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20131213 empty-pockets-blue-grassMission’s annual Winter Texan Welcome Home party is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Leo Pena La Placita Park in downtown Mission on Conway Avenue and Business 83.

Rich Bellert, well known for his humorous cowboy poetry, will once again act as emcee. Bellert the pre-show featuring the Our Lady of Guadalupe School choir will start at 12:30 p.m.

Bellert has lined up four acts of Winter Texan entertainers to perform. In between performances, Bellert will recite poetry and members of the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce will give away door prizes. Refreshments will be served but there is no meal at the fall event.

Among the entertainers to perform are Twelve-String Tim and Sharon, a comedy duo composed of Tim Kroening and Sharon Vreeland. Kroening learned to play 12-string guitar while in the Navy and also fell in love with the stage. He worked in Nevada for 20 years, appearing in clubs in Reno, Laughlin, Las Vegas and Lake Meade. He sings blues, country and some rock.

Sharon grew up with Vaudeville in her blood on her mother’s side. She is a comedian, does back-up vocals and plays percussion, tambourine and maracas.

Together, they have performed in Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Missouri. In South Texas, they are a big hit with the Winter Texans.

The Texas Outlaws, a diverse group of musicians, also will appear at the Welcome Home event. Francis Hahn, the bandleader and bass player, began his musical career at the age of 9 with singing lessons and learning how to play piano. After his discharge from the U.S. Army, he went to work for the “House of Cash” and wrote songs for the “Man in Black” himself, Johnny Cash.

He has performed at music festivals all around the Midwest, including the Nebraska Cornhusker Blue Grass Association and the annual Wahoo Nebraska Music Festival. He is a regular member of the Oak Tree Opry and the Oak Tree Opry Road Show based in Anita, Iowa. Hahn has been a member of the National Traditional Country Music Hall of Fame since 2002.

Troy Adams, who is well known throughout the Valley, is the lead guitar player. He has played with several bands in the Valley, including the Country Playboys, and the house band at the former Chicken House Opry. Adams was a member of several bands while serving in the U.S. Navy, and today is a prominent member of the Texas Outlaws.

Mick Morrow who plays rhythm guitar, grew up in Manton, Mich., where his father taught them how to play musical instruments at an early age. Morrow would invite friends to his home regularly for jam sessions, playing traditional county music and became an expert on the rhythm guitar.

The Empty Pockets String Band will also be performing at the event. Empty Pockets is a bluegrass band featuring classic bluegrass music in the style of Bill Monroe, known as the father of bluegrass, and other contemporary bluegrass artists.

The group is comprised of Rick and Gail Dakon along with Lea and Bob Price, who perform bluegrass music featuring banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle and bass. The couples met in South Texas in 2005 and have been playing together ever since. They have appeared at various Winter Texan parks and special events around the Valley playing toe-tapping songs and instrumentals, sacred gospel mixed with clean comedy that always provides an enjoyable performance.

The fourth group, Rick Sanchez and Joel Garza, known professionally as Keys & Strings, have a diverse background in music. Sanchez was born and raised in the Chicago area and began his career in music there, also traveling the mid-western States, working the lounge circuit, clubs and colleges. In 1985, he moved to the Rio Grande Valley and has worked with numerous country, country rock, Latin and various club bands.

Joel Garza, who was born and raised in the Texas Panhandle, began playing and singing in 1981 with his siblings. Several of Joel’s songs are enjoying airplay on a local FM radio station. Joel has played with a number of different Valley bands such as Heartland Express.

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