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20240313 Oleander Acres 3 webOleander Acres Resort is the oldest family-owned RV resort in Mission purchased in 1978 by its current owner Ed Welliver. Ed’s daughter, Salome, plus third generation family members and office manager, Lois, also manage the resort. On site is a butterfly garden plus a tropical nursery with plants for sale to the public.
Tuesday, February 6 and 13 from 1 to 3 p.m., I attended two of their country-gospel jams in their recreational hall. I met with the co-managers of the jam, Ervin Bertrand and Frank Deramus. It is important for the band, jammers, and audience to have a great sound system. Claude LaBelle, the sound engineer, has developed an excellent sound system that delivers a ‘balanced’ sound between the band and singers that is pleasing to the listeners.

The February 13 stage band members were Ervin Bertrand, jam manager, guitar, cajon drum and vocalist; Bill Foster, harmonica and vocalist; Irene Griffiths, keyboard and vocalist; Ken Griffiths, lead guitar and vocalist; Bill Knight, lead guitar and vocalist; Frank Rinchiuso, guitar and vocalist; Ray Trudeau, guitar and vocalist; and Dennis Wiese, bass guitar and vocalist. The February 6 stage band consisted of Ron Liptow, guitar and vocalist; and Larry Robertson, harmonica and vocalist; plus the other members of the February 13 band (with the exception of Ray Trudeau and Bill Foster).

20240313 Oleander Acres 2 webThe 28 jammers who sang and performed at either or both of these jams were Delbert Allen (guitar), Don and Bonnie Ausland, Don Baker, Keith Churchill (keyboard), Joyce Congdon, Frank (guitar) and Linda Deramus, Mark Fecho (banjo), John Filo, Bill Foster (guitar), Verna Funk, Diana Gibson, Judy Goolsby, Tim (guitar) and Shelli Johnson, Charles Josephes (guitar), James Kropenske (guitar), Patrick LaBore, Janie LaPoint, Tony Ozark (guitar), Ryan Pels (guitar), Dixie Rinchiuso, Carole Robinson (guitar), Nelson Skryock (guitar), John (guitar) and Sara Weihmiller, and Iris Wiese.

I will feature two musicians with the first one being Ryan Pels. Ryan is a Winter Texan entertainer from northern Minnesota who is also an army retired 1st sergeant following his 40 years of service. Ryan played clarinet in a school band and then deferred his musical pursuit until age 25 when he started performing for the public with his guitar and vocals. He has performed on radio and TV.

Ryan performs weekly in northern Minnesota with a band which includes his wife Joanne who also plays the guitar and sings. He performs for many non-profit organizations including the VFW (where he is Post Commander), American Legion, Faith in Action, Walker Senior Center, WHA schools, festivals, churches, and others.

20240313 Oleander Acres 1 webRyan has visited the RGV the past five years and performs sometimes twice or more times a day at the park jams singing bluegrass, country, and gospel music. He and his Minnesota musician group also perform at numerous senior RV parks in the RGV.

The second musician is Frank Deramus who is a full time Texan living in McAllen. Prior to retirement, Frank was a Special Assistant US Attorney and Federal Administrative Law Judge.

Frank started his musical pursuits at age 19 performing vocals with his guitar, bass guitar or mandolin. He comes from a musical family with his father playing fiddle and his brother playing guitar. His brother, niece, and sister-in-law are all Nashville recording artists.

Frank has performed in a bluegrass band, Western swing band and choral group. He performed with a stage band on live TV shows in Oklahoma City. He also made “My Nashville Music” CD. Besides performing with his wife, Linda, he has performed with George Morgan (Candy Kisses), Wylie Walker and Gene Sullivan (When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again), Byron Berline (world renowned musician), Alan Munde (world renowned musician who formed Country Gazette), and Bill Caswell (musician/singer/songwriter for Kenny Rogers and others).

Frank performs at the following weekly jams: Heritage Square, GreenGate Grove, Lamplighter, Hidden Valley, Quiet Village II, Oleander Acres. Frank is driven to perform due to his love of traditional country music.