Liberty Opry - January 26, 2013
by Daryl Moss

TIHAA members/guests (a few absent), before departing.

Casa Don Boni entry, frontage.

On Saturday, January 26th, twenty-three TIHAA members and guests rode on the Harris County bus to the Liberty Opry for a special matinee show of "Country & Cajun". To pass the time on the way, we read a short (handout) history about the Liberty Opry and played a couple of games of Bingo called by Mary Brown, our trip organizer.

Big smiles from Janie, Alvesa, Guerrette.

Before the show we ate Tex-Mex at the Casa Don Boni. Many ordered a Laredo plate: crispy taco and meaty enchiladas, beans/rice and guacamole. Chips & dip a plenty. Service was surprisingly fast considering our large group! After paying out-of-pocket, we hopped on the bus and Mary passed out reserved seating tickets. The Park Theater, home to the Opry, was only a few minutes away. We arrived with five minutes to spare before the show, enough to glance through the playbill that listed the individual names of band and cast, operations team, performers and song selection (over 30 listed), and "friends/ partners of the Opry", i.e., those who graciously donate to keep the doors open.

Chips and dips and talk time.

Jay Cantu and wife Nina, being the owners-greeters-hosts, served to warm up the crowd and quickly introduce, individually, the talented band. As usual, Jay started the formal show with a prayer, sang two solos himself, and passed off the mic to Jerry Locke to perform further M/C duties. Jerry introduced several band members who, in turn, did solos. (The same format was followed before and after intermission, during which Jay and Nina raffled off a dozen free gifts.) Backup singer, Lainie Shearer, did two solos and Jerry also did some solos. Both are excellent singers.

Liberty Opry Band with Jay Cantu, front and center.

After the first comedy routine, Jerry did an exquisite introduction of Moses Rangel from Richmond, TX. Moses did wonderful renditions of That's the Way Love Goes, Pure Love and Kiss an Angel Good Morning. This guy has a voice you won't forget!! As versatile as Elvis, bass like Charlie Pride, as smooth as Glen Campbell. Plus, humor and a personal touch. Following Moses, Jerry introduced the featured Branson couple [God & Country Theater] , Wade and Teresa Landry. Wade is described as a Swingin' Fiddlin' Cajun Entertainer (with the emphasis on Entertainer). He told some really funny Cajun jokes using Cajun dialect, featuring Beaudreau an' Thibodeau, the butts of Cajun lore. Talk about high energy - he was a fantastic, polished performer. He sang about 6 songs (before and after intermission) and Teresa (a wonderful singer, too) did a couple of solos.

Moses Rangel, big in statue and song.

The comedy routines were superb. Jerry serves as the straight guy and Larry "Booger Lee" Etheridge delivers the punch lines. The initial routine had Larry dressed as Mz Alice - in indescribable dress and wig - and they kept the audience in stitches. The second routine has Larry dressed as a normal ? "Booger Lee" in 'Hicksville' costume. The jokes were hilarious -- driving fiascos, dogs named Rolex and Timex (watch dogs), cracking walnuts between your legs. {You had to be there….audience loved it...}

As a prelude to their second routine, Jerry and Larry, being himself (but in his standard 'Hicksville' costume) called out the many birthdays and anniversaries of numerous attendees. Also, they recognized 5 groups in the audience by name, starting with Mary Brown and the TI Houston Alumni Association. We members/guests hooped and hollered - everyone knew where we were sitting.

At the close, all the vocalists/instrumentalists came on stage as an ensemble to sing "Keep On Praying". That was a sign for most to start leaving. Over 2 hours of fantastic opry!

Teresa Landry with Wade Landry, a fiddlin' entertainer.

Our group picture was taken outside the theater just prior to boarding the bus. Not sure everyone was included considering the departing crowd. Jay shook many hands on the way out the door, thanking all for coming and to please come back soon.

TIHAA Members/guest in attendance:

Ralph & Estella Garcia, Mary Thompson & guest Ted Curby, Mary Brown, Jean Houston, Daryl Moss, Gurrette Roep, Alvesa Ramirez, Gladys Price, Deloris Baugh, Janie Arsizo and Daruth Jones. The remainder of those on the bus were from Mary Brown's church.

By the way, the motto of the opry is Good Music + Good Company = Good Time.

Join us soon on another exciting Day Trip.

Copyright TI Houston Alumni Association 2013, All Rights Reserved.

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