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20240207 Dream Valley Ranch Jam 1 webAs I entered the hall at Dream Valley Ranch located off of US Route 83 at the western edge of Mission on Abram Road on January 11, I was greeted by residents and musicians of the park plus musicians and jammers from other parks who were already enjoying the dinner that is prepared and served prior to the country jam by chefs living at the park. The Activity Director, Aileen Martin, is responsible for every detail of this jam, including finding the volunteers required to run this jam taking place each Thursday evening during December through March.

The on-site leader of the jam, and manager of the stage band, is Frank Rinchiuso who also performs on stage with his guitar and voice. Accompanying Frank on stage are several musicians who provide the musical support for each jammer and musician. They are Fred Davidson, bass guitar/vocalist; Jess Elrick, lead guitar/vocalist; Leon Hampton, lead guitar/vocalist; Bill Knight, lead guitar/vocalist; Larry Robertson, harmonica/vocalist; and Richard St. Germaine, drummer.

20240207 Dream Valley Ranch Jam 3 webThe master of ceremonies is John Mosqueda. The jammers sang/performed country/gospel music during the jam. Those jammers included Delbert Allen, guitar; Richard and Karen Anderson, guitars; Kathy Baehr; Erven Bertrand, guitar; Dee Bethel; Ron Brehm, guitar soloist; Ketih Churchill, piano; Sue Craig; Verna Funk; Ray Glenn; Judy Goosley; Arlie Heisterberg’ Patrick Kent, guitar; Janie La Point; Beverly and Emmet Moore, guitars; Tony Ozark; Cathi Robertson; Dave Reavis; Al Schulz; Susie Q Schutz; Dave Swanson; Banjo Bill Swartz, guitar; Beverly Tokensgard; and Anna Weins, harp.

A sampling of the songs performed included Before the Next Teardrop Falls; Blues, Stay Away From Me; Don’t Worry About Me; Grandpa Tell Me About the Good Old Days; He’ll Have to Go; Hey Good Lookin’; I wish I was a Teddy Bear; My Heart Skips a Beat; Okie From Muskogee; Paper Roses; Your Cheating Heart and others.

20240207 Dream Valley Ranch Jam 4 webMy featured musician is Larry Robertson from Missouri who is a retired electrician. Larry was encouraged by his older brother at age nine to play the guitar. Later, he switched to learning to play the harmonica which is also known as the mouth harp, or math organ. Larry now performs with a tremolo harmonica, Winner model manufactured by Suzuki. The harmonica is a unique instrument at these jams performed by very few of the jammers (three to four out of hundreds of jammers who perform).

Besides Dream Valley, Larry currently performs at other parks, including Chimney Park, El Valley Del Sol, Greengate Grove, Lamplighter and Split Rail. Larry is a member of the stage band at each of these parks except El Valle Del Sol. When asked why he spends so much times entertaining the Winter Texans each week for the four to five months each year, his answer is “It’s Fun.”