It was brought to my attention that our old school project with
Fenger has made a remarkable revival. It was fun to be a part
of that. It
was my start in playing the guitar and singing. By the looks
of the picture
on the front cover, I was more focused on playing that "D"
In my college
years many of my peers urged me to pursue recording the songs
I had written, but fame and fortune have little attraction for
me. I do,
however, attribute those days at Glenwood to be the foundation
for the music
ministry I now have with the church. People request that I provide
a CD of the songs I have written lately, but money for recording
swallowed up by mortgage and car payments and . . . you get the
Give Hans my
best regards and a belated thanks for all that he did to make
our education an enjoyable experience. And thanks to you guys
something more with the album than I would have ever imagined.
I am sitting
here trying to make sense of this. I was part of the small
group of people from South Carvolth Elementary that was in the
attended the recent reunion at Glenwood Elementary and was brought
many times that day. It was very nostaglic, and listening to
together again was amazing.
I still have
the original album (in the plastic wrap!) in my closet. My two
children go to South Carvolth; the eldest is in Grade 5 and he
that his Mom is actually on a record album. The school wants
to do a story
about me and the recordings in their newsletter. I feel like
You were an
amazing teacher and friend to us, Hans, and I remember vividly
the many afternoons in the gym and performing for our families.
It was one
of the most memorable moments in my life, thanks to you and your
Brenda Beck (Brown)
I was really
surprised when I did a random web search on "Wix-Brown"
found the Langley Schools Music site. Way to go Wix-Brown! I
believe the big deal over an album made by Langley students 25
I must have slept through the local news coverage of the story
here in Victoria.
back warm-hearted memories.. Even though I was pretty much a
pain for you, it was great to have a teacher that involved the
music in a big way. I remember the recording session and how
shy some of
the soloists were, and that some did their recordings separately
rest. But getting us to participate was your goal, and you made
a mark in my
memory for all my time. I admired you and your method of teaching,
thought you were cool in your approach to music. I also want
to thank you
now for keeping me involved in the album, even though I was usually
a sentence in the library printing off music sheets for songs
going to be sung.
You were the
guitar-slinging, sandal-wearing, scarf-toting music teacher
that made the impossible possible. By the way -- where is that
multi-coloured scarf these days?
I used to joke
with my friends that while they struggled at getting
recorded, I'd already cut an album. I'm glad that so many people
enjoying what was simply a music project by school kids having
Mr. Fenger!!! The Long and Winding Road takes on new meaning
as we experience how one person's choices and actions can affect
peoples' lives, a ripple effect that chooses it's unique pace
and time. I
think you made the records for all the right reasons and now
are seeing the
voice has never recovered from trying to be the loudest singer
the bunch; it has a fondness for cracking, yet it is still the
most often use for making music. Music has continued to be one
favourite things, even though I have never passed the beginner
learning any instruments and, because of this, still get put
percussion section. My children have the benefit of watching
and older brother play guitar quite well. I will take the credit
sparking their fondness for the Beatles, which you passed to
me. I am a
dancer at heart and am currently working my way up the ranks
dance, the celtic theme being prominent as you can tell by my
years I've carried with me the memories of you and all the
classmates; the good you did has never disappeared from my heart.
this is one way a person eternalizes themselves. I've always
been proud of
being a part of that recording because it was a unique, fun experience
all shared together. Thank You
(Mundeling) ( Wix-Brown )
attended the reunion at Glenwood Elementary, I must say that
it was pleasure to see you after a quarter of a century! It was
also nice to
find that you still have that 'Kid at Heart' personality that
made you such
an inspiring teacher. The way you explained to us students exactly
was that we were singing about helped to bring out the emotion
heard in the
recordings. You turned the songs from just words into deeper
concepts. For a boy of 12, it became a fascination that continues
One of my fondest
memories of your class was the concert at Uplands
Elementary School. By the end of the performance, both teachers
students were dancing at the back of the gym. You later commented
liner notes, it is hard to imagine that while you were teaching
us, you were going through such turmoil in your private life.
You always put
forth a fun and positive persona during classes.
giving so many of us fond memories of younger days, and having
positive influence in the lives of those you have taught over
It was good
seeing you at the recent VH-1 reunion. Congratulations, and
thanks for being brave enough to do what at the time, I'm sure,
considered a slightly more than crazy project. I'm a teacher
now, so I can
imagine some of what you may have gone through to get this done!
I was in Pat
Bickerton's class. My brother, Mark, sang on the Glenwood
recording (I was off in high school by that time). As you'll
school, Lochiel Elementary, burned down and we invaded Uplands,
where we met
you. I don't remember Mr. Bickerton doing any music with us prior
although he used to bring his son's Beatles albums into school
and let us
listen in class. We knew he liked music, and when you came along,
no time in hooking us up with you. Of course, none of us realized
sick he was at the time (he died a matter of months after my
'graduation'), but I know now that the arrangement was certainly
all around. To be honest, I have less than fond memories of singing
Rhonda," but I'm still not a huge fan of the Beach Boys,
much to my
husband's chagrin! However, I do have great memories of other
aspects of it
-- listening to Roberta harmonize with you was a first for me
-- and doing
it so well! We were all amazed.
I just wanted
to express my appreciation for what you were able to pull
together in spite of the (what I'm sure were many) nay-sayers
at the time.
It's been a great thing for all the students, for education during
difficult times (and music education in particular!), and for
hope it will continue to be a good thing for you. You seemed
to be taking it
all in stride when I saw you, but in retrospect, I guess that's
always went about things.
I was one of
those voices on the album made at Wix-Brown Elementary (Grade
7). I found out about the album being re-released when I was
(my two boys attend) and one of the other moms asked me if I
album and was I singing on it. When I told her yes, she told
me about how
it was a big hit in the States. Wow!!
I have been
following every story in every newspaper and magazine across
country for over three months. It is still so hard to believe
actually happening. My husband was so excited for me, that he
original album and cover and had them matted and framed with
"Innocence and Despair, WHO WOULD HAVE KNOWN?" and
gave it to me for
I still remember
the very first song you sang to our class when you started
at Wix... something about "not wanting a pickle... just
want to ride on my
motor-sickle." It's funny what things stick in your head!
Glad to hear
you're still teaching music. Let me know if there's to be a reunion????
(Hopefully not a singing one, ha!)
a soloist like Sheila or Tina, in fact my kids tease me that
can't even sing "Happy Birthday." However, we all sang
our hearts out. I
remember how horrified my mom was at the appearance of Mr. Fenger
was part of his mystique for us kids. I remember that he genuinely
kids and he would throw his whole body into his singing.
On my first
day at my new school, Wix-Brown, in grade five, I remember
Carmen telling me that the music teacher taught songs like the
14CFUN, and that he was really cool. On very rare occasions,
would let us have a drama class instead of a music class. I couldn't
but I thought I could act, so I really loved that.
I never went
on in music (obviously), nor did I act past high school. In
fact I am 'just' the wife of a chiropractor with 3 kids and a
dog. But if
you ask me what I remember about elementary school, I would say
Fenger." And you can tell Rob MacRae that I remember when
he had to do that
solo -- I felt so sorry for him! I think that's why I always
sang my heart
out. I certainly didn't want to do that.
ago, I drove down 240th Street and memory lane. Along the way
stopped at Wix-Brown for the first time since probably 1979 when
graduated. A few days later, I picked up some memorabilia from
home to bring back with me to Los Angeles. Among them was a photo
first grade at Wix-Brown: Division 6. I decided then that when
I got back
home, I would start to try to look up some people from Wix-Brown.
surprise today when I found out about the "Langley Schools
It brought tears to my eyes to hear, through the online tributes,
that I had not heard in years.
I think I drove
my family a little crazy today as I looked through the album
song list and realized that I still knew most of the words to
most of the
songs. Unfortunately, I cannot say that my singing has improved.
the spring concerts vividly. In particular, I remember that Mr.
Fenger entrusted me with reading out a dialog during a dramatic
the concert. I remember Mr. Fenger's unorthodox teaching style
and the heart
with which he taught. Even my wife knew of Mr. Fenger from reminiscences
prior to today.
album's been quite a sleeper. What memories!
Principal Software Engineer, Rhythm & Hues Studios
Holy smokes! What is happening here?
100 or so years
ago we made an album in an echo chamber of a gym to sell to
parents, grandparents and other relatives -- and now we are in
the top 10 on
Billboard across the USA. (Ok, maybe a bit of exaggeration there.)
It is quite
amazing being a rock star. I cannot believe the excitement
around this. I haven't looked at the record in over 20 years.
memory is faint, but I will never forget the mega-concerts we
put on and
the day we made the record. Great memories not many people would
I went to Wix
Brown. I remember you first starting and me thinking, "what
the heck is this?" From there it went. Great Big Stuff.
Lucky us. You even
assisted in me getting my first guitar. The regular ones wouldn't
because I had to play left. I still have that guitar. A keepsake
I'm sure we will see you soon,
I had a
lump in my throat when I started reading the responses from former
classmates from Wix-Brown. It is inspiring to see what has become
long-lost school project. I was overwhelmed at how much influence
you had on
many students, myself included. The lyrics "I don't want
no pickle, I just
want to ride on my motor-cickle .... and I don't want to die,
I just want to
ride on my motorcy....cle," still run through my head. It
was a song you
taught us when I was in the 3rd grade. I went on to race motorcycles
teens, and at the beginning of each race, that song would go
head. I'm sure it helped put trophies on my shelf. I sing it
4-year-old daughter, and it makes her laugh.
At the time
of the recording, I tried to play guitar but my fingers were
small, so I was stood on a bench to sing under your watchful
eye. I was
known for sneaking in my own lyrics in class, frustrating you
no end. I
wasn't trying to be disrespectful -- I was just a little rambunctious
clown. I do have a love for music. I sing to myself and occasionally
a guitar. I also have written a few songs, but have never put
with music ...... yet.
My sister Loree
was one of the dancers in gymnastic tights covered in
glitter and makeup that got on anything they touched. Memories
back as I listened to the recordings. Ahh, the echoes of the
lights, Joe's petri dish -- and of course, you conducting while
guitar with what seemed like magic fingers to an eight-year-old.
haunting, and sometimes wish I could step back in time to experience
I am an aspiring
artist. I have had many influences, and you are part of
that, along with Mrs. Cheshire, Denny Ross, and Ms. Smith, who
back to Wix-Brown to teach an art class while I was in still
high school. I
am now doing custom paint and airbrushing, 2D digital imagery,
animation. I am researching and writing a screenplay about our
neighbors. If my project gets produced it would be a total thrill
the Wix-Brown version of Space Oddity, Venus and Mars/Rock Show
Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft as part of the soundtrack.
Glad to see
everything and everybody come together like this. Quite
touching. Take care.
I was one of
your students at Wix-Brown Elementary. For years I told people
about the unique music program I had in elementary school. They
didn't understand until now.
What a music
program you provided! In Grade 5 we were singing "O Canada"
from a book. When you came in Grade 6, we were thrilled. It was
fun in your classes. Those songs stuck with me, and today they
are the only
songs that I can remember the words to. At university, my ballroom
teacher chose "Help Me Rhonda" as one of the songs
we would regularly jive
to. It brought back great memories of your music class. It is
how you listened to those songs over and over again as we practiced,
I played one
of the Orff xylophones, and participated in the gymnastics
presentation. There are two pictures of me on the left, lower
corner of the
inside back cover of the CD. I am in my gymnastics leotard and
next to that
playing the xylophone. My sister, Carrie, is also pictured at
the top right
I don't have the album any more. My parents moved this summer
and got rid of their old albums to a thrift store. After the
came out, they drove from Chilliwack to the thrift store in Abbotsford.
they (mine and my sister's) were gone. I had always meant to
keep the album.
