This 91-year-old hospice patient wrote a song honouring 'beautiful' Vancouver

·2 min read
Jack Roche, left, wrote a song about his love of Vancouver with the help of music therapist Josh Denny-Keys. (Providence Health Care - image credit)
Jack Roche, left, wrote a song about his love of Vancouver with the help of music therapist Josh Denny-Keys. (Providence Health Care - image credit)

When Jack Roche has trouble falling asleep, he listens to music.

In particular, he loves to listen to the song Don't Cry for Me, Argentina, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice for the musical Evita, released in 1976.

That song, he says, inspired him to write his own piece of music — his first song — at 91.

"I got so goddamn much energy," he told On the Coast host Gloria Macarenko.

"So these songs help me to go to sleep. That's why I love these songs. Mine just came out of this."

Roche lives in Providence Health Care's St. John Hospice.

His nurse, Kelly Konyk, contacted certified music therapist Josh Denny-Keys, to help Roche compose his own song.

"I came to the room, met Jack and his son Tom, and I had a piece of paper put in front of me with a bunch of lyrics that Jack had written," Denny-Keys said.

"I said, 'Well, Jack, what do you want the song to sound like?' He said, 'I don't know. You're the professional. You do it.' So then I was basically just sitting in front of two people that I just met and having to write a song that was deeply personal for him."

Denny-Keys said it only took about half an hour to write the song for a person he had just met.

"The rapport was there pretty quickly. He's a nice guy. Every person that comes into contact with Jack walks away feeling a little bit better about themselves because he's just that nice of a guy."

A young Jack Roche strolls down Granville Street in 1951.
A young Jack Roche strolls down Granville Street in 1951.(Submitted by the Roche family)

The finished product, titled Jack's Song — My Beautiful Vancouver, is an ode to the seaside city and the beauty and warmth the ocean offers.

"I just wanted it to be about Vancouver, that's all," Roche said.

"The sea, the beautiful sea. The reason it [Vancouver] is warm is you've got the water beside you all the time."

"Why does everyone in the world want to live here? Because it's a great, warm, lovely city."

To hear Jack Roche's interview, and his song, click here: