Born in Quispamsis, NB on June 2, 1950, Van was the son of the late Fred and Joan (Stanley)Burdon. In his younger years, Van fell in love with music. He started on piano, tried violin for a very short time and then discovered his true passion - the cello. This instrument would play an integral part in Van's life and direct each path he journeyed down.
Van moved to Montreal as a young adult to study cello for seven years at the Conservatoire de Musique. In 1976, he became one of the first recipients of a prestigious O'Brien Foundation award. This allowed him to continue his schooling at the Guildhall School of Music in London, England, and helped to fulfill a dream of taking cello lessons from his idol Jacqueline Dupre.
In 1979 Van had the opportunity, thanks to the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation, to travel to Bermuda to be part of an International quartet and to teach in schools.
Van returned to London the following year and met Bill Simons, who was to become Van's partner, soulmate and an adopted brother, cousin and uncle to the Burdon clan. In 1980, Van and Bill moved to South Africa, where they played for the symphony in Pretoria. Four years later they returned to London where Van worked for many West End theatre productions in a variety of capacities.
For several years, while in London, Van and Bill lived on the Thames in a yacht with a cello, keyboard, trombone and cat.
Van finally returned home in 2011 bringing Bill alongside. They settled in Clifton Royal and quickly reconnected with family and friends.
Van and Bill had no intention to retire. With their outgoing and engaging personalities, new and lasting relationships quickly formed (special mention to the "family" of Reed's Point pub).
Van played many gigs around the province with many talented musicians, sometimes just with Bill on the keyboard or trombone, and other times with his brother Ian on the violin. They were truly fortunate people who had the chance to listen in.
We will all miss this gentle soul with the grand heart of gold. Bless you on your next adventure Van and may we all meet again.
Van is survived by his loving soulmate Bill Simons, his brothers; Don (Pat) of New Maryland, Wayne (Brenda) of Quispamsis, Jon (Heather) of Saint John, Ian (Lois) of New Maryland, sisters; Pam (Jim) Nyers and Shani (Tony) O'Leary, 13 nieces and nephews, several great nieces and nephews and many cousins.
A celebration of Van's life will take place at Kennebecasis Community funeral Home, 152 Pettingill Road, Quispamsis (506-849-2119) on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 2 pm with visitation prior to the service from 12 - 2 pm.
For those who wish, remembrances may be made to the O'Brien Foundation fellowship. The O'Brien Foundation is a Humanitarian trust operated exclusively for educational purposes.
Saturday, April 1, 2017