Mary Bennet's love of music is evident in the soulfulness of her voice. Ethereal, angelic, rich and pure are just some of the ways in which her sound has been described. Mary has performed at music festivals in Ontario and British Columbia, Hugh's Room and other venues in the Toronto area, and at the renowned Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Along the way, she has been the opening guest for Stephen Fearing, Valdy, David Francey, Tiller's Folley, and has shared the stage with Russell deCarle, among others. She also regularly contributes harmony vocals for various recording projects by fellow artists, and shares her gift of song weekly with members of a local community of adults with intellectual disabilities. Mary plays guitar, piano, clawhammer banjo and autoharp. She delights in the richness of singing in two or three part harmony.
Whether in the shower, a living room, or on stage, Mary loves to sing. Hailing from Ontario's farmland, Mary is a roots musician and teller of stories with a focus on simple acoustic arrangements. Her music has delighted audiences at weddings and provided comfort at funerals. She has appeared as a solo act, and with assorted duos, trios, and full bands. Her strong instrumental skills accompany her rich, warm voice and tasteful harmonies. Mary covers a broad range of styles, including folk, country, bluegrass, and pop music. Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, John Prine and Neil Young are some of her early influences.
Mary is pleased to have provided harmony and lead vocals to various recordings for artists including Valdy, Taivi Alexander, Jayne Mitchell, Roy Williams, Todd Hoke, Glen Hornblast, Susan Lawrence, Noreen Sullivan, Shelley Posen and Dean Cavill.
Mary has made many musical contributions in support of various charitable organizations, including L'Arche Daybreak, Inn from the Cold, ArtsCan Circle, Riverwalk Eating Disorders and Wellness Centres, Habitat for Humanity, the Food Bank, Community Living, and Hospice King-Aurora. She shares her musical gift regularly with residents and volunteers at a local homeless shelter. Reverend Elizabeth Cunningham, Mount Albert United Church, had this to say in a sermon on healing (excerpt):
”Mary and Peter, two volunteers, brought out their guitars about 9:30. Most guests were finishing the meal of grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. And Mary started to sing. A true folk song singer, her melodious voice settled the room into a wonderful mood and soon one of the guys playing euchre in the corner started whistling Puff the Magic Dragon along with her. The man who started the evening ‘drunker than a skunk’ began to listen closely and then began to ask for songs by title and artist, clearly reaching him at a good place within.
Another man, who I can only describe as the most typical ‘homeless’ person you could imagine, dishevelled, slept in clothes, hair and beard a mess. He shuffled over and asked for She’ll Be Comin' Round the Mountain. Then it was Turkey in the Straw. Mary figured him out pretty quickly and asked if he was a fiddler, which he was. Hadn’t fiddled in a long time he said and wished he had kept up with it. And in the midst of this man’s dirty, bedraggled presence, a light shone in those dark black eyes, bringing us and him back to a time of light heartedness and laughter. I don’t know who was healed more in that moment - him or us."
Mary was thrilled to be part of the remarkable, now defunct, Essentia Vocal Ensemble. Essentia was a collective of 20 Ontario singers, songwriters and instrumentalists, performing original, traditional and improvisational music, and songs from around the globe.