Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

January 6, 2014

The joy of playing songs


CROSSVILLE — Born and raised on the Plateau, Tex Van Winkle has been playing music for 26 years. He worked in his younger years in the construction industry, building many homes in the area. He still likes laying rock. What he enjoys the most is family, riding and caring for his horses and playing music.

At the age of 42, he had to quit working, and by the time he reached the age of 52, just like the doctor said he would, Van Winkle was totally blind, not able to see a thing. Like most folks he felt down for a period of time. It wasn’t until he went to the Tennessee Rehab Center's blind division in Smyrna that he found hope and enjoyment in his musical talent after studying music theory.  

Today, Tex is now 61 years of age and enjoys playing gospel everywhere he is asked. He does not read the music, but plays by what he listens to in songs on CDs. He gives music lessons and can tell you all about the instruments, how to read the music and more that you cannot learn from books. He will gladly teach you the joy of playing songs.

Keyboard music lessons with Van Winkle starts Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 3 p.m. at the Fair Park Senior Center. Sign up and bring your keyboard.


Have you always enjoyed dancing? Tap dance classes are restarting with dance instructor Billie Brannon on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 2 p.m. Billie didn’t really get started with tap until she was a senior and loves it. She also enjoys teaching others. Make your own music with taps, or just enjoy being active with soft shoes. Either way you’ll be active!

If ballroom dancing sounds better to you, lessons will start on Tuesday Jan. 21 at 2:30 p.m. with instructor Cheron Stenson and her dance partner, David Sheffield. They are both very experienced and would love to show you the many steps to popular ballroom dances. If the doctor says get a more active life, you might as well have fun dancing to a healthier new you this year.

Fifth degree black belt instructor Larry Potter will be conducting another fun 10-week Senior Self-Defense class, starting Friday, Jan. 17, at 1 p.m. Larry wants to help everyone to become more ready and self confident in defending themselves at a moment’s notice. Anyone can learn and everyone loves the class. Call to learn more and sign up.

Bilbrey Funeral Home in Crossville helps sponsor the arts at Fair Park.


Have you ever notice in the late fall and early spring the thousands of cranes that gather whopping and hollering to meet over the Plateau as they flock together heading to or from their migration. As many as 12,000 of these majestic birds spend the entire winter just south of here, at the fork of the Hiwassee and Tennessee Rivers.

You can see bald eagles, other wildlife and hopefully find a rare whooping crane, as the cranes dance and call to each other. The festival has merchandise, food, special displays, wildlife exhibits and a full schedule of entertainment. Tommy Cole will be taking a van load of seniors to the annual Sandhill Crane Festival on Saturday, Jan. 18. If you would like to go, get signed up today before the van is full.

Meet your old buddies and make new friends this year at the Fair Park Senior Center, located across the street from the fairgrounds at 1433 Livingston Rd. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call 484-7416, email or just check out the center's website at