Robert W. Metzger

Saanich Seniors: Retiree using music for the mind

Retired B.C. supreme court judge escaped cardiac arrest, now learning drums at 74 years old

Supreme Court of B.C. judge Robert W. Metzger didn’t choose to retire. But now that the health issues which forced him into it are behind him, he’s free to venture into new projects: like learning the drums.

“I wanted to do something for the brain and the research said, learn a new language, or learn music,” he said.

At 74, Metzger is learning from one of the best. His instructor, Mike Turnpenny, was a full time drummer with Canadian great Ronnie Hawkins, touring for the better part of the 1970s and 80s.

What makes Turnpenny an ideal coach, is that the 65-year-old is passionate about the mental acuity which can be gained and retained through learning the drums. It’s something the current generation of seniors are taking seriously.

“We’re only just reaching the double digits in terms of lessons together and I really appreciate (Metzger’s approach). You can’t take the basics lightly,” Turnpenny said.

Four years ago, while still with the supreme court, Metzger collapsed on a Victoria sidewalk near Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena from cardiac arrest. It was severe ventricular fibrillation, meaning it went beyond a medical emergency. Metzger, by all legal definitions, was dead. A passerby recognized the situation and manually pumped his heart, sending oxygen to his brain, and saved his life until the ambulance showed up. He was resurrected and induced into a coma at the Royal Jubilee Hospital for less than 10 days before waking up.

“I always appreciated life, so nothing changed there, it was just a matter of becoming healthier,” Metzger said. “The most signifcant change is adding a nap to my daily routine.

“(The irony was), if I had collapsed in my office (with the door closed) I would be dead. No one would have known,” Metzger  said.

In his Cordova Bay basement, Metzger keeps a full drum kit next to his exercise equipment. It’s a great kit and puts out a good sound, but, Turnpenny says, more important are the rubber practice pads nearby that make little to no noise.

“You don’t need a kit to drum. It’s really just a few bucks for some sticks and a practice pad. It’s all about the fundamentals, tap tap tap, which makes Metzger a great student,” Turnpenny said. “I can’t stress it enough.”

“I don’t want to sell myself short on how far I can go with the drums,” Metzger said. “I’m a Gene Krupa fan. I play around with the kit. But once you start doing that (too much) you limit your ability.”

Turnpenny has a few seniors and others who he teaches, though he’s selective of his students, seeking only those who will be a good fit and are committed.

Those interested may contact Turnpenny at 778-406-2145.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Improperly transporting a pet in the back of the truck can cost up to $368

Police recommend keeping all animals inside the passenger portion of the vehicle

Mass-timber project in Esquimalt switches from condos to rentals

Corvette Landing will now offer rental units in the area

Saanich’s Mount Douglas Park open after police investigate non-suspicious death Saturday

Saanich Police say public faces no danger following investigation

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Most Read