British Columbia Sheet Music

 

Follow the birds ;
Will you be there?

Ken Garland

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Ken Garland was born in New Westminster, BC into a musical family including 24 aunts and uncles, each of whom either performed or played a musical instrument.

At age 6, Ken learned to play the piano and self-taught accordian at age 10. In 1958, he joined the Royal Canadian Navy School in Esquimalt where he studied flute and piccolo. He began to compose and arrange prior to completing his Military Assistant Director of Music course in 1967. Ken continued to write throughout his Canadian Forces and civilian music career.

Follow the birds was conceived soon after Ken's return from San Francisco in 1965 where he performed as a member of the Navy Band. Tony Bennett's hit about San Francisco inspired Ken to write a similar tribute to Victoria. The musical notation was simply the attempt to write a haunting and beautiful love melody.

High C Publications published and recorded Follow the birds. The name was used as a popular slogan by BC Ferries who gave permission to use it as a song title. It was first recorded in 1967 featuring Victoria vocalist John Dunbar and trumpeter Bobby Herriott at CBC's Hotel Vancouver studio with the Dave Robbins Orchestra. It was popular for several months and sooned dropped into obscurity.

In 1979, when returning from a bus tour from California, Ken decided to write a flip side for the Follow the birds. He remembered a song his father had written which Ken had helped with the 'bridge' and chording. With the help of his friend Steve Powell, owner of BC Travel, Will you be there? was scribbled as 'our trip through the Gardens' (Butchart Gardens).

Will you be there? was meant to go hand-in-hand with the composer's Follow the birds. As both musician and a tour bus driver, Ken had extensive dealings with the Butchart Gardens. The first public performance of this song was with the Howard Denike Orchestra with vocalist Harry Elsdon. Ken was also a member of the Burchart Buskers and the Dixieland 5 at the gardens.

The plaintiff melody alluded to the femininity and floral design of Jenny Butchart, the original quaint entranceway, winding pathways with floral borders, hanging baskets, forest, sunken garden and other features of the Gardens.

Both songs were recorded with Griffiths-Gibson in 1980. Vancouver vocalist Mary Saxton sang the vocal for Will you be there? and Michael Logie sang the vocal for Follow the birds. Permission was received from the Ross family to use a photo of the sunken garden on the record jacket. There was little interest in considering the song the official song of the Butchart Gardens. Anticipated response to both songs was not met. Sales and radio play were minimal and within the year, the songs were in obscurity.

 

Details of the piece:

Composer

Garland, Ken.

Arranger

Gayfor, James M. (1st piece)
Bogisch, B. G. (2nd piece)

Performer

Sung by Saxton, Mary (1st piece)
Logie, Michael (2nd piece) with the Studio Orchestra.

Title

Follow the birds ; Will you be there?

First line

Just follow the birds (to Vancouver Island) (1st piece)
Sunbeams danced on rippling waters (2nd piece)

Published

Victoria, B.C. : K. Garland, 1980.

Pagination

8 p.

Dedicatee

Will you be there? a dedication to the Ross family, the Butchart Gardens.

Library of Congress
Subject Headings

Butchart Gardens (Victoria, B.C.)--Songs and music
Victoria (B.C.)--Songs and music
Vancouver Island (B.C.)--Songs and music
Songs (Medium voice) with piano
Songs (Low voice) with piano

Recordings available

Garland Music of Victoria, IRS 80-037

Collection scanned

Private collection