BUSY BEE BAND & HONEYBEES
1981 - 1984
"Busy Bee Band Follies '81"
"HEY 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 the puppet interact.
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. Music Man And His Son
by Harry Lynch
What has 148 leg, is busy as a bee and goes "ooom pah, ooom pah, kick . . . 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 show.
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 Honeybees.
1981 Band boys bring "South Pacific" alive with "There is Nothing Like A Dame." From left: Richard Dixon, Mark Wilson, Pat Lunghi and Bob Shaver.
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 '83"
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.
May 1982: Invitation for Performances at the International Music Festival in Toronto, Canada
"Busy Bee Band Follies '84"
FOLLIES '84, choreographed to the music, "Manhatten", featured Annisso Zannino as the Queen, with Follies showgirls, from left: Michelle Sivak, Kim Straight, Zannino, Kristy Brzuzy, and Pam Stull.