Music, laughter, and good times await members attending FMCA’s convention in Redmond.
By Doug Uhlenbrock
A fantastic array of entertainment awaits those who roll into Redmond, Oregon, for FMCA’s 72nd International Convention, August 16 through 19, 2004, at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center. Members attending the “Cascade Mountain Magic” get-together will be treated to a musical voyage back to the 1960s where they’ll visit with a teen idol; party with legendary Las Vegas showroom stars; and gather for a relaxing sing-along with folk music pioneers. Of course, there will be plenty of opportunities for present-day fun, too. A full slate of dancing, music, laughter, and maybe even a little sleeping (more on that later) will help keep attendees energized throughout the event.
The Stars Come Out At Night
As the sun sets behind the Cascade Mountains, convention-goers will be treated to an exciting variety of entertainment to help them finish each day on an upbeat note. Beginning on Sunday, August 15, early arrivals can get their kicks with Howard Cowles, L18517, as he sets the Deschutes Event Center dance floor into motion with his square-dance calls from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Howard has provided swinging good times at FMCA conventions for more than 35 years “” now, that’s a lot of do-si-dos. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an accomplished dancer, a novice who’d like to learn, or someone who just enjoys watching; Howard’s skillful calling and instruction will lead to a fun-filled evening for all who attend. If one night of square dancing isn’t enough, Howard also will conduct his “Square Dancing And Line Dancing” seminar on Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in Seminar 4, the South Sister building. Howard will appear in Redmond courtesy of Coach-Net, C4055, an FMCA One Star sponsor, and FMCA.
If your dance tastes are skewed more toward swing than square, you won’t want to miss the Betty Berger Big Band on Monday night, August 16, from 7:00 to 9:00. The 13-member ensemble, which began playing together in 1996, will have the joint jumping to its repertoire of swing favorites from artists such as Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and Tommy Dorsey. So don’t sit around the motorhome all night; grab some friends and scoot on over to the Deschutes Event Center for an evening of good music and lively dancing.
On Tuesday, August 17, grab your beach blanket, cuddle up with your partner, and relive the early days of rock ‘n’ roll with one of the original “teen idols,” Frankie Avalon, as he performs at the Deschutes Event Center from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Frankie was just 17 when he burst onto the national music scene in 1958 by performing “De De Dinah” on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.” Shortly after that appearance, the single made it to No. 7 on Billboard magazine’s hit list, catapulting the youngster into the limelight. During the next two years he charted six more Top 10 singles, including “Venus” and “Why.”
At the age of 19 Frankie made his silver-screen debut in Guns of the Timberland, followed by The Alamo with John Wayne. At that point his attention shifted completely to making movies, and he eventually landed top billing along with Annette Funicello in a series of successful beach-themed flicks starting in 1963. For the next few years the duo starred in Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, Beach Blanket Bingo, and several other fun-in-the-sun adventures. He performed a cameo role as “Teen Angel” in the 1978 hit Grease and reunited with Annette Funicello in 1987 for Back to the Beach, a parody of their earlier beach movies.
Today Frankie continues to sing on the nightclub circuit, both solo and with fellow teen idols Bobby Rydell and Fabian in their “Golden Boys of Bandstand” program. He has been married since 1963 and has eight children.
On Wednesday, August 18, beginning at 5:30 p.m., Steve Lippia (Frank Sinatra), Doug Starks (Sammy Davis Jr.), and Rick Michel (Dean Martin) will bring the “Rat Pack” back to life in “Frank, Sammy & Dean “” Hear and Now,” performing courtesy of Monaco Coach Corporation, C2111, an FMCA Five Star sponsor.
This tribute to the trio that presided over Las Vegas entertainment during the 1950s and ’60s transports audiences back to a time when song, dance, and laughter ruled the stage, and captures the camaraderie between three of the world’s ultimate performers.
The impersonators are completely in character, ribbing, roasting, and toasting one another, to the delight of the audience. Once the music starts, the show takes on a new life, with each performer moving center stage to reprise classic songs such as “Come Fly With Me,” “New York, New York,” “That’s Amore,” “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head,” “Candy Man,” and “Mr. Bojangles.” They move freely from solos to duets and from tap to soft-shoe dance routines with the style and swagger that personified the original trio. The show is so authentic that audiences find themselves almost believing that Frank, Sammy, and Dean have returned to the stage one more time to laugh, sing, dance, and revel in their love for life.
On Thursday evening, August 19, attendees will be treated to a double dose of entertainment beginning at 5:30 p.m. when legendary folk pioneers The Kingston Trio and The Brothers Four take the Deschutes Event Center stage, thanks to Pioneer Electronics, C9420, an FMCA Super Star sponsor.
In 1958 Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds, and Dave Guard “” The Kingston Trio “” changed the face of music using only acoustic guitars and a banjo. With their Grammy Award-winning single “Tom Dooley,” the group began the folk music revival, paving the way for countless stars to follow. During the late 1950s and early ’60s, the trio was the number-one vocal group in the world, whose record sales and concert draws were matched only by the Beatles.
Today Bob Shane shares the stage with George Grove and Bob Haworth, re-creating the group’s trademark three-part harmony and clean, crisp sound with favorites such as “Scotch and Soda,” “M.T.A.,” “Greenback Dollar,” and “A Worried Man.”
The Brothers Four also contributed to the folk music revival with all-acoustic tunes and rich harmonies that bridged the gap between doo-wop and the British invasion. The group’s first hit, “Greenfields,” climbed to No. 2 on Billboard magazine’s Top 10 list in 1960. That same year their song “The Green Leaves of Summer,” from the motion picture The Alamo, was nominated for an Academy Award. Other million-selling hits included “Yellow Bird,” “Try To Remember,” and “Shenandoah.”
The Brothers Four includes original members Bob Flick and John Paine, as well as Mark Pearson and Terry Lauber.
Let The Sun Shine
While the nightly entertainment scheduled for the “Cascade Mountain Magic” convention is certainly reason for folks to get excited, FMCA also has assembled a terrific lineup of music and comedy acts for the daylight hours. All daytime entertainment will take place at the daytime entertainment stage located adjacent to Juniper Arena.
Kicking off the fun on Monday will be Matt Jenkins, who will take the stage from noon to 1:00 p.m. For the past 20 years, Matt has performed throughout the Pacific Northwest, entertaining audiences with his wide selection of music, including country and western, old-time rock ‘n’ roll, swing, samba, and Latin. He even throws in a little good-natured humor to keep folks smiling. Some members may remember Matt, who hails from Tacoma, Washington, from his previous performances at FMCA International Area and Northwest Area rallies. Matt will be back onstage Tuesday from noon to 1:00 p.m.
From 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Monday, Lawrence Miller will do everything in his power to get his audience to fall asleep. Huh? Well, not the entire group “” just a few willing participants who will come onstage to be put under his hypnotic spell in this highly entertaining act. Lawrence, a certified hypnotherapist, will tastefully guide his subjects through the inner workings of the subconscious mind with utmost courtesy and without causing any embarrassment. The show provides clean, dignified fun for all.
Lawrence also will conduct a seminar during the convention, explaining how hypnosis works and its many benefits.
Convention-goers can get their first look at the new motorhomes and bus conversions on hand in Redmond starting at 3:00 p.m. Monday when the gates open for the “Motorhome Preview.” A variety of type A, B, and C motorhomes, as well as custom bus conversions, will be on display for inspection beginning on this afternoon and continuing throughout the convention.
