Gospel or ‘good news’ music is sung throughout the RGV including the two jams that I attended at Lamplighter Park in Palmview on February 26th and at Valley View Estates in Mission on March 12th. Other gospel jams take place at Bluebonnet RV Park in Mission, Leisure World in Weslaco, and Paradise Park RV Resort in Harlingen.
Gospel music is a traditional genre of Christian music with its definition varying according to culture and social context. It’s a style of ‘church’ music which emerged from hymns with songs easier to grasp and more singable than traditional church hymns.
Gospel music can be traced to the early 1600’s with the first published use of the term ‘gospel song’ appearing in 1874. Black and Southern gospel music are largely responsible for gospel’s presence in today’s contemporary Christian music.
The hosts for the Lamplighter jam were Carole and Leon Hampton. The stage band featured Sandra Arvold on fiddle, Dave Evans on lead guitar, Lernie Fulk on bass guitar, Leon Hampton on rhythm/lead guitar, and Frank Rinchiuso on rhythm guitar.
Two musicians will be featured at Lamplighter with the first being Dave Evans from Minnesota, who started his music venture at age 10 playing for his high school band and choir. He not only performs with his guitar but with an accordion, banjo, bass guitar, and keyboard including playing 2nd violin with the Winter Texan Orchestra. He has performed at the Corn Palace in South Dakota, with Rusty Rierson, and at numerous RGV jams.
Frank Rinchiuso from Iowa started his musical journey at age eight with his uncle helping him to learn the guitar. He now performs throughout the RGV playing gospel and bluegrass music with his guitar, dobro, and banjo.
The 26 jammers at Lamplighter included Delbert Allen, Don Ausland, Erven Bertrand, Steve Burrow, Karyl Davis, Dan Davis, Verna Funk, Ray Glenn, Jessica Greene, Renie Halverson, Dennis Hilligoss, Bonnie Hanson, Pat Kent, John Mosqueda, Mary Lou Perkins, Don Perkins, Dixie Rinchiuso, Ed Rydell, Betty Rydell, Karen Rayborn, Al Schulz, Dennis Salo, Bob Wiebe, Lily Wiebe, Anna Wiens on harp, Leah Wuestenberg, and Mark Wuestenberg.
At Valley View Estates in Mission, the hosts were Dick and Wilma Wynne. The stage band consisted of Mike Botelho on lap Cajun drum, Irene Griffith on keyboard, Ken Griffith on lead guitar, Rich Rohrbach on pedal steel guitar, Dennis Wiese on bass guitar, and Dick Wynne on rhythm guitar.
The 19 inspirational jammers were Don Ausland, Bonnie Ausland, Erven Bertrand, Don Blanke, Elaine Botelho, Sharon Eckleberry, Verna Funk, Dave Harston, Charles Josephes, Pat Kent, Lyle Krecklan, Bev Moore, Emmett Moore, Wanita Patterson, Shirley Slone, Dave Swanson, Anna Wiens, Iris Wiese, and Wilma Wynne.
The featured musician from this jam is Rich Rohrbach from Illinois who performs with the pedal steel guitar, guitar, bass guitar, accordion, piano, mountain dulcimer, and also sings. His musical adventures started at age seven with piano lessons followed by two years of piano accordion lessons. He started at age 16 with the guitar playing with rock and roll bands throughout his life and played trombone in a high school band and Big Band jams in Texas. At age 18, he taught others to play the guitar.
Nine years ago, he purchased the steel guitar and started playing in country music bands including The Dixons, Country Roland Jr., Jealous Heart, George and the Texas Outlaws, Rusty Rierson, Dave Perryman, and Robert Lynch. He also performs at numerous jams throughout the RGV.
Both gospel jams provided a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere where musicians were encouraged to provide inspirational Christian music to the audiences.