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Band members find their Second Wind

Jonathan Sauder first played with the band Second Wind when he was about eight years old.

His parents, Wendy and Brian, were friends with the band members and had been bringing him to their shows since he was five, smuggling him into bars over the supper hour. Jonathan had a natural talent on drums and one night, while playing in St. Clements, they brought him up on stage for a song.

Second Wind became a band that spans generations when Jonathan Sauder, third from left, joined Daniel Kramer, Darrel Martin and Howie Brubacher.
Second Wind became a band that spans generations when Jonathan Sauder, third from left, joined Daniel Kramer, Darrel Martin and Howie Brubacher.

When he was done, Jonathan climbed in his mother’s lap and said “Mommy, I’m shivering but I’m not cold.”

“That’s called a buzz, honey,” she said.

They’re called Second Wind, but the band has gone through three or four metamorphoses – this time with Sauder behind the kit as the regular drummer.

The founding members of Second Wind – Darrel Martin, Howie Brubacher, Daniel Kramer and Grant Snyder – are childhood friends who grew up in St. Jacobs and went to the Mennonite church, where they learned to sing harmonies.

In 1971, they formed a band called Pharaoh, rehearsing in somebody’s basement. They cut their performing teeth at the Grand Union Hotel in Kitchener, a dive bar that prepared them well for playing and touring across Ontario for the next two years.

One by one, the band members fell away. But four or five years later they reunited and started playing again, mostly on weekends as they had young families by that point. A friend suggested that they rechristen the band “Second Wind.”

Over the past decade, they played a few times a year, at weddings and parties. They picked up a fifth member along the way: Willem Moolenbeek, who plays harmonica and saxophone. In 2007, they finally got around to recording an album with the help of 40 or 50 friends who pitched in to cover the recording costs.

Not long after the CD was released, Snyder was diagnosed with cancer. He died last November, and the band didn’t play for a few months.

“Grant was, in some ways, the heart and soul of the band,” Kramer said.

Before Snyder died, the band members visited him in the hospital and he encouraged them to keep playing. Inviting Jonathan to take over the drums felt like the natural choice. Jonathan had learned to play on Snyder’s first drum kit, and Grant had asked that his drums go to Jonathan when he died.

“We wouldn’t have tried to find another drummer. This just felt natural,” Brubacher said.

Despite the generation gap between them, Sauder has slipped easily into playing Second Wind’s mix of classic rock, blues and country rock. They stir a few original songs into the set list, and they’re adding some new pieces to their repertoire – joking a song has to be at least 30 years old to qualify.

The Sauders’ basement is now the rehearsal studio as the band prepares for the Wellesley Lions Club’s annual fundraiser June 19. The chicken barbecue and dance at the community centre will raise funds for a new kindergarten playground at Wellesley Public School.

Harmony – and not just the vocal kind – is important to any band, Brubacher said. If it’s just five musicians playing together as individuals, the magic is missing. Friendship and the love of music has kept Second Wind going.

“Not many bands last this long,” Martin said. “We just like what happens when we get together, and we keep doing it.”

Tickets for the dinner are $12 or $6 for children. Dance tickets are $10, or you can get a ticket for both dinner and dance for $20. For tickets, call Jamie Reid at 519-656-3147.

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