Posted by Jen Zoratti, SCENE Writer | Saturday February 9, 2013
Musicians and industry professionals hit the sheet for charity (J. Senft)
I was aware that a sport called curling existed, and that it looked kind of like big, icy shuffleboard.
—Sandy Taronno, musician
Members of Winnipeg's music scene will descend on the Granite Curling Club this Sunday for the third-annual Manitoba Music Rocks Charity Curling Bonspiel.
The event is a fundraiser for the Unison Benevolent Fund, an assistance program designed to provide discreet relief to music industry personnel facing personal crisis.
So where does curling come in?
"I had just joined the board of the Unison Benevolent Fund and wanted to find a way to raise awareness and a bit of money," explains Sara Stasiuk, executive director of Manitoba Music. "Concurrently, Manitoba Music wanted to find a networking member event that was more accessible than the golf tourneys we'd done in the past. None of us in the office curl, but we knew a lot of musicians did."
Rock musicians will be throwing rocks at the Granite Curling Club (J. Senft)
Turns out Manitoba Music was on to something; last year's bonspiel brought out 150 people and raised $4000 for the fund and this year's event sold out weeks ago. Donations can still be made to the cause in person at the event and spectators are welcome to come down and cheer on the curlers between noon and 4 p.m.
Many prominent Manitoba musicians, including Rusty Matyas of Imaginary Cities, Michael Petkau Falk of Les Jupes, Vanessa Kuzina of Oh My Darling, are set to hit the ice on Sunday, along with many local music industry professionals and supporters.
As for why so many musicians love to hurry hard, Stasiuk has a theory.
"I think the attraction is to the cool duds, yelling, and being able to stretch their hip flexors," she says. "All things we see in music, particularly in rock 'n' roll."
Indicator Indicator, the indie pop project from Sandy Taronno, even wrote an original song about curling for the occasion.
"Last year I tried to register for the Bonspiel, but Rachel "The Gatekeeper" Stone at Manitoba Music told me that I was several weeks too late," Taronno explains. "As a strange consolation prize, they asked if I would write a song for next year's event."
Breakfast Television produced an accompanying video that features some of Manitoba's best-known musician curlers, including John K. Samson, Comeback Kid's Jeremy Hiebert, JP Hoe and DJ Mama Cutsworth.
Unlike those people, Taronno was somewhat less familiar with the sport.
"I was aware that a sport called curling existed, and that it looked
kind of like big, icy shuffleboard," Taronno says. "For any details
beyond that, I had to phone up my old friends, Google and Wikipedia.
Thankfully, during the shoot, JP (Hoe) and Vanessa (Kuzina) proved
themselves instrumental in helping us pretend that I knew what I was
The third-annual Manitoba Music Rocks Charity Curling Bonspiel runs
from noon till 4 p.m. at the Granite Curling Club on Sunday, February