The Rio Grande Valley Jammin’ Sound Miracle
Throughout the year, there are three senior park communities that continuously oﬀer music jams open to the public musicians and listeners: Green Gate Grove in Palmview, Heritage Square in Mission and Quiet Village II in Donna. Each November, this changes as the Winter Texans leave their Northern habitat and arrive in the RGV. Currently, there are music jams at 53 senior parks that are open to the public.
These jams feature music venues in several preferences: country, rock and roll, big band, gospel and blue grass. The communities that feature these jams are located in Mission, Donna, Alamo, Palmview, Harlingen, McAllen, Weslaco, San Juan, La Féria, Pharr and Rio Hondo.
Each jam is comprised of a coalition of musically talented individual jammers whose purpose is to showcase one’s talent and combine that with the musical talents of the stage band members to entertain the audience. Each jammer performs one to three selections at each jam accompanied by the stage musicians who are selected by the jam host-coordinator at each park. The stage band musicians usually do not know in advance which song the jammer will perform until the jammer steps up to the microphone and announces the title and key signature. The band is then expected to know, from memory, their song.
Stage musicians that accompany the jammers are selected based on their level of competency and experience with the music venue and their musical instrument e.g. guitar, mandolin, banjo, violin/fiddle, drums, piano/keyboard, trumpet, sax, and others. Their level of music knowledge ranges from self-taught to a full music education. Many band members started performing as a child/teenager while others were older adults. Most of the band musicians had a diﬀerent full time career than music. Many musicians performed in school bands and kept performing in later life with local bands.
Most of the jammers do not play a musical instrument but use their voice as the instrument. Some vocalists supplement their voice performance with a guitar or other instrument. Each jammer practices for hours his/her selection(s) at home using either a musical instrument to accompany themself or the use of YouTube. Since there is no rehearsal with the band, the jammer has no idea what his/her performance will sound like when combined with the bands’ instruments.
The ‘Sound Miracle’ happens when the jammer is at the microphone and starts his performance. The jammer’s performance is integrated with the sounds from the stage band to provide a blended and synergistic sound that surpasses what the individual jammer could accomplish alone. The jammer will know the level of his/her accomplishment by the reaction to the performance by the audience.
You are invited to visit the senior parks that feature music jams so as to experience for yourself this Sound Miracle or step up to the mic and share your musical talent with others.
We will be taking a dive into the jam sessions of the RGV and the talent they contain. This article is just the beginning of what is to come. Watch these ‘Jammin’ articles each week as we feature a park’s jam, the talent, and the music.