Making music together

Joe Anderson, one of four boys, was born in 1940 and grew up on a farm in Morris, Man.

After high school, he worked in northern Manitoba for Canadian Nickel, then returned to Winnipeg where he trained and worked as a television repairman.

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He happened to meet Janice Taylor at a YMCA dance. They were good friends and had been dating for several years when Janice moved to Vancouver to work for BCTel.

Janice said, "I actually thought Joe might come to Vancouver one day but that did not happen and I have to admit that I was disappointed because he was such a nice guy."

Joe next worked for CN Telecommunications and traveled quite a bit for his work and ended up in Vernon. He eventually moved to Prince George in 1982 working as a photocopier technician. He was working for Docu-Shred Mobile Paper Shredding when a heart condition forced him into retirement at the age of 70.

Janice was born in Rivers, Manitoba in 1944. She said, "My mother was a stay-at-home mom until I was a teenager. Then she landed a job as a housekeeper and I was in charge of the cooking three days a week, which taught me many good lessons."

Her father worked in the railway yard building and repairing rail cars. When the Rivers yard site shut down, he moved his family to Winnipeg for work at the Canadian National Railway Yard at North Transcona.

Interesting to note that the Transcona yard construction project was completed in 1912 at a cost of $4 million with a capacity for over 12,000 cars complete with its 106-foot turntable capable of handling 100-foot locomotives. At the time, Transcona was the largest railway yard in North America.

"When I was six, my mother made sure I had piano lessons and when I excelled at that (or so my mom thought I did) she bought an old piano that would not hold a tune. I played it just the same until my dear brother Ted bought an upright piano for the house. That was actually the start of my musical career. Many years went by and when I saved enough to buy my own piano my brother did all the negotiating and I got a good deal on it.

"My brothers were always so good to me and I loved them all. My brother Harvey (I was born on his seventh birthday) died of cancer at the age of 55, Les (Darlene) live in Prince George, Ted (Betty) live in Ceres, California and Bob (Corrine) live in Kamloops.

"I loved singing at an early age; I used to wake up and start singing before I got out of bed. My mother always encouraged me to sing and it wasn't long and she sent me to singing lessons and of course, I was delighted about that."

Janice worked for BCTel in Vancouver for five years and then worked on the switchboard at Sears. She married in 1967 and separated 17 years later. She has two children; James and Jennifer who in turn gave her four wonderful grandchildren.

Janice received word from her brother Ted that Joe was now living and working in Prince George and that he was still single.

Janice said, "We rekindled our friendship and we started corresponding and traveling back and forth to be with one another. I could easily see that Joe was a man worth waiting for (and so did my brother). I moved to Prince George and we married in February 1994, honeymooned at Esther's Inn, bought a house on Maple Street and we have been happy there ever since.

"My mom played the old-time fiddle and through her playing she met and became good friends with Dave and Bess Bowman. She became a member of the Old Time Fiddlers right up to the time that she went to live at the Parkside senior's residence at the age of 90.

"Music has always been a big part of my life. When I moved to Prince George, I became a self-employed voice and piano teacher. I cleaned houses on the side and had many good clients. I was able to retire at the age of 65."

Volunteer work for Janice at the Elder Citizens Recreation Centre started 28 years ago when she became the music director of the Rainbow Singers which is now the Forever Young Chorus.

Time went by and the North of 65 group and the Sunshine Sisters evolved as splinter groups of the Forever Young Chorus. The Sunshine Sisters sang together for ten years. The group consisted of Janice, Terri Meyer, Wendy Wlasitz, Vi Arnett, Andrea McKenzie, Terry Pollard, Melody Harris and Elaine (Clark) Armstrong with accompaniment on piano, guitar, the Celtic drum, mandolins and the keyboard.

Janice said, "We entertained all over the city and as often as possible. It was a great group and we had so much fun together. Sadly, some have passed away and the remaining group slowly retired."

She is an active part of the nearly 30-member ukulele group and the director of the North of 65 singing group at ECRA.

Janice is a member of the nearly 15 Knotty Knitters at the Kordyban Lodge. She loves knitting and making things with her hands plus the ladies are a fun group to be with. The Knotty Knitters do many kinds of hand-crafted articles and then sell their finished items at the Lodge, craft sales and through their outlet at the Railroad Museum with all proceeds going back to the Kordyban Lodge to be used as needed to make the lives of their guests more comfortable.

The Knotty Knitters meet once a month at the Lodge and the rest of the month they do their work at home.

Janice said, "Joe has always been a handyman. He can work on any vehicle as long as there is no computer system on it. When I first met Joe, his mother always told me that if she needed anything done, he was always cheerfully there to give her a hand complete with a big smile for her. I thought that this was a really good recommendation for a husband."

Joe said, "I volunteer as the sound technician at ECRA. My experience as a television technician was a big help. I first assisted Art Reynolds and when Art moved away the job has been mine ever since. I am nearly 80 so I hope to retire from this volunteer position soon. Well, just as soon as I can train another and hopefully a bit younger person to take over. The choir members always show me their support and gratitude and that makes it a great job."

Janice loves her flower garden and does decorative rock painting while Joe keeps busy with his woodworking projects. She will describe an idea she has for a project and Joe can usually produce it. She said, "He is usually very quiet while he is thinking about my idea and how to make it all happen. He is quite the inventor and handyman; there are not many things that he can not do."

In her retirement, Janice has been able to spend quality time with her grandchildren who are a big part of her life. Her daughter Jennifer and three of her grandchildren live in Prince George and she enjoys spending time with them on special weekly gramma days.

In conclusion, Janice said, "I would like to thank all the choir members - both past and present - for enriching our lives. Both Joe and I appreciate them all."

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