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

Finding time to pursue life's passions

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 70's, 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.


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