‘The stream is my medicine’: Payne, Prine and the healing power of music in Metchosin

Neighbours gathered to enjoy a musical tribute on the bridge leading to a home on Brookview Drive in Metchosin. The band played John Prine songs in memory of the singer-songwriter who died on April 7. Less than one year ago, their bridge was host to a memorial for their neighbour, Martin Payne, who was found dead in his home in July. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Neighbours gathered to enjoy a musical tribute on the bridge leading to a home on Brookview Drive in Metchosin. The band played John Prine songs in memory of the singer-songwriter who died on April 7. Less than one year ago, their bridge was host to a memorial for their neighbour, Martin Payne, who was found dead in his home in July. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Neighbours gathered to enjoy a musical tribute on the bridge leading to a home on Brookview Drive in Metchosin. The band played John Prine songs in memory of the singer-songwriter who died on April 7. Less than one year ago, their bridge was host to a memorial for their neighbour, Martin Payne, who was found dead in his home in July. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Kym Hill and her husband organized a musical tribute on the bridge leading to their home on Brookview Drive in Metchosin. Less than one year ago, their bridge was host to a memorial for their neighbour, Martin Payne, who was found dead in his home in July. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Kym Hill and her husband organized a musical tribute on the bridge leading to their home on Brookview Drive in Metchosin. They played John Prine songs in memory of the singer-songwriter who died on April 7. Less than one year ago, their bridge was host to a memorial for their neighbour, Martin Payne, who was found dead in his home in July. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Charles Knighton and his wife organized a musical tribute on the bridge leading to their home on Brookview Drive in Metchosin. They played John Prine songs in memory of the singer-songwriter who died on April 7. Less than one year ago, their bridge was host to a memorial for their neighbour, Martin Payne, who was found dead in his home in July. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Neighbours gathered to enjoy a musical tribute on the bridge leading to a home on Brookview Drive in Metchosin. The band played John Prine songs in memory of the singer-songwriter who died on April 7. Less than one year ago, their bridge was host to a memorial for their neighbour, Martin Payne, who was found dead in his home in July. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Laughter, music and a gentle stream could be heard from a bridge leading to the driveway of a home on Brookview Drive in Metchosin last weekend.

Kym Hill, her husband Charles Knighton, and neighbours Craig Hanna and Rolfe McCooey came together on April 19 – while staying physically distant – to perform a musical tribute to the American singer-songwriter John Prine who died on April 7.

Hill and Knighton chalked out spaces along the 54-foot bridge and roped them off so each musician had their own area to perform while adhering to provincial guidelines brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Other neighbours also spaced out along the bridge to enjoy some tunes on a sunny, Sunday afternoon.

Less than one year before, the bridge was host to a different sort of coming together. Guitars and the harmonica were replaced by bagpipes as community members gathered with candles to remember Martin Payne, their 60-year-old neighbour who was murdered and found dead in his home last July.

READ ALSO: ‘Goodness prevails’: Neighbours reflect following suspicious death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

However, one constant remains.

“The stream is my medicine,” Hill said, repeating words she spoke after Payne’s murder in July. “It’s there when things are a bit sideways.”

Hill said she and her neighbours are “trying to make the best of everything” as they embrace “the good stuff” like the beautiful setting in which they live and the music they can share together.

She said John Prine is one of her musical heroes, and thought it was fitting to play his music as a tribute and the fact that “life goes on.”

Community members are still left without answers regarding Payne’s murder, with RCMP telling community members the investigation is ongoing but more details cannot be released, Hill said.

Not knowing what’s going on with the investigation, as well as the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, can leave people feeling powerless she said.

READ ALSO: Victoria musician takes to the web to replace cancelled Oak Bay concert

“I think it’s incumbent on us to gather up the best of everything and try to let go of the things you don’t have total control over,” Hill said. “The water seems to be going in the same direction still … it’s a glorious thing, that things just keep on going.”

The group of musicians were going to call themselves Brookview Overdrive but, Hill laughed, called themselves the Quarantine Quartet instead.

She said they plan to continue to play music – from a variety of artists – on the bridge as they make the most of everything and keep doing what they love.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


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