Articles by Rosemary Phillips

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A Whale Story - the Magic of Paul Horn's Flute

A Memorable Coast Moment

A story told to Rosemary Phillips, January 2011

Origin of the story
The story
Link to the companion feature biographical-interview on this site with and about Paul Horn

A grey whale

A grey whale

Origin of The Story
Lorraine Flynn of Campbell River, BC, sent in the following story about an experience her late husband Doug had while on a fishing boat. It is a story worth sharing. It shows the effects music can have on all life, and in this case, the flute music of Paul Horn and a grey whale off the coast of British Columbia.
Says Lorraine, “This is a story often told by Doug about a very spiritual-like moment while he was commercial fishing. He was a storyteller, so all I can do is relate the facts of the incident as best I can remember him telling it. I’m not sure of the exact year but it was likely around 1979.”
Here is their story as told by Lorraine:

The Story
In 1974 Doug bought a 34-foot wooden troller named the MV Norah Colleen. Although he was an elementary school principal at the time he was addicted to fishing. For many summers he was a fishing guide for Sea Esta Charters, but found he needed a break from pleasing people. He loved the challenge of the sea, the elements and the solitary life of a fisherman as well as the fellowship of fishing buddies when in port. With his own boat he had his own freedom to come and go as he pleased.

One summer afternoon, while he was waiting for a new deckhand to arrive from Campbell River, he couldn’t resist the urge to head out into the open waters. The weather was calm and all the other fishermen were out of port so he headed off on his own. He left the dock at Winter Harbour and went a few miles off shore. He set a few lines then went to the gallery to prepare a light lunch.

He loved music and had his tape deck amplified out on deck so he could enjoy his favourite music. At this time he was playing a Paul Horn cassette (I believe Paul’s first hit). About half-way through that tape Doug noticed a most horrible smell. He left the galley, went up on deck and when he looked over the rail of the boat there was a huge grey whale swimming alongside.

He pulled in his lines and the whale continued to stay beside the boat. Although the smell was overwhelming, Doug sat in total awe and watched this magnificent animal as it seemingly enjoyed the flute melodies as much as Doug did. When that cassette of flute music finished and a country and western tape began to blare through the speakers, the whale dove down and disappeared from sight.

This fifteen-minute incident left a life-long impression on my husband. He had always been a devout Catholic but that experience somehow touched the core of his inner being and he developed a greater respect for the wonders around him, especially those associated with the sea. Music was the awesome tie that bound these two beings together: Paul Horn’s magical flute!


Follow this link for the biographical-interview with flutist Paul Horn.

NOTE: There are many more articles on this site - see Index of Articles.

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