For several years, the late Gerry Lund of Elkhorn would hold a fall music jam in his back pasture area, where he had built a stage, seating area, and play area for both young and old. He built it in memory of his late wife, Lily, and for his grandchildren, who had come to love it.
For Lund and his family, it was known as his Field of Dreams.
The annual music event would draw area musicians from far and wide and even south of the border.
Over the years, while Lund was an active farmer and talented welder, he was also known as the community music man and one of the driving forces of the monthly old time music jams held at the Elkhorn Legion Hall on Sundays.
Last November after a short bout with cancer, he passed away.
The family all knew his life-long love of music and what importance his Field of Dreams location held for him. So it was decided to hold one more music in the field event with an invitation to all his musical and non-musical friends to celebrate his life with music, memories and an old pot luck field supper.
On the day of the event, Aug. 17, it was cool and the sky was grey with a hint of fall in the air. As I drove through the planted fields, the grain stocks were high waiting to be harvested, with only a few deer paths seen among the stocks.
By 1:30 p.m. the musicians began to arrive and set up on the small sheltered stage.
There were a few technical sound problems at first, but with the amount of experience of many of the older players, the bugs in the system were worked out. The MC for the event was Ed Clayton, another popular Elkhorn musician who introduced the many talented Manitoba and Saskatchewan old time music makers from over the years.
Near the stage was a photo display of Gerry’s life and family, his ashes, his guitar, flowers and his always present white polka dotted red welding hat that was so well known in the village and on stage.
The music started and many of the performers played some of Lund’s favorites: To Young to Die Old, May The Circle Be Unbroken, Red River Valley, to name a few.
Saskatchewan fiddle players such as Len Downer of Maryfield and Mel Lumby and Jim Maddock of Moosomin did some great old time waltzes and polkas. Vocalists included Leona Joseph, Gerald Ogilvie, Larry Gabrielle, Sylvia Hanlin, Berle Smith, Mel and Elsie Henry, John Dunfield, Omer Hanson and Herb Benson. One of the more humorous songs that afternoon was by Evelyn Downer who sang, “The Burgler Man Song”.
While the music played, children and grandchildren played on the swings, in the sand pile and on the pirate ship as the sun begin to break through the clouds.
After two hours of music the mic was opened up to anyone who wanted to tell a story or share a memory. That brought both a few tears and a lot of smiles from the estimated crowd of over 200 people. The open mic also gave an opportunity for a few younger singers to come up to the stage and sing.
All too soon, the music and memories were over and it was time for the pot luck supper and an opportunity to share stories with each other or with Gerry’s daughters - Sheri a veterinarian in Edmonton with three children, her younger sister Shannon, a resident of Elkhorn with two children and with his loving partner Angela, and other family members.
Later, Sheri said that the whole family was so very pleased and touched by everyone who came out “to Dad’s field of dreams.”
One of the final events of the day was a three-gun salute from the cannon Lund had made for his pirate ship.