Music Memory – Lorne Hamilton

Music Memory is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, offering the “Music For Memory Project”: a program based on the effects of music and stimulation on people with dementia, by providing them with iPods containing personalized music. For more information, visit

This week, we hear from Lorne Hamilton.

In the mid-eighties I was a member of the ship’s orchestra onboard the S/S Norway, which was at the time, the world’s largest cruise ship. One week we were making our regular stop at St. Thomas, USVI, and that particular week was a jazz cruise. There were many well known artists onboard including Dizzy Gillespie and his band.

Because of the ship’s deep 35 foot draught, it could not enter the Charlotte Amalie harbour, and had to anchor just off-shore. In order to ferry people into port, the ship carried two, double-decker, 50 ton tenders. I was sitting on the upper deck of the tender as we made our way across the harbour, on what was a beautiful Caribbean morning.

When we were about half-way across, a member of Dizzy’s band walked up to the front of the tender. He pulled out a piccolo and started to play‚Ķ what else? St. Thomas, much to the delight of all within earshot. That was a great start to another day in paradise.

My time on ships lasted for eleven years, I worked with many great artists, and cruised around the world. I have many wonderful memories, but this one is one of the brightest.