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Hal Roper

Hal Roper's singing career started at the tender age of five years when he began leading congregational singing for the Oak Grove church of Christ near Mount Pleasant, Texas. The desire to become a musician and performer began soon after he started school in the Old Union community. He told his grandmother he wanted to play guitar. Nannie Johnson saved her money for months so that she could purchase Hal his first two guitars; one a small paste-board rhythm guitar, that didn't hold up very long in the severe humidity of northeast Texas, and the next a Silvertone Electric which he still has in his collection.




By 1963 at the age of 9 years, Hal had shared the stage with the likes of Joe Paul Nichols at Hagensport, Texas. Years later, Hal met bassist David Floyd after accepting an invitation from Ed Hammonds to play at the Wildflower Trails Festival near Hughes Springs, Texas. David had played professionally for several years and had many connections to several excellent musicians. Hal and David helped form the band “The Dixie Review”in 1978. It's original members included Hal, David, Hugh Blair, Ronnie Henry, Tim Hightower, and Rocky Hollingsworth. Their first performance was at the Harts Bluff school in Mount Pleasant.



The Dixie Review's gigs consisted of family events, picnics, family reunions, and local Opry's and Jamborees. Their first ongoing stage show was with The Parker Jamboree in Mount Pleasant. The Dixie Review was hired in 1981 as the house band and performed the first Saturday night each month for two years. During this time professional local Burton Harris (former lead guitar player for Jim Reeves) was added to the house band. The Parker Jamboree became very popular and, as the crowds began to increase, Mr. Parker had to relocate the Jamboree to the old Cookville High School Gym in Cookville, Texas. Allegedly, this was the same stage that Elvis performed on in the mid 1950's.



A few years after the Parker Jamboree closed, Colonel Buster Doss heard the band perform and invited them to join the house band at the Frontier Jamboree in Mt. Pleasant. This newly opened show was held in the historic Martin Theater in downtown Mount Pleasant. After a few years, the Colonel left town and the bank foreclosed on the Martin Theater. But the experience at the Frontier Jamboree was not a total loss because it was here that Hal was introduced to vocalist Jacque (Freeze) McElhaney. This on-stage partnership has continued through three decades until the present.



After the closing of the Frontier Jamboree, Hal performed on several other Texas shows. He enjoyed his experiences at the Winnsboro Opry, the Gladewater Opry, in Waxahachie at the Chautauqua Auditorium, and at the Oak Lawn Opry in Texarkana.



In 1989 Burton Harris contacted Hal with the goal of reopening a show at the Martin Theater. Hal discussed this with the Dixie Review and they all agreed to help Burton. The name of the show was changed to The Pleasant Jamboree. Their Saturday night jamboree had continuous shows for 20 years and was one of the longest running shows of any community jamboree in Texas. Hal was a regular member of the Pleasant Jamboree all those years. The declining health of Burton Harris brought about a change of ownership to Carr Denman, Jr. The Pleasant Jamboree's doors finally closed December of 2009.




During those years at the Pleasant Jamboree, Hal enjoyed getting to work with several well-known and famous performers. That list included Hank Thompson, Jack Greene, Billy Walker, Johnny Gimble, and Leann Rimes. He also enjoyed working with up-and-coming musicians and stars such as Travis Terrell, Taylor Heard, Casey Rivers, and Kaci Brown...just to name a few. It was here that Hal was introduced to keyboardist/producer Harry King