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

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

A partnership is looking to identify skeletal remains that were discovered by recreational divers in the Gorge Waterway this February. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Divers find partial human skull in Gorge Waterway

B.C. Coroner Service determines remains likely historical, not ancestral

This rendering shows the proposed warehouse for lands under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority near a Sidney residential neighbourhood. (York Realty/Submitted).
Sidney calls on Victoria Airport Authority to improve design of planned warehouse

Council stops short of a definitive statement for or against proposal

The Victoria Police Department is looking for help identifying a person of interest after an April 29 hit-and-run. (VicPD handout)
Victoria police looking for suspect in hit-and-run investigation

The suspect was driving a four-door grey Dodge Ram 1500 truck

A man was arrested after allegedly threatening people downtown on May 10 while brandishing this knife. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Man armed with a knife arrested for allegedly threatening people in downtown Victoria

Officers used de-escalation techniques during afternoon arrest

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old bike rider on Vancouver Island already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Most Read