From 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday, enjoy the musical comedy of Bernie & Red as this dynamic duo from Vancouver, British Columbia, takes the stage. You won’t be able to control your laughter as the couple digs into their collection of hilarious stories, parody songs, and original comedy tunes. But the talents of Bernie & Red aren’t limited to comedy; both are also fine singers, with Bernie accompanying on guitar. The couple has played at numerous other RV events. If you miss their Monday performance, you can catch them on Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Rounding out the daytime entertainment on Monday will be the Sunshine Exchange cloggers, who will be onstage from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. This Redmond-based group has been dancing since 1988 under the direction of Loy Samples. Clogging is a true American folk dance that evolved from the toe-tapping bluegrass music of the Appalachian region. As clogging moved out of the mountains, special taps were added to the shoes to give the dance its distinctive sound. Modern-day clogging uses pop, rock ‘n’ roll, country, and any other music with a good beat. Sunshine Exchange has performed at numerous fairs, festivals, and other events in the central Oregon area. The group also will perform for Redmond convention attendees on Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Beginning Tuesday morning, and continuing each day of the convention, attendees are invited to stop by the Morning Coffee Hour from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. for coffee, hot chocolate, and doughnuts, compliments of Guaranty RV Center, C4161, an FMCA Super Star sponsor. The coffee hour area will be located adjacent to Juniper Arena and near the daytime entertainment stage. Also, be sure to pick up a daily newspaper, courtesy of Tracks To Adventure, C1034, an FMCA Two Star sponsor, and a copy of the official FMCA “Cascade Mountain Magic” newsletter.
While you’re enjoying your coffee and morning treats, sit back and relax to the sounds of FMCA’s very own Frustrated Maestros, who will perform at the daytime entertainment stage Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. This eclectic ensemble has been entertaining motorhomers at FMCA conventions since the first Frustrated Maestros chapter was formed in 1981. The group, adorned in their familiar red-and-white outfits, includes members from the various Frustrated Maestros chapters and features a diverse collection of talented musicians and music lovers.
Beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, the ever-popular Willie & Company will take the stage for an hour’s worth of rib-tickling humor, courtesy of Freightliner Custom Chassis, C1905, an FMCA Four Star sponsor. Ventriloquist Peggy Miller has been bringing her sidekick, Willie, to FMCA conventions for years, and the two of them have made quite a few friends during that time. Of course, it’s 6-year-old Willie who commands the most attention from the audience, chatting up the ladies, poking fun at the men, and charming the children. With his quick wit, soft heart, and treasure trove of stories, Willie will keep you laughing from start to finish. If you’re busy on Tuesday morning and can’t see Willie & Company then, don’t worry; you can catch the act on Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. or Thursday from noon to 1:00 p.m.
If you’re into prestidigitation, make sure to be at the daytime entertainment stage on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. to see Flakey the Magic Clown perform his “Magic Show For Kids Of All Ages.” Flakey, also known as Henry Gartner, F197563, when not in makeup, has delighted FMCA audiences for years with his magic tricks and balloon creations. Flakey often asks members of the audience to assist him with his tricks “” to hilarious results “” so don’t be surprised if he chooses you. Flakey is sponsored by Blue Ox, C2903, an FMCA Two Star sponsor. Flakey also will entertain the youngsters during Youth Center registration on Monday, August 16, and at the Youth Centers throughout the convention.
After Flakey’s performance, don’t mosey too far away from the entertainment area, because Bob’s Cats, a select group of Frustrated Maestros, will take the stage at 12:30 p.m. to perform a selection of Dixieland tunes and old-time favorites.
Upbeat music, a sunny afternoon … what could possibly make the day any better? Did someone say ice cream? Great idea! There will plenty of frosty treats available during the ice cream social Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., courtesy of RV Alliance America, C95, an FMCA Super Star sponsor.
As you finish off that last bite of ice cream, sit back and enjoy the soothing sounds of jazz vocalist Michelle Van Handel, who will be on stage Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Michelle has been performing at festivals and concert venues in Oregon for nearly 20 years. Her original songs include a variety of styles and tempos, using elements of jazz, classical, and contemporary music. She has produced a CD of her original numbers titled “Watercolor Music.”
From 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, get ready for some old-fashioned sawing as members of the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers Association, District 3, put their bows into action. The group, which also includes backup musicians on the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and standup bass, will play standard toe-tapping favorites such as “Old Joe Clark,” “Turkey In The Straw,” and “Arkansas Traveler,” using fiddling styles such as progressive, Celtic, Scottish, and Irish.