Karen Hough playing Christmas tunes with her French horn on Oak Bay Avenue. A former member of the Naden Band, Hough is fundraising for the Wounded Warriors Battlefield Bike Ride next June. The 100-person cycling group of veterans, first responders and civilians visit a series of Dutch towns significant to the 75th anniversary of Holland’s Second World War liberation. The group holds a ceremony at each stop and Hough plays the horn as part of it. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

French horn player brings holiday spirit to an Oak Bay afternoon

Musician raising money for Wounded Warriors, plays horn at veteran ceremonies

One older Oak Bay resident couldn’t help but share his thoughts as Karen Hough played Christmas tunes with her French horn on Oak Bay Avenue Monday.

Hough, who can be seen playing downtown and on Oak Bay Avenue, is raising money to go on the June 2020 Wounded Warriors Battlefield Bike Ride in Holland.

Seeing a sign that explained the Wounded Warrior connection, the older man said the problem with the younger generation these days is that they don’t take Remembrance Day seriously, nor the sacrifice of those who fell in the First and Second World Wars. Minutes later, a man in his early 20s dropped $5 in Hough’s bucket and waited patiently to ask her about the bike ride.

READ MORE: Wounded Warriors steps up for Coast Guard volunteers

That’s how it is for Hough, a former member of the Naden Band who stands roadside this holiday season in a Santa hat and with Christmas lights on her music stand.

“People want to share their thoughts, it’s important to them,” she said. “Some are really chatty.”

To join the 2020 Battlefield Bike Trip, participants raise a minimum of $4,000 for Wounded Warriors Canada’s mental health programs which support ill and injured veterans, first responders and their families.

On the trip they’ll cycle 400 kilometres in five days from Bergen op Zoom to Deventer, tracing the 1st Canadian Army battle sites as they contributed to Holland’s liberation (ending with German surrender, May 7, 1945).

Hough did a similar Wounded Warriors ride earlier this year, the 75th anniversary of D Day. The group landed on Juno Beach on June 6, the day of the anniversary.

“That was great, it was special,” said Hough.

Like everyone else on the trip, Hough does all the cycling.

It’s a supported ride so her French horn is safely transported by vehicle.

Hough, a freelance musician, is playing the Ken Lavigne Christmas show at the Royal Theatre this week and will be back out fundraising with Christmas tunes for the holidays. Look for her on Oak Bay Avenue, downtown and possibly in Sidney.

For more information visit woundedwarriors.ca/bbr20 or Hough’s own page.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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