About Mr I


At age 4

At age 4

Here is some of my personal background: I was born in Essen, Germany on August 30th, 1954. My Father was offered a job in Canada shortly after I was born. He came to Port Moody and worked for about half a year and decided to stay in Canada. My Mother and I came to Canada when I was about two years old.

Currently I live in Maple Ridge, B.C. Canada. My two daughters, Alisha and Sarah live close by and we see each other a lot. My older daughter, Sarah has a baby boy named Bryce, born just in February, 2008. We have two dogs, Bo (the big hairy black one) and Pepsi ( the small, feisty chihuahua) . Every night we take the dogs for a walk.



At age 44

At age 44

MUSIC TEACHER– Teaches the MUSICAL RAINBOW program for children aged three to nine. Plus, teaches music at two Montessori preschools. Currently sees close to 300 children each week.

SONGWRITER – Has 18 CDs of music available for young children. Focus is on education as well as entertainment. Teams up with Gary Huntbatch and writes songs for children’s theatre group, THEATRIX. Also worked on Googol Project with Susan Jarema writing songs about Math.

CHILDREN’S PERFORMER – Performs many concerts throughout the year with the Rainbow Singers. The Rainbow Singers are select students who are taking the Musical Rainbow program.

Vancouver Community College Music School – 3 years study, received diploma with a major in Flute.
Selkirk College Music Department – 1 year music study.
University of British Columbia- 2 years study in Music and Fine Arts.
Simon Fraser University – 1 year general studies. University of Calgay – Summer programs on Kodaly pedagogy.
University of Washington in Seattle – Summer programs on Kodaly pedagogy.



1979 - Mr.I as a young man

1979 – Mr.I as a young man:


“Back when I was 20 years old I travelled around B.C. living in a yellow and blue Volkswagon Van. I spent a lot of time on my own, swimming in small lakes, camping out in the woods. I travelled all over B.C. enjoying the incredible scenery and the vast amount of stars in the night sky. My favourite place to visit was Nelson and the Kootenay area.

It was 1974. I was too young to be a ‘hippie’; the whole thing had passed me by. I had watched it from the sidelines. Yet, I felt an affinity with the music, the idea of brotherly love, social equality for all, and the vision of world peace. I could have lived my ‘gypsy’ life forever, but I decided I would go back to the city and do my little part to ‘help the world’.

In the following ten years I went to several music schools and universities, studying as much as I could. I lived in Kitsilano in Vancouver and became involved in the folk music scene. I was writing lots of music and doing lots of performing. During this time I met a man who would change my life: John Alfred Young. He taught Kodaly-based ear-training at the Vancouver Community College Music Department. Plus, he had a special Thursday night pedagogy class for students interested in teaching through the Kodaly ideas. I attended that class for three years.

With daughers Sarah & Alisha

With daughers Sarah & Alisha

John Young was that one special teacher that touched something in me. I worked extremely hard for him; completing all assignments, practising each day. In appearance we were quite a contrast. Me with my long tresses, bushy beard and dressed in colourful second hand clothes. He with his constant dark tweed business suit and he had his crewcut shaved down to nothing each month. Yet, we communicated. I saw the value in what he was teaching.

At the time when I was at UBC, this was 1983, my girlfriend died. She and I would ride our bikes to UBC together and were quite close. AS you can imagine her death really affected me. I moved out of Vancouver and back to Coquitlam where I had grown up. I had started teaching at Place des Arts the year before and have been there ever since. Over the years I became involved with the other music academies and the Montessori schools. Along with teaching I have recorded 18 CDs of music for children and families. With the Rainbow Singers we have also done hundreds of performances over the years.


My mandate is still world peace. To show through my teaching and through my music how we are all connected. Each thing that we do, say and even think affects not only all life on this planet, but has an effect on the entire universe. We are all connected, and we are all important, bright shining stars. I think of the earth as one country, all people part of the same family.


I had the best childhood ever, lots of fun, wonderful parents. After coming from Germany we lived in Port Moody for a couple of years and then on Prairie Road in Poco till I was twelve. We then moved up the hill to Coquitlam where I graduated from Centennial High School in 1972.

So, there it is, a bit about Mr. I.

Wishing you all a wonderful day. And remember: “Peace begins in your own heart.”

Yurgen Ilaender, Mr. I