Ron Pajala

The Arthur W. Delamont Foundation will be visiting the Cavell Gardens at 2835 Sophia Street near 12th Avenue in Mount Pleasant. on December 27 at 1pm to give a Lifetime Achievement Award to Ron Pajala.

Ron was raised in Britannia Beach where his father worked on the railway. This developed within Ron a lifelong love for trains.

As a member of the Kitsilano Boys Band, he travelled to England with the band in 1953 where they performed 175 stage, theatre and concert performances over a 3 1/2 month period. They had already played their way across Canada by train stopping at whistle sts along the way making the trip 4 1/2 months in all. It is said that this was the second-best band Delamont put together regarding musicianship and the one that played the most vaudeville houses as part of the Moss Empire family. Ron was its star alto saxophone player and guest accordion artist.

Back in Vancouver Ron went to UBC Music and formed his own German-style oom pah-pah band. When Fred Turner the Superintendent of Music for Vancouver, started head-hunting qualified musicians to develop bands in Vancouver’s high schools about 1962, Ron was hired to develop a band program at John Oliver Secondary.

Ron remained at Jayo for twenty years then, when Mr. Beasley the VP moved to Tupper in 1980 he took Ron with him. Ron stayed another 12 years at Tupper making him truly one of Vancouver music’s unsung heroes.

Unfortunately in Canada, there is a lack of formal recognition for the unsung heroes in the fine arts. After a lifetime of serving the youth of Vancouver through music, they retire and are forgotten. Community awards and Orders IMO have become too political as Canada has become an even more multicultural country since the 1970s. There is a void and a vacuum regarding recognition that the foundation hopes to fill one award at a time.

Everyone is invited to come to the Cavell Gardens this Monday to honour Ron who is now in his 85th year. All will be asked to sign a card with their name and the year they graduated and tell Ron what being in his band meant to them fifty years later.

If anyone knows an unsung hero in the fine arts that you feel should be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award let us know.

Chris Best

Founder and CEO

The Arthur W. Delamont Foundation

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