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Jamboree Entertainer Elmer Riehl

10 Nov Posted by in Jamborees | Comments
Jamboree Entertainer Elmer Riehl

And here is the next interview!

Elmer Riehl has lived in the area North of Wildwood, Alberta since he was born. He wants his legacy to be music. To him music is a way of life.

Growing up, there were six in his family. His Dad played the button accordion and his sister played guitar, a bit of piano, and the accordion. As a result Elmer had a very strong influence of music from an early age. Elmer remembers when he was growing up there was a lot of singing going on – even when they were milking cows they would sing with the radio while it was on. They were part of many, many Christmas concerts.

He used to sing with the postmaster, Ray.
One day Ray said to him “Why don’t you get a base guitar?” So he got one. That original guitar is now 33 years old which he continues to plays. He just got a new one two years ago for a Fathers Day and birthday gift from his son and 2 grandsons.

The group Elmer was a part of would sing Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays, two or three times a week. They played at various Seniors’ Centers – one when the Seniors home was where the legion in Wildwood is now. He and Alice, his sister sang once a month at Seniors Centres for 30 years. One of them was the Mayerthorpe Seniors home, which they sang at for 10 to 15 years. When his father had to go into a Seniors home, they played there for 10 years after that.

Elmer was part of the Whiskey Jacks, a 4 piece band with a drummer, trumpet player, Elmer on bass and Ray on lead guitar.

They also had a family band including Elmer, his Dad, his sister Alice and Alice’s husband Herman.

Elmer’s Dad was 85 when he quit playing the button accordion. He passed on when he was 96, about 5 or 6 years ago.

As time went on, Elmer began to get the nick-name of the “Singing Sawyer”, since he was so involved in music and also operated a sawmill.

Elmer and Carol, his wife, had a strong vision to foster parent. Over the year they have fostered and / or adopted about 70 kids, from a couple of months to 3 1/2 years old. One of them is 46 years old now and has returned to the Wildwood area. After one girl was with them for quite a few years she had Elmer walk her down the aisle when she got married at 21 years old.
The last child who is still at home was two years old when she was adopted and is now 14.

A couple of Elmer’s favorite performers are Hank Williams and George Jones. He gravitates toward Country Gospel and original Rock and Roll.

Elmer’s favorite 15 or 16 songs were recorded and 10 were put on CD.
Some of these played over in Europe and Australia and went to about number 4 on the charts. Eagle Radio out of Sweden played his songs for 10 years or so.
“I ain’t seen nothing like that” was one of his music releases that was heard on the Drayton Valley station.

Carol and Elmer have been married for 48 years this November 18, 2014. Happy Anniversary to both of you!

Music has always been a part of Elmer’s life and one of his priorities has been to carry on the tradition. His grandsons Colton and Cooper, 18 and 17, play Rock and Roll. I guess that is an indication of his influence.

You’re definitely doing a great job Elmer! Thank you for being so involved with contributing to the Magnolia Hall Jamborees. Your contribution is very much appreciated by all who take part!

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