Willy Giesbrecht, left, Ron Boehm, centre, and Jim McLean are part of the five-member Cariboo Country Ramblers. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).

Willy Giesbrecht, left, Ron Boehm, centre, and Jim McLean are part of the five-member Cariboo Country Ramblers. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).

Cariboo Country Ramblers keep the music flowing

“It’s a fun thing and it keeps our fingers nimble and our brains active.”

To the seniors’ set, the Cariboo Country Ramblers are the ultimate boy band.

Ron Boehm on guitar, his brother Bob on bass and Jim McLean on the accordion with Willy Giesbrecht doing double duty on guitar and vocals and Earl Erickson, on harmonica, spelling him off. The five-member band even has a regular gig: playing to seniors at the local care homes in 100 Mile House and regularly at the Pioneer Centre in Lac La Hache, although their performances have taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The members, who are all in their late 70s and early 80s, meet every week to practice at Boehm’s house in Lac La Hache, where they spread out to ensure physical distancing. They used to have a female piano player in their band – Mary Huber – but she dropped out when she hit her mid-80s.

READ MORE: Secret to a long marriage ‘never go to bed mad’

“It’s a fun thing and it keeps our fingers nimble and our brains active,” said Boehm, one of the original members from 15 years ago. “You start playing and it doesn’t take long – they’re all tapping their toes.”

It’s so fun the group wanted to start its own monthly ‘Arizona Country Jam,’ in which musicians sit around in a circle and take turns doing a number, but it was derailed this year because of COVID-19. Boehm and Giesbrecht, who previously travelled together to Arizona in the winters, got the idea for one here because they enjoyed jamming with strangers three or four times a week.

“It’s just a bunch of individual musicians getting together and you take your turn at the mic. It’s kind of nice,” Giesbrecht said, adding they still hope to get the jam going “if things ever settle down and we get back to doing things normally.”

The Pioneer Centre already has a Bluegrass jam that, pre-pandemic, would happen on the third Sunday of every month, but they have a different line-up of music, Boehm said. In the old days, it didn’t matter because they knew every song. But as they get older, it’s getting harder to remember.

“We used to be able to play 100 songs and never looked at the sheet,” he said. “Now you need a sheet in front of you or you forget the words.”

At a recent practice, only three of them showed up – Boehm, Giesbrecht and McLean – but that didn’t stop them from their jam. McLean, a former bagpiper-turned-accordion player, is the latest addition to the group, having joined them about a year ago after they poached him from the Carefree Manor to replace their late fiddle player.

“We thought we’d give him a listen,” Boehm said. “Since we couldn’t get a fiddle, we thought ‘why not an accordion’?”

Boehm, who used to play guitar when he was 17 and only got back into it about 25 years ago, said despite the pandemic, the Ramblers intend to keep playing as long as they can, although they are taking precautions.

“With this thing (COVID) starting up again, it’s harder to get out,” he said. “We’re keeping our circle a little smaller. We’re more careful than we used to be.”


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Willy Giesbrecht, left, Ron Boehm, centre, and Jim MacLean are part of the five-member Country Cariboo Ramblers. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).

Willy Giesbrecht, left, Ron Boehm, centre, and Jim MacLean are part of the five-member Country Cariboo Ramblers. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).

Ron Boehm is one of the founding members of the Cariboo Country Ramblers (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).

Ron Boehm is one of the founding members of the Cariboo Country Ramblers (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).

Jim MacLean is the newest addition to the Cariboo Country Ramblers (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).

Jim MacLean is the newest addition to the Cariboo Country Ramblers (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).

Just Posted

Courtney Driver is the new president of the 100 Mile Performing Arts Society. (Photo submitted)
100 Mile Performing Arts Society elects new president

Courtney Driver wants to provide more diverse events

Erica Henderson the supervisor of early year services and programs at South Cariboo Early Years Centre and others were giving out Halloween Family Activity Kits the week leading up to Halloween. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Halloween activity kits offered to kids at home

South Cariboo Early Years Centre is finding ways to bring activities into children’s homes.

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerskson of the BC Liberal Party and his partner Shelley Wiese celebrate at his campaign office in downtown Williams Lake Oct. 24. Doerkson has been elected as the new MLA in Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Angie Mindus photo)
Updated: Lorne Doerkson elected in Cariboo Chilcotin in preliminary results

Outgoing MLA Donna Barnett said win is ‘exciting’ for region

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

Most Read