Tag Archives: yorkregion

Music and Horses

Sometimes, as a musician, your music life spills over into other areas of your life – and vice versa. Lately, for me, that’s happening in a big way: my music and my passion for horses are trotting along together in tandem.

And no, I haven’t run off to join the Mounties and their Musical Ride. J But for the last year I’ve been writing some horse-themed songs – enough, in fact, that along with five I’ve already recorded, I’ll soon be able to release an all-horse song CD. (See www.marielynnhammond for more info.)

A special barn concert                                                                               Not only that, on Saturday September 17, I’ll be playing my very first-ever BARN concert. That’s right, I’ll be playing some of those horse songs, and others, at a fundraising event at the stable where I ride in Whitchurch-Stouffville.  (A while back in this blog I wrote about house concerts – concerts that take place in someone’s home. Well, this is a spin on that concept!)

The stable is a special place, called Horses of Course, which accommodates riders with a range of disabilities as well as able-bodied riders. One of them, Krystianna L., was a plucky little girl diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was very small. Krystianna spent huge amounts of time at Sick Kids’ Hospital, but whenever she was well enough, she’d take riding lessons at Horses of Course. Her favourite horse was a little chestnut Quarter Horse mare named Meg.

Sadly, Krystianna died in 2009 at the age of 13 – but not before the folks at the barn put Meg on a trailer and took her to Sick Kids so Krystianna could see her one more time just days before she died.

Canter for a Cure                                                                                          So this Saturday her friends and family are organizing a day called Krystianna’s Canter for a Cure, full of horsey demonstrations, and activities to raise money for neuroblastoma research, and also for a bursary for young riders with disabilities who need financial help with riding lessons. And that’s why I’ll be singing my horse songs there. If you’re a horse lover AND a music lover, then this is the event for you. Not to mention you’ll be supporting two worthy causes.

It’s a benefit!                                                                                               And that’s something we musicians do a lot of: I don’t know a single musician who hasn’t played benefits and fundraisers, and we’re always happy to do it, because we rarely have much money in our pockets to donate, but we can usually find the time to sing for a great cause. In fact I’ve played so many I’ve even written a tongue-in-cheek song called “Not Another Benefit.”

But as well as singing about chestnut mares, naughty ponies, and other equines, I’ll be more than happy to play that song this Saturday with the sound of horses nickering around me.


Marie-Lynn Hammond is a co-founder of Stringband, a seminal Canadian folk group, and a critically acclaimed songwriter living in York Region. In past lives she’s written plays and magazine articles and hosted national CBC radio shows. In between working on two new CDs, she freelances as an editor of both fiction and nonfiction. www.marielynnhammond.com



The Relationship Design – An Art in Progress!

Lesley Ann Marcovich

By: Lesley Ann Marcovich

“Will you be my valentine?” Or, “Will you be my partner in designing a magnificent union that is creative, productive, awe-inspiring, and that will stand the test of time?” Sounds like a tall order, but in essence, that’s what a relationship, especially an intimate one, requires.

Like anything built to withstand traffic, climate, and erosion, the relationship needs constant inspection, maintenance, and sometimes, when things get rickety or tired, a renovation … and sometimes, when things literally crumble to the ground, a complete restoration.

Respect is the mortar that keeps the foundation solid and immovable; respect for each other’s culture, sex, roots, ambitions, dreams, and life’s journey.

Memories and experiences make up the walls which are not always straight or perfect. Some are solid, some flimsy, some temporary, some immovable. They’re there to define the stages of our shared lives which are forever changing; sometimes working with us, sometimes against.    

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I Want DUMB Technology!

YorkScene Blogger, Marie-Lynn Hammond

By: Marie-Lynn Hammond

Since I’m not under 25, I wasn’t born with a digital device in my hand. I got my first computer in my mid-30s, in the days when they were powered by gerbils running on a little treadmill, and they involved about 10 commands. All I wanted was a word processor to make writing easier, which it did. I had no trouble wrangling that early setup.

Also in those early days, I had a cassette recorder. When I felt a new song coming on, I’d slip a cassette in, hit Record, and let it run for 45 minutes while I tried endless combinations of chords, melodies and words while strumming my guitar. When I needed to write a line down in my notebook, I’d hit Pause. And when I was done, I’d hit Stop and then Playback. Simple. Straightforward.

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