Sunday, July 22, 2018
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20171123 COUNTRY JAM ElValleDelLuna Miller IMG 4232Jim Brommel took a step back from the mic during a musical interlude and cleared his voice. “That's really high,” he said before stepping back up and finishing the song “Old Rugged Cross” to the applause of those in attendance.

Brommel, who went on to sing a few more times during El Valle de la Luna/El Valle del Sol's weekly Thursday Country Jam, has been singing for more than 35 years, at least in front of crowds. When he began singing, there was nobody to hear him while riding his tractor on his Iowa farm – well maybe the livestock heard him. “When they ask me what key, I tell them I sing in the key of John Deere.”

Now, however, he'll sing at 20 to 30 jams across the Rio Grande Valley before Christmas even gets here.

“I'll go all over and sing in as many jams as I can,” he said. “I'll go to Alamo Rec, Alamo Palms, Bentsen, Pharr South – everywhere. I think the more often you sing, the better your voice becomes.”

20171123 COUNTRY JAM ElValleDelLuna Miller IMG 4212LeRoy and Virginia Kuhlers

He goes for good reason – his voice is outstanding, with a range that many who are in their prime would be envious of, hitting the high notes on “How Great Thou Art,” with smooth authority. That song is difficult to sing because of its range and Brommel, who recorded it on one of two CDs he made, shows his tenor to baritone range with that song among others. At the country jam he also performed both “Old Rugged Cross” and “Make the World Go Away.”

The park also hosts a Polka Jam on Wednesdays from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Vanessa Vargas, one of two property managers at El Valle de la Luna/El Valle del Sol, said that jam will start in December and usually packs the building.

You can find Brommel there as well. Since he's a resident there – now going on 32 seasons – it only makes sense for him to perform on his home turf. But he's been all over the Rio Grande Valley when it comes to singing. He's performed in Mercedes, sang “Silent Night” at his church, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and routinely performed at the annual Amateur Night at the old McAllen Convention Center.

“I remember getting standing ovations there, quite often,” he said. “That was always such a good time. I went there 10 straight years.”

Brommel said his parents moved to the Valley in 1972. They sold one of their Iowa farms to him and another to his brother. He and his wife, Margaret, had six children – three boys and three girls. Five of them still live “up there” as Brommel put it, but the other one lives in Austin. Brommel also has 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. He said Christmas is usually a special time with all those family members.

20171123 COUNTRY JAM ElValleDelLuna Miller IMG 4209

John Ecken

“I gotta get more Christmas presents,” he joked. “I don't need anything but they'll usually get me a card for a restaurant to go eat. That's fine because I was born hungry.”

While the Winter Texan season is just – like in baseball terms – in spring training, there weren't too many performers at the show, it didn't lack quality by any means.

John Ecken, in his black cowboy hat and guitar, had a great time singing “Lord It's Hard To Be Humble” while LeRoy and Virginia Kuhlers sang, among other songs, “Jingle Bells.” “That song was actually written for Thanksgiving,” LeRoy said. “People think it's for Christmas but not originally.” Earlier, the couple, from Ankeny, Iowa and residents of W & I Resort in Mission, sang “Hey Good Looking,” which closed with a Virginia solo on the accordion.

Toy Drive

The park is also collecting toys for the Mission Police Department Toy Drive. The toys can be dropped off during office hours at the activities building, located at 2500 E. Business Hwy. 83. Vargas said toys will be accepted until Dec. 20. Call 956-585-5704 for more information.

Check out the Winter Texan Times website at and click on the Parks Calendar to see when El Valle Del Sol/El Valle de la Luna has its different events and jams.

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