By Bev Schellenberg
Sunday, September 21st, I accepted two awards on behalf of my brother, Brian Jaundrew, at the Victoria Rock & Roll Music Hall of Fame award ceremony. Brian chose not to attend.
Dave Kissinger, a former guitarist of The Regents, contacted me through Facebook a few months ago. He explained that The Regents, one of several bands my brother had been in, had won in the category of Most Influential Bands from 1960-1965, and were to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Would I be able to attend? While I was happy my brother was to be inducted, I felt there was no reason for me to be there. I hadn’t won anything personally, and my brother had made the choice long ago not to attend. In fact, I wasn’t even alive during the time my brother was in the band. By the time I arrived in our family, Brian was already married, had a child, and was working in a more conventional job. Sure, I’d heard a few stories of his talents, experienced his perfect pitch in music and appreciated hearing his musical knowledge as he gave me pointers on my own musicianship over the years, but I never saw nor heard him perform in a band.
However, as I found out more about the Hall of Fame event, I realized it was important for me to attend. The band members, their wives, and their children were attending, and since my brother wasn’t going to be there it was important that he be represented. Moreover, I found out my brother was to receive two awards: one for The Regents, the other for Gary Lee & the Group, two of the three groups winning in The Most Influential Rock Bands, 1960-1965. The third group in that category was The Motifs.
Through our emails, Dave and I agreed to meet with The Regent band members and families at the Sticky Wicket pub in Victoria. That was a challenge — I had no idea what Dave looked like. That’s not entirely true — I knew what he looked like almost 50 years ago. But after a rather embarrassed, “Hi, are any of you Dave?” moment (none of the men I asked were), we finally connected. Over fries and salads I met the band members and their families, and heard about grown-up children, new bands, and new business ventures. I also heard stories of a Canadian boy band traveling from school dance to school dance, still so young their dads had to provide transportation; of slick roads in winter; of countless garage band practices; of a time when instrumental bands were just beginning to become vocal bands; of playing at the Crystal Gardens when it was still a public swimming pool; of good, clean fun.
Some of the men hadn’t seen each other since the 1960s. At that long table I saw eager teenagers’ eyes looking from 60-year old faces. I heard what a talented saxophonist my brother, Brian, was, and how disappointed everyone was that he was unable to make the reunion. Signing the “Regents Place” road sign that had “fallen” from that location when the band was still together, signing pictures of the boys sporting top hats, smart suits and thin ties, signing everything on my brother’s behalf wasn’t easy, but I did it. He couldn’t make it, after all.
Red Robinson pulled up in style in a beautiful 68 Mustang California Special, and The Regents and I joined the rest of the musicians, families, and attendees at Element Nightclub, (where the Forge used to be) at the Strathcona Hotel. Sitting at The Regents reserved table felt odd. My brother should’ve been there, not me. I met Reggie, Reg Young, the former bass player of Gary Lee & the Group, who said what a great guy Brian was. Then the event began. Soon a brief tribute to Gary Lee and the Group appeared on the TV screens, and it was time for the older version to accept the awards. Gary Lee’s wife and their daughter accepted his award, as he’d recently passed away. The Regents appeared on the TV screen, and it wasn’t until I saw “In Memory of Brian Jaundrew” at the end of the segment that tears threatened. The real band members and I lined up with our plaque and hand-drawn picture of the band members as they were in the 1960s. Already it was almost over. Norm Pringle, from CKDA, stood to receive Most Influential Broadcaster 1956-1965, and Valdy (Valdemar Horsdal) accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award. From the platform Valdy mentioned how my brother, along with others, were part of the strong Victoria music scene during the 1960s. Then Valdy stepped from the stage, the images faded from the TV screens, young, fresh talent stepped up to take the stage, and the ceremony was over.
I left with happy sad thoughts: happiness and pride for my brother’s success and recognition, sadness that he missed the party. Because in April, 1997, Brian had chosen to check out of life, to determine his own date of exit, to miss future recognition.
I wonder if he wishes he’d stuck around.
We sure do.