"Busy Bee Band Follies
McCONNELL ... LET'S GET THIS SHOW STARTED"
... expounded KERMIT (Perry Morgan) and this
puppet would exchange dialogue with "The
Chief" in a manner no other mortal would
dare. Kermit's popularity proved successful for
many years, with hundreds showing nightly to see
Senator Robert C. Byrd with Director
E. W. McConnell, Sr., prior to his
congratulatory remarks at the 1981 "Follies".
Struttin' Their Stuff
In Fairmont Town
Editor On The Go
Follies In Fairmont...
Directed By West Virginia's Own Mr.
And His Son
By Harry Lynch
What has 148 leg, is busy as a bee and
goes "ooom pah, ooom pah, kick . . . kick . . .
It is the East Fairmont High School Busy
Bee Band and the fast stepping Honeybees folks up
Fairmont way would answer. And this group of talented
high school musicians were up to their old tricks
Saturday, April 1, when they closed out their 1982
edition of the Follies, an annual event that this year
entertained over 3,500 people during a seven night
performance schedule that started in March and concluded
in April. It was, of course, a "honey" of a
Co-directed by Earl W. McConnell, Sr. and
Earl W. McConnell, Jr., a father and son team, the East
Fairmont Band is one of the most active in the State of
West Virginia and is also considered one of the best. The
Honeybees, a sharp cadenced group of majorettes,
accompany the band and are received with justified
enthusiasm wherever they perform. They are also
co-choreographed by yet another McConnell, Millee, who is
the wife of the senior McConnell. Assisting Mrs.
McConnell is Tracey Boyles, a former member of the
1981 Band boys bring "South
Pacific" alive with "There is Nothing Like A
From left: Richard Dixon, Mark Wilson, Pat Lunghi and Bob
As an indication just how popular this
band is, this past school year, the Busy Bees and the
Honeybees appeared at half-time for three different NFL
football games, receiving invitations from the Pittsburgh
Steelers, the Washington Redskins, and the Cincinnati
Bengals. It is estimated that over 160,000 people watched
this show band from Fairmont, West Virginia strut their
stuff at these gridiron shenanigans.
The annual Follies is an exciting piece
of entertainment. Spiced with nostalgic and contemporary
musical hits, the band winds its way through Broadway
turns, TV themes and dance numbers. Even a touch of
mountain music is tossed in. The Honeybees in snappy
costumes and as poised as those "other" dancers
from the Big Apple bring a youthful vitality and energy
to the show that lifts the spirits. And, make no mistake
about it, the audience in this city in Marion County
knows quality when they see it and hear it. Frequently,
the performers are interrupted with applause.
The Busy Bees have been adopted by
Secretary of State, A. James Manchin as his
"official" band. Consequently he always manages
to attend one of the nights of Follies. As luck would
have it - I'm not sure it was good or bad luck - the
Secretary showed up the same night your editor arrived,
and we shared the same spotlight: Me, behind it; A. James
in front of it.
There is more in store for the Busy Bee
Band this year. They've been invited to perform at the
International Music Festival in Toronto, Canada this
coming May. As a result, Govenor Rockefeller, ala A.
James, has named the band Ambassadors of Good Will from
West Virginia to the Providence of Ontario, a title no
doubt they will wear will.
"Busy Bee Band Follies
FOLLIES '83 featured
a musical tabloid of early American time periods.
Left to right: Mr. Dan Radcliff as sailor in
crow's nest; Pilgrims - Linda Bunner and Mr. Andy
Petracca; Spirit of '76 - Mr. Richard
Hackett, Mr. Richard
Henderson and Mr. Kenneth Lough; Southern Belle
and Gentleman - Donna Henderson and Mr. Roger
Saurborn; Civil War Generals - Mr. Larry
Strawderman and Mr. Stan Brzuzy.
"Busy Bee Band
FOLLIES '84, choreographed to the
music, "Manhatten", featured Annisso Zannino as
Queen, with Follies showgirls, from left: Michelle Sivak,
Kim Straight, Zannino, Kristy
Brzuzy, and Pam Stull.
Members - 1981-1984
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