I am so pleased to have the CD now.
I too am a
teacher and know how important it is to make an impact on your
students. You definitely did that 25 years ago. You gave us an
that I'll never forget. The fact that you didn't exclude people
they lacked ability says a lot about you as a teacher. I have
praised for my musical ability, and so it is with great fun that
I show off
the CD that I am a part of. Thank you for that.
I was a
student of Hans Fenger in Lochiel Elementary the year the album
recorded. I was not on the album but my sister Nona Blanchet
was. I was
disappointed as a ten-year-old when I was not chosen to sing
on the album. I
can still remember Mr. Fenger coming into class and telling us
who made the
cut. I always enjoyed his music classes and ended up becoming
I've played drums for about 23 years and I think Hans Fenger
had a lot to do
with my love for music. His different approach to teaching music
has had a life-long effect on me and I'm sure on many others
who were lucky
enough to have him as an instructor. He taught me my first percussion
instrument, a xylophone that I played when we sang "Yesterday"
Beatles. I would like to congratulate Hans Fenger on the re-release
Wix-Brown Elementary and was part of the recording project. When
my sister mentioned that the recording had garnered a lot of
press, I thought
she had it confused with something else, but I saw the news clip
on TV, and I
see she was right.
Frank Lodewykx, I was banging on the bongos, drums and maracas
in addition to singing on the project. I clearly remember the
equipment being set up in an "equipment checkout room"
on the side of the
I was happy
to see one of my closest friends at that time, Rod McCrae, had
dropped you a note, along with other old friends like Eva Meyer-Obel.
I took the
music I learned from that great experience, and after travelling
around Europe, returned and got into radio. I spent 10 years
on the air, and
became Music Director of Z95.3 FM in Vancouver, for which I won
Music Director of the year. I co-produced a couple of albums,
but now I can
say I performed on one. I then become Promotions/Marketing Rep
Polygram Records of Canada, and spent 4 years touring with bands,
handling press/publicity for the label. I'm currently a producer
Entertainment in Vancouver, making video games for Playstation2,
lost my love of music and still do freelance work on the side.
I vividly remember not only recording the album, but the far-out
dish/overhead projector special effects that we did for the live
I've also got
a pretty dorky shot of me on the album cover.
the experience Hans,
I took it to
is Chris Whobrey. l'm the one on the front cover of the Langley
album playing the guitar and right beside me in the middle of
cover is my sister Darla Whobrey. It's nice to see the interest
in a project
where we allowed our inspiration in music to fill the gym and
airwaves. Both my sister and l have gone on to make careers in
these recordings. Thanks for all you've done with this project.
I got a
copy of Innocence and Despair today from A&B in Surrey. It
selling rather fast! I was surprised at how popular the CD has
it was like being back there in the gym at Glenwood. I
remembered that old steel guitar, and I can honestly say I have
not seen one
of those since! I really wish that I had kept my copy of the
'76 album just
so that I could look at the cover again. I wonder if I can find
has it and can scan it and email it to me.
In your reminiscences
you said, "I bet they remember every lyric of every
song." That brought a smile to my face cause I do remember
every word. And
now the songs are back, stuck in my head. I remember how much
singing "Help me Rhonda." I remember how I thought
the la-la in "You're So
Good To Me" would never end. I found it so hard to sing
that part and sound
out each one over and over again. My favorite song was "God
Only Knows," and
listening to it now it is still my favorite.
One thing that
I did not realize until this all happened was how much my
attitude towards music and my musical tastes were shaped by your
Funny isn't it, how we do not realize how much of us is Nature
and how much
is Nurture? Thank you for imparting such a love of music in me.
is your name to some people but to some of us kids at that time
it was Mr. "Cool." Who else had a teacher with long
hair that walked around
with a guitar in his hands?
