Durham. It's 2 miles northeast of Durham off Highway 6. You'll most likely see a school bus masking as a sign announcing, "Symphony Barn." For tickets and information call 519.369.3741 or visit Symphony Barn.


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All text & photos 2004.