Find­ing time to pur­sue life’s pas­sions

Val and Brian Jen­dra make art and mu­sic

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50 LIFE - Jack Lawrie jack.lawrie@cnbtimes.com.au

RE­TIRE­MENT has al­lowed Brian and Val Jen­dra to fo­cus on their hob­bies.

Brian, bet­ter known as the Monto Yodeller, re­leased his epony­mous coun­try al­bum in 1976, af­ter which there was a lengthy gap in his mu­sic out­put.

The next al­bum was re­leased in 1987, fol­lowed by CD re­leases in 2011 and 2013.

When asked why there was such a big gap be­tween the first two re­leases, Brian’s an­swer was sim­ple: “we were busy”.

Brian worked in the forestry of­fice for 38 years, and be­tween work and bring­ing up kids, there sim­ply wasn’t enough time to fo­cus on record­ing.

Now in his 70s, he’s free to per­form reg­u­lar guest spots in coun­try mu­sic shows around the state.

“He’d al­ways been singing, we’d be down to Bris­bane one week­end and off some­where else next week­end,” Val said.

The Monto Yodeller moniker came from a friend’s on-stage in­tro­duc­tion dur­ing a fes­ti­val in 1969 and the name stuck.

It was based on his ten­dency to work yo­delling into his mu­sic.

“My singing in­cludes a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent yo­delling styles, so it’s not all the one thing,” he said.

Brian picked up his pro­fi­ciency with yo­delling from watch­ing trav­el­ling show acts by the likes of Buddy Wil­liams.

While Brian has per­formed reg­u­larly on stage since 1968, Val has used the trav­el­ling op­por­tu­ni­ties to find in­spi­ra­tion for her art.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously worked in acrylics, she re­cently de­cided to try graphite, and en­tered a por­trait of her hus­band based on a photo taken for his first al­bum.

De­spite hav­ing min­i­mal ex­pe­ri­ence with graphite, this sketch she’d been idly work­ing on took top prize for por­traits.

“I told Brian it’s not go­ing to get any­where be­cause there’s more ex­pe­ri­enced ones than me en­ter­ing,” Val said.

Her first ever graphite en­try man­aged to take sec­ond place in last year’s show, and her acrylics work has done well in shows at Biloela and Monto.

The Monto Yodeller draw­ing was done dur­ing a med­i­cal visit to Her­vey Bay.

The two travel all across Aus­tralia in a mo­torhome, pro­vid­ing plenty of in­spi­ra­tion.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to paint but we’ve been so busy with mu­sic and kids that it’s only in the last years I’ve been able to start do­ing it,” Val said.

PHOTO: JACK LAWRIE

PUR­SU­ING DREAMS: Val and Brian Jen­dra have been able to fol­low their pas­sions for art and mu­sic since re­tire­ment.

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