I was twelve
years old when you put a guitar in my hands and gave me a
chance. You gave us all a chance when we made the record. We
to hold onto and take home with us. Now 25 years later I still
something to hold onto and take home with me, only this time
it's a CD and
not a record.
25 years is
a long time. My parents still live in the house I grew up in
my brother nearby, but I moved away about fourteen years ago.
I now live
with my husband and young son in Israel. I continued to play
these years and was happy to hear about "Innocence and Despair."
back a lot of good memories and a few laughs trying to explain
record we made way back when. Who would of thought?
Janice Hock Arad
a call on my cell the other day from my sister telling me that
the record we made as a school project way back when was getting
and to check out the news hour that night. I watched and some
memories started to come back.
I still have my album tucked away somewhere. Your style of teaching
the usual. You had long hair and if I remember correctly wore
bare feet! Definitely not conventional for the times.
You taught music in a way that made it fun for the students.
We learned and
played music that was popular, not boring. I had my song sheets
after that. I remember one trip to Disney Land with four girls
ages 8 to 12.
My mother had to listen to us singing all way with the sheets
I brought along.
I'm glad to learn that you are still teaching music. You made
impression for music to me in elementary school [and] I'm sure
hundreds of kids you have taught over the years.
Wish you well.
former Glenwood Elementary guitar player!
about a blast from the past...!!! I am a former student of Hans
Fenger. I was a part of the album recorded at Wix-Brown School
in 1977. I
was not a featured soloist, but did have a solo (along with three
a cassette tape also recorded in Langley by Hans Fenger. I did
go on to make
singing my career and would love to share stories of the past.
I do have some
nice memories of my music experiences with Hans. It was he
who encouraged me to sing a solo, and when I was just too shy,
he made a
cassette tape of four of us -- Sheila Behman, Joy Jackson, Jody
and myself -- just to make my wish come true without having to
face my fears
in a gymnasium full of students! He also used to ask the music
"Who likes music?" Of course, they would all reply
"I do!" At that he would
turn to me and say, "There's another one for you, Miss Music!"
He had a very unique way of teaching and I only now appreciate
it as he was
indeed a "different" kind of teacher. Hans told me
the reason he came to
Wix-Brown in the first place, was largely due to Denny Ross,
who was the
principal and a unique individual himself. Mr. Ross let Hans
freedom to do what he wanted and his support was overwhelming.
have been a wonderful thing for Denny to see what has become
of this album.
Dear Mr. Fenger:
I was one of the students on the album now being re-released;
I was in grade
5 or 6 at Glenwood elementary and played the drums with my friend
Tompkins (or Tomkins). I heard through circuitous routes about
little album was suddenly out in the world and thought it would
interesting to get back into contact. I have long since lost
track of my
copy of the original LP, black and white jacket and all, but
haven't forgotten the experience.
I am currently a physician and working for Mayo Health Systems
Carl Victor Janzen
My name is Rod McCrae and my sister Kathy and I were involved
I was not very
involved; you and I never "clicked" so to speak. Remember
making me sing in front of Miss Smith's entire grade 6 class
wasn't singing loud enough? I am pretty sure all the grade 7
there too. I sang one line and then stormed out. I wasn't involved
project after that until recording day. You stuck me in the gym
so I didn't
miss out but I left after one or two songs.
No hard feelings
though, I think I've got a mug shot on the back of the
album cover. We (Mom, Kathy, and I) were looking at it last night
news report; I'll have to hook up a turntable I guess.
I really should
have been involved with the technical end. I became quite a
good sound engineer at Aldergrove Secondary School on a 16 channel
I am now 35
years old, married and have a very special 3 year old. We own
house in Aldergrove and are enjoying life.
school, I attended DeVry Institute of Technology and graduated
with Honors with an Electronics Engineering Technician Diploma.
