Thursday, June 21, 2018
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Leslie Blasing Show delights audiences

20170202 Leslie Blassing KO DSC 0071Those who have not seen one of Leslie Blasing’s shows are missing out on a great performer. There is good reason she has been selected as Female Vocalist of the Year every year from 2013 to 2016 and Entertainer of the Year 2014-2016 at the Valley Star Awards presentations.

Leslie has a rich contra-alto voice with great vibrato and a virtual encyclopedia of songs spanning six decades. She knows almost all the songs that have come out since the war years of the 1940s.

Unlike many of the entertainers who come to Winter Texan resorts across the Valley from Branson or Nashville or other locations, Leslie is homegrown.  Well almost. She tells audiences that she came to the Valley for a three-week gig 24 years ago and is still here. She grew up in Hondo, Texas, where she was encouraged to sing by the high school principal.

She was discovered by Winter Texans and other Winter Texan entertainers who encouraged her to get out and sing in the resorts.

She started a recent show at Wintergreen Estates with an old favorite country song by Loretta Lynn, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Then she moved to an oldie, “My Little Runaway.” Just as quickly she moved to the 80s and Anne Murray, a favorite Canadian singer with “Fly Away.” Then it was back to the 1940s with a lively “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Then it was back to the 50s or 60s oldies with “Johnny B. Goode.”

After singing, Patsy Cline’s “Tell Me Now” she asked for audience participation on “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” Then it was on to Freddie Fender and “Before the Next Teardrop Falls.” She livened things up with Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day” and Sammi Smith’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night.

She changed some of George Strait’s lyrics saying “All my execs Wear Rolexes,” and “I’m alive and well on South Padre Island.”

She told tales of her days in San Antonio where she met the likes of Sammi Smith, who had an amazing voice range, and Reba McIntyre and Dolly Parton who offered to help her advance in her career.

But once she arrived at South Padre Island, she decided she was home. After singing at the Sheraton for eight years, she moved to Schlitterbahn for another 10 years. She loves to sing and is amazed that people will pay her to do what she loves. “I feel blessed every night when I sing,” she tells the audience.

She cut up by singing a Willie Nelson song with a clip on her nose to get his special sound.  She swayed back and forth while singing Ray Charles. Singing “Seven Spanish Angels,” she switched from character to character. After break she asked for requests from the audience. There were no requests she did not know. She asked the audience to sing along on most of the requests. The audience happily sang along as she took them on a trip down memory lane. 

Leslie can be seen on Saturdays and Sundays between 1 and 4 p.m. at Boomerang Billy’s on South Padre Island. On Tuesdays look for her at Louie’s Backyard from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.  Wednesdays she sings at Palm Street Pier on the island from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursdays she can be found at the Coral Reef from 1 to 3 p.m.

In addition, Leslie will perform Feb. 7 “History of Rock-n-Roll Show” at the SPI Convention Center. Tickets are $8-$12. Feb. 8 she’ll be at La Hacienda Estates, Alamo; Feb. 19, Valley View Estates, Mission; and Feb. 23, Tropic Winds, Harlingen.

Leslie will present a special show, “The Music of the Time WWII and 40’s Era Popular Songs at Victoria Palms Ballroom Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. Presale tickets are $10 and at the door $12.  Call (956) 782-3263 for tickets.

Leslie will be in the Isla Grande Ballroom on Valentine’s Day. Tickets are $35 for singles or $60 for couples with a dinner buffet from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  Music from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

She has been nominated once again for Female Vocalist of the Year at the Valley Star Awards to be held Feb.18 at Mission Bell.

McAllen Symphonic Band plans Valentine’s Day concert

The McAllen Symphonic Band will perform a Valentine’s Concert, “Serenade Under the Stars,” Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Center Church (formerly Trinity Worship Center), in Pharr. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at Wilder Resorts, all McAllen Community Centers, the Weslaco Chamber of Commerce and at the door on the evening of the performance if available.

The concert will be under the direction of Dr. Benjamin Coy, brass instructor and director of the symphonic band and brass ensemble at South Texas State College.  Dr. Coy earned his doctorate in trombone performance and pedagogy at Ohio State University and also studied in Chicago, where he received his master’s degree at Northwestern University and his bachelors at Chicago College of Performing Arts. He is a member of Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony. 

Terry Smith: A songwriter/singer with a different touch

Terry Smith, a versatile songwriter who has written songs for a wide range of audiences, will be performing at the Border Theater and at a limited number of parks and resorts during his brief tour in the RGV this month.

He says without exaggeration, “I’ve pitched songs to everyone from the country artists of the day to the Texas Rangers baseball team and Captain Kangaroo.”   Many a “full-time songwriter” has a smaller catalogue than Terry, whose file cabinet holds over 2,000 songs, “the good, the bad, and the ugly,” as he sums them up. 

As a singer, Terry has steadily built a following over the years in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

   For 30 years, Smith, who was born in Cordell, Okla. and reared in Denton, Texas, taught English and coached baseball in public school systems in Texas and Tennessee.  After retiring from teaching, Terry began to pursue in earnest his love of songwriting and singing country music. 

His first album was a country gospel project, “Look at My Hands” in 1979, which features his initial version of “Far Side Banks of Jordan,” a song featured twice in the movie “The Apostle” and included on the film’s soundtrack CD.  The song was heard in its entirety at the close of “Ring of Fire,” a TV movie based on the life of June Carter Cash debuted in the spring of 2013. 

“Jordan” has been recorded close to 300 times by many different artists, including Ernie Ashworth of Grand Ole Opry fame, as well as the Statler Brothers on their album “Amen.”  In the spring of 1999 June Carter Cash released “Press On,” her first solo album in over 24 years, on which she and Johnny Cash re-recorded “Far Side Banks of Jordan.”  “Press On” won a Grammy in 2,000.  Terry has written songs that were recorded by well-known country music artists such as Kitty Wells, Chris LeDoux, The Oak Ridge Boys, Daniel O’Donnell, Kris Kristofferson, Patty Loveless, George Hamilton IV, Allison Krauss, Roy Acuff, Jimmy Fortune, and many more.

   Terry is a member of the Traditional Country Music Hall of Fame and was voted Traditional Music Association’s Songwriter of the Year in 1995 and 1996.  Smith has released thirteen albums to date.  His newest project, “The Second Time Around,” was recorded in January 2015, and includes fifteen of Terry’s songs first cut by other artists.  Many of Terry’s fans anxiously await Terry’s next CD offering, having purchased each one.  One of Terry’s popular CD’s, cut in 2001, is entitled “Spokes in The Wheel,” an album that focuses on the various kinds of songs Terry writes including ballads, novelty, honky-tonk, story songs, inspirational, and gospel. As Terry says, “Just as a spoke is only one part of a wheel, each of my musical and personal influences contribute to who I am as a person. The various types of songs I write make up the sum of who I am as a writer and performer.

Terry Smith will be appearing with his Quilted Country Band in a limited number of parks in February. He will also perform at the Border Theater in downtown Mission on Monday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m.

Appearing with Smith at the Border Theatre only will be award-winning cowboy poetry reciter, Rich Bellert, in a full two-hour show. The price of admission is $7 per person. For more information, call (612) 281-7147 or (712) 540-0452.

Terry Smith can be seen Feb. 6 at Heritage Square, Mission; Feb. 7, The Grove, San Juan; Feb. 10, Val Verde RV Park, Donna; Feb. 12 at Palm Shadows, Donna, 2 p.m.; Feb. 13, Border Theater in Mission, 2 p.m.; and Feb. 15, Quiet Village II.

All shows begin at 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

Southern Anthem gets better each year

With a child prodigy fiddle player in 11-year-old Logan, members of Southern Anthem quipped they feared they would soon be known as the Logan Pausewang Back-up Band. Logan improves every year he plays. Taking lessons from Wade Landry has not hurt either. He plays many good fiddling songs but his trio of “Folsum Prison Blues,” “A-Train” and “Orange Blossom Special” produced a robust burst of applause from an obviously pleased audience, nodding their heads approvingly at the amount of talent he was displaying.

But there is no need for Southern Anthem to fear. Mikaela, 16, has a very strong lead voice on all songs she sings, and Derek’s voice is maturing at 17. He does a great job on the “Auctioneer” song. Mom, Wendy, makes great harmony with Mikaela and also sings lead. She plays several musical instruments. With 4-year-old Miranda making her debut on stage this year, the band has a bright future.

They won Inspirational Group of the Year at the Gatesville Music Festival and also received the Texas Star Award. They appeared in Branson last year and plan to return again this summer.

For more information, call Wendy Pausewang at (254) 718-8505.

Snowbird Extravaganza brings top Canadian talent to McAllen

This year’s annual Snowbird Extravaganza feature a star-studded cast of some of Canada’s most famous performers. The event will be held Tuesday, Jan. 31 and Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the McAllen Convention Center. This is a free event that will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Performers this year include Ian Thomas, Jimmy Flynn, Michelle Wright, Sean Emery, Tom Leadbeater, and The Stampeders.

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Llano Grande Quilt Show Planned

2016 Quilting Bee Quilt Show Group WavingQuilters from Llano Grande invite Winter Texans to their eighth annual quilt show, “Bordeaux Elegance,” to be held Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Over 200 quilted items will be on display in the Hynes Event Center, at Llano Grande, 2215 East West Blvd., in Mercedes. (GPS use 489 Yolanda). Admission is $2. Lunch will be available.

‘Chuy’s Cantina,’ A Radio Show Theater Performance

The Rio Grande Valley Radio Theater, organized by Tom Fuschetto, college instructor at South Texas College, and Tom Peters, retired broadcaster and watch material salesman presents live radio show theater plays written and directed by Fuschetto.

The plays are performed in a radio broadcast studio setting with the two Toms reading scripts and acting out the many radio show characters, including background sound effects. 

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