Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government photo)

Order of Canada Vancouver Island musician pens ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’

Qualicum Beach lawyer and saxophonist Phil Dwyer notes health officer has become a ‘folk hero’

Phil Dwyer, a Juno Award-winning jazz musician from Qualicum Beach, got up on Monday morning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and wrote a folk song for B.C.’s provincial health officer.

“I woke up this morning and I just had a feeling it was something I wanted to do, to put some of my thoughts down on paper,” he said.

Dwyer said he’d been thinking about Dr. Bonnie Henry and how she’s become a “folk hero.”

“To come out day after day and be dealing with such weighty subject matter, I can’t imagine what it’s like behind the scenes for someone like that,” he said.

Dwyer, a recipient of the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canada’s music scene, performed a Facebook live concert at the Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach on March 29, where he and wife Theresa Whitley are the musical directors. During the show, he dedicated ‘Ain’t Misbehavin,’ a jazz song written in the 1920s, to Dr. Henry.

“One of the lines in the song is, ‘I’m home about eight, just me and my radio,’ and I’m a real radio person, so I haven’t been watching any of the updates, but I listen to them on CBC,” he said. “And I was surprised at how when I was just announcing the song, and I’d kind of done it with a little bit of tongue in cheek, I found myself getting pretty emotional thinking about it, about the job that she’s been doing.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 precautions ‘not optional,’ B.C.’s Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

READ MORE: Dynamic duo bring decades of musical expertise to Qualicum Beach

The morning after the concert, Dwyer got up and wrote the song.

“I read it to [his wife] and got to the end and I was almost in tears and I thought, ‘wow, this whole thing is really having an effect that we’re not really aware of,’” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s going to be Dr.Bonnie Henry that people remember from this.”

Here’s the lyrics to the song that Dwyer posted on twitter:

She comes on the radio, just around 3

with the public health news for the folks of BC

and to talk of a crisis, of a scope yet unseen

with an ungainly moniker, Covid-19

From the start, at the top of her list of demands,

was we lather with soap and please wash off our hands,

and as things took a turn for the worse day by day,

that we keep friends and neighbours a good six feet away

She’s had lots of help in her search for a fix,

not the least of whom is Mr. Adrian Dix,

in the eyes of the public though, she’s been the one

that has been with us since this whole thing has begun,

As nurses and doctors proceed with their tasks,

and pray for enough ventilators and masks,

she asks us to all help and flatten the curve,

and that from her health policy we do not swerve,

If we all stick together and see this thing through

we can show what a civil society can do

when it’s faced with a threat that first seemed unreal

but that now, it is obvious, is the real deal

So please follow the guidelines that she has laid out

it is going to be worth it, of that there’s no doubt

and if you turn on your radio, just around 3

the voice that you hear is of Bonnie Henry

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CoronavirusJazzMusicqualicum beach

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke marine search and rescue cast their nets for volunteers

Non-profit looking for crew and society members

No plan in place if Sooke homeless shelter forced to shut doors

Contract for Otter Road facility now month to month

Three years for serial bank robber who hit Sidney branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Sidney, Abbotsford and Vancouver

Cook Street Village grocery icon closing, new owners plan major renovation

Louie family has operated Oxford Foods and predecessor for five decades at Cook and Oxford streets

Couple that owned Sooke Harbour House awarded $4 million after lengthy court case

B.C. Supreme Court rules in favour of Frederique and Sinclair Philip

Rare fish washes onto Whiffin Spit in Sooke

Deep water fish identified as ‘King-of-the-salmon’

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Island Corridor Foundation launches survey on importance of Vancouver Island rail

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island”

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Island RCMP remind drivers not to text after 19 tickets handed out in 90 minutes

The $368 fines were handed out Tuesday on Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

Most Read