I worked in
satellite telecommunications for 5 years then did an Electrical
Apprenticeship in the construction industry. For the last 6 years
been building custom Mega-Yachts for Crescent Custom Yachts and
Lead Hand, Electrical Engineering.
Where has life
taken you? Do you know how Sheila Behman is? I was at a
garage sale at her mom's about a month ago; we used to be neighbors.
Kehtler was in our neighborhood as well; he works with me in
Department. I know Joe Nichols went on to be a radio DJ. I also
hear from a
few others once in awhile. I would like to hear from you.
Hello Mr. Fenger,
I was one of
your students who was part of this great album. Couldn't
believe it when I saw the Vancouver Sun, and almost fell off
my chair. Sure
brought back a lot of memories of how much fun it was making
that album and
having you as a teacher. You probably don't remember me but you
remember I was the one with plaid on my jeans trying to look
like a Bay City
Roller. I still have the album and I still can't believe it.
Take care and congratulations!!!
contacted my brother (Chris Whobrey) and I last July to let us
know about the project. I was so excited to hear about the reception
school project was having in New York. It's wonderful that you
to re-release this album/CD and I would like to help in any way
I can to
make it a success.
Music was what
I looked forward to most in school. Mr. Fenger was one of two
teachers that have had a real positive impact on my life. It
was his belief
and constant support that inspired me to pursue my dreams as
singer. Since the age of fifteen I have been privileged to do
what I love
most of all - sing.
Feel free to
contact me anytime or visit my website.
Darla and Company - www.darlaandcompany.com
Bye for now.
On the CD front cover, Darla is the girl
pictured in the upper center clapping her hands]
Hey Mr. Fenger,
Eva Meyer-Obel here. This is sooo cool. All these years people
at me for my bad tambourine playing and inability to sing! This
them. Now I have a record release! I have always been very proud
to own a
copy of this record and to have been a part of its production.
It is and was
an honor and pleasure to have been one of your students. I am
know that you are doing well and still teaching. I'm sure that
all of your
students have walked away with a little something extra in their
from knowing you. I will never forget you.
Eva Meyer-Obel Gillam
I recently got an article e-mailed to me by a friend who knew
that I went to
Wix-Brown and was part of the recording of the album. I was surprised
delighted to find out that people other than our parents were
the album. I have grown up appreciating the music Hans Fenger
brought to my
early childhood life. As people would come into my life they
that I knew those songs and were even more surprised to find
out that my
elementary choir teacher taught them to us.
Thank you for
the memories that came back after so many years of
a great teacher.
I don't know whether or not I'm actually ON this album or not,
but I was
there, belting out melodies (forget the harmonies) with all my
still have fond memories of singing the songs I loved (and still
and of Mr. Fenger leading us along with his guitar.
This is so cool and I can't wait to hear it again!
I'm now a working actor whose biggest credit to date is playing
in the Fox Kids TV series The New Addams Family. I still sing
a bit, too. I
recorded a track on an album called The Lost Railroad Journal
by Daniel Ross
and the Jones Collective - http://www.thelastspike.com
is a teacher at Simon Cunningham Elementary School in
Surrey, a district near Langley. His late father, Pat Bickerton,
Head Teacher in the Langley District, encouraged Hans Fenger's
imbue music enthusiasm in his students. Pat passed away of cancer
and the first album of recordings by Fenger was dedicated to
on the success of the Langley Schools Music Project. From
hearing an album you liked to getting it produced is a tremendous
accomplishment. I appreciate your keeping the LP dedication to
my father in
the CD liner notes. My 85-year-old mother was very pleased when
about it in the November 23 National Post newspaper.
I can still
remember how much my father, in his late 50s, loved what Hans
was able to do with his students, and how much he encouraged
though Hans' approach was perhaps not embraced with open arms
Dad himself had a great voice and used to sing with the big bands
Vancouver in the 1930s.
is a very talented individual, and also an unaffected and nice
person. Hearing about him interviewed , and seeing the comments
in the reviews, I'm sure it all is very exciting for him.