Mission West RV Park, known as the Star of South Texas in Palmview, invites jammers and listeners each Monday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to perform country and bluegrass music to an audience already relaxed and satisfied due to their meal of grilled hamburgers starting at 4:30 p.m. The host for the jam is the talented Ted Weishar from Ontario Canada who also performs on stage with his dobro and guitar. The co-host is the sound engineer, Robert Jacques.
The five musicians on stage, which varies weekly, supports each jammer with his/her selection. On January 16th, the stage band members were Ted Weishar, Pete Gibson (dobro/vocals), Sandra Arvold (fiddle/vocals), Leon Hampton (mandolin/guitar/vocals), and Gary Andis (upright bass/vocals). January 23rd the band consisted of Ted, Leon, and Gary plus the addition of Mike (guitar/vocals) and his wife Tesa (fiddle/vocals) Heldenbrand.
The January 23rd jammers were Sandra Arvold (fiddle/vocals), Fuz Buhrmester (fiddle/vocal), Mable Buhrmester (vocals), Keith Churchill (keyboard/vocals), Al Gross (guitar/vocals), Tim Johnson from Minnesota (guitar/vocals), Shelli Johnson from Minnesota (guitar/vocals), John Norland of Minnesota (guitar/vocals), Tony Ozark (guitar/vocals), Dave Revis ( Appalachian dulcimer), Larry Robertson from Missouri (harmonica/vocals), and Carole Robinson from Minnesota (guitar/vocals).
This time I am highlighting seven of those musicians.
The first is Ted Weishar who learns “by ear” and taught himself to play the dobro and guitar. His father encouraged him to pursue music when Ted was a teenager. He began performing after age 30 in nursing homes and has performed with Blind Line and Happy Valley Gang.
Pete Gibson, from Minnesota, plays bass, mandolin, and ukulele besides guitar. After playing drums in high school, he began learning and performing string instruments when he was 60. He has performed with the Rarely Scene band plus playing for residents of nursing homes. He has also taught others to play the ukulele.
Sandra Arvold, from Wisconsin, took fiddle lessons for six years starting at age 12 thanks to her father. Due to her love for gospel music, she began performing in churches at age 15. She has performed on radio stations. Also, she has taught music to her grandchildren.
Gary Andis, from Indiana, played bass in his high school band. He began performing at age 35 in church and had his own Southern Gospel Quartet band for 25 years while finding time to record four CD’s.
Leon Hampton, from Missouri, plays guitar, mandolin, bass, and trumpet plus vocals. His entire family, who play musical instruments, motivated him to start music at age eight. He began performing at age nine in school bands. He has made CD’s and has performed on radio/TV. Leon has performed with Friends Pickin’ Bluegrass band, (First Bluegrass band to perform at Missouri Governor’s Inauguration), Rusty Rierson, The Punches, Harper Family, Baker Family, and at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. While serving for 18 months in Vietnam, he played guitar for the soldiers including in the Officers Club.
Mike Heldenbrand, from Iowa, was inspired at age 12 towards a musical adventure thanks to his love of the 60’s rock and roll music. He started performing at age 16 in a school rock band and a high school concert and jazz band. Mike and his wife Tesa have performed with Sound Alliance band, Beng Family, Roger Kenaston Family band from Nebraska, High Country band from Missouri, Justin Trevino with Heart of Texas Records, Wahoo Country Music Festival, LeMars Music Festival, and Macon County, MO Country and Bluegrass Festival.
Mike and his wife Tesa also perform at senior meal sites and nursing homes in Iowa. He and Tesa have been performing together for 40 years including on WDVX radio in Knoxville, TN and a Christian gospel station in Des Moines, Iowa.
Tesa Heldenbrand, started violin lessons at age nine with performances at age 12. Her family motivated her to start her musical journey as her father was a great vocalist who was constantly singing, especially on family outings. Tesa performed in her high school orchestra and has taught fiddle to children and adults.
This is an invitation for you, the readers of the Winter Texan Times, to visit Mission West and experience for yourself the great country and bluegrass music performed by these fantastic musicians.