Top News

Stranger moved by Glace Bay songwriter's music, sends her a gift

Breagh Kelly, 16, of Glace Bay, holds a handcrafted piece of art she received from a Kings County woman. The stranger was touched after listening to Kelly's song "Guide You Home" which was posted on Facebook following the mass shooting last month.
Breagh Kelly, 16, of Glace Bay, holds a handcrafted piece of art she received from a Kings County woman. The stranger was touched after listening to Kelly's song "Guide You Home" which was posted on Facebook following the mass shooting last month. CONTRIBUTED
GLACE BAY, N.S. —

A young songwriter wrote her own music of comfort and then shared it when Nova Scotians needed some strength.

Then a stranger called.

Breagh Kelly, 16, of Glace Bay, received a handcrafted piece of art from a stranger which included the lyrics to her song "Guide You Home" inscribed on it. The stranger, Penny Dykens from Canning, Kings County, sent the artwork as thanks for Kelly's song which she posted following the mass shooting in Portapique last month.

“It was like the best feeling ever to see something that I wrote made an impact on someone else’s life,” said Kelly, a Grade 10 student at Glace Bay High School.

For the past four years Kelly has been writing her own music and performs at various venues with her father Jerome Kelly.

“I wrote that song as the world can be so overwhelming, you can feel there’s no hope,” she said. “I find writing songs really helped me have some comfort in my life.”

After the mass shooting, Kelly posted a video of herself performing the song on the Ultimate Online Nova Scotia Kitchen Party Facebook page.

“All I wanted was to help people get through that really rough time,” she said. “Even if I helped one person.”

She received more than 6,000 interactions and 1,500 comments on the video.

Mother Shauna Kelly said writing the song was a comfort to her daughter, at a time when people have died and you feel everything is going wrong.

Then this "stranger out of the blue," who turned out to be Dykens, contacted the family to tell them she was touched by the song. Dykens had an artist friend incorporate the lyrics onto a piece of art and had two pieces made — one for herself and one for Kelly.

"It was like the best feeling ever to see something that I wrote made an impact on someone else’s life." — Breagh Kelly

Really surprised by the thoughtful gesture, Shauna Kelly wanted to assist with the efforts.

“She just said to pay it forward and do something to make someone else smile.”

The artwork arrived Tuesday. Shauna Kelly said her daughter was overwhelmed to see the lyrics from her song on it and know a stranger did that for her.

“When there is so much negative happening, it’s so nice to see that kindness prevails and the kindness of strangers exists.”

Dykens said like most people during this pandemic, she was at home when the mass shooting occurred. In the days that followed, being in isolation made it incredibly difficult to cope and feel connected, so she turned to music on social media through the Nova Scotia kitchen party groups.

She clicked on Kelly’s song and was moved to tears.

“This young woman singing such a sad song with a message of hope in the midst of really scary times,” she said. “It was beautiful and I just felt compelled to show her that her music matters. Her message matters. And there is still so much love and kindness in the world.”

Dykens' friend Lotus Parker created the artwork.

“Just a simple story really, born from an idea I had one night because I was touched by Breagh's song,” she added.

In the meantime, Breagh Kelly, who works part time at the Glace Bay Library, has been working on her music as she and her family follow the COVID-19 health directives.

She has written some 12 songs over the years including one recently for her best friend’s birthday.

“It’s a great time to practise too.”

RELATED:

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories