Popular teen heralded as great trumpet player.
The East County home of Leau and Marie Payen was filled March 4 with a dozen visitors, who lifted their voices into a French Creole hymn so strong it sounded like it was emanating from a choir of 40.
Those somber voices mourned the loss of the Payens’ son, Dashwood, a popular Lakewood Ranch High School senior who would have turned 18 a week later.
Dashwood Payen died Feb. 28 in a one-car crash at River Heritage Boulevard and Montauk Point Crossing, in Heritage Harbour.
A Florida Highway Patrol report said Payen was driving northbound in a 2006 Toyota Camry on River Heritage Boulevard approaching the intersection with Montauk Point Crossing at 10:34 p.m. when he failed to negotiate a curve to the right. The vehicle struck a curb and overturned twice. Payen was transported to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton where he died of his injuries.
The FHP has yet to issue more information about what caused the crash, which is under investigation.
It has left the Payen family, which immigrated to the United States from Haiti in 2003, in mourning.
Dashwood Payen was 4 and his brother, Schmid Payen, was 7 when they moved to Florida with their parents. Growing up in a new land made the brothers inseparable as they learned a new language, country and culture.
“We did everything together,” Schmid Payen said. “It was just me and my brother. It’s more than a brother I lost. It’s more like a best friend. He wanted to do everything I wanted to do. I played trumpet, so he wanted to play trumpet.”
Schmid gave up the trumpet, but Dashwood embraced it during middle school and proceeded to become the first-chair trumpet for Lakewood Ranch’s band program.
He was scheduled to play March 9 in the district music performance assessments, at which high school bands are graded. Those with superior rankings go to the state-level assessments. Dashwood Payen was to play March 9 with the concert band and in April with Jazz Band 1.
Band Director Ron Lambert said students have taken Payen’s death to heart. Some want to play in the assessments in his honor and others have not been able to take their instruments out of their cases.
“Some people have magnetic personalities,” Lambert said of Payen. “The thing about him was that he was like a cool character. Without being the loudest person in the room, he would draw you in. He was calm, confident. He was a great trumpet player and he knew it and everyone else knew it, too.”
Longtime friend Zack Masengale agreed.
“Dashwood and I always fought over the lead trumpet parts in jazz band at Lakewood Ranch before I graduated,” said Masengale, who graduated in 2016 and had been friends with Payen since middle school. “I couldn’t even begin to count up the number of jokes, talks about music or funny impressions of famous jazz musicians we made just as a part of everyday band. We even sat right next to each other.
“Dash was hard working, talented and dedicated to becoming a phenomenal musician, which I and many others would agree he already was. I will continue to be baffled as to why the brightest, most distinguished individuals on this earth are taken from us so early.”
Payen wanted to be a professional trumpet player since middle school, and aspired to attend The Juilliard School. Just last month, he announced he would pursue a degree in business administration as the back-up plan his father had wanted.
A gathering celebrating Payen’s life was held March 4 at Bayside Community Church, and other churches have held gatherings as well, his family said.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 10, at First Haitian Baptist Church, 3200 Bradenton Road, Sarasota.