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2001 - 2004

2001 Presidential Inaugural Parade

January 20, 2001 - Washington, DC

2001 Presidential Inaugural Parade - Busy Bee Band

The Busy Bee Band & Honeybees march down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of President George W. Bush during his First Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2001.  Inaugural Parade Coverage

Busy Bee Band & Honeybees performing in the 2001 Presidential Inaugural Parade for George W. Bush on January 20, 2001.

2001 - 2002

2001 Pittsburgh Columbus Day Parade

Busy Bee Band at 2001 Columbus Day Parade, Pittsburgh

The Busy Bee Band & Honeybees participate in the 2001 Columbus Day Parade in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Busy Bee Band Presents Showcase 2002

2002 (2).jpg

The Busy Bee Band & Honeybees tried something new in 2002, by the name Busy Bee Band Showcase.  The show featured each section of the band scaled down the production numbers.  While many in the community enjoyed the scaled-down production, "it just was't a Follies" and the long-running Follies tradition returned in 2003.  Pictured above is Choreographer: Tracey Linn, Booster President: Gary Steele; and Director, Earl W. McConnell.

2002 Trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Busy Bee Band & Honeybees at EPCOT

The Busy Bee Band & Honeybees traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for their 2002 Spring trip.  Here they are photographed in front of the famous EPCOT sphere in EPCOT Center.

2002 - 2003

'They never gave up'
Team that rescued Quecreek miners honored at game; two reside locally

BY JULIE SHELDON - ​Times-West Virginian - Oct. 2, 2002


FAIRMONT --Members the Enlow Fork Mine Rescue Team, who were part of the rescue operation this past July in the Quecreek Mine at Somerset, Pa., were honored in a ceremony before the East Fairmont High School Bees vs. North Marion Huskies ball game Friday evening.


Two of the members of the team, Shawn DeWitt and Doug Shaffer, are from Marion County. DeWitt is a 1983 graduate of EFHS and Shaffer is a 1984 graduate of North Marion. Both of the men still reside in Fairmont.  The team was honored in a special performance by the EFHS band. The band performed the John Denver hit "County Roads" for the team.


"There are few heroes in this world. There are a lot of people who are idolized for what they do. When you talk about risking lives to save another fellow human being that's a hero," said EFHS band director Earl W. McConnell.  McConnell said he felt honored that the men would travel to see the band perform for them.

Marion County Commissioner Cecily Enos was also on hand to present a proclamation to the rescue team, declaring Oct. 4 Enlow Fort Mine Rescue Squad Day.  "We have so many heroes since 9/11 and these men are right up there with them. They never gave up and were determined to rescue those men," said Enos.

Busy Bee Band & Honeybees honor Quecreek minors in 2002

The Busy Bee Band & Honeybees make a block USA at East-West Stadium as the honor the Quecreek miners during pre-game on October 2, 2002.

Despite being hometown heroes, Shaffer and DeWitt were humble, giving credit to all of the rescue workers who helped with the mine accident. "I really appreciate them doing this for us. It really makes us feel good that our hometown would do something like this for us," said Shaffer.


"People say we rescued them; we didn't rescue them - we were a part of a group. Everybody there had a group and a part to play in it, and thank God it turned out the way it did," said DeWitt.


"It could have been one of us in our group and we would want someone to come help us like we helped them," said Shaffer.


Shaffer and DeWitt said the feeling was indescribable when the nine miners were recovered and all nine were alive.

Leave it to Busy Bee Band director Earl W. McConnell to come up with such a great idea as he has planned for tonight's pre-game show at the East Fairmont-North Marion game.  Inviting the members of the mine rescue squad from Somerset was a most thoughtful idea. The fact that one of them, Shawn DeWitt, is a 1983 East High graduate makes it a "natural" as does the fact another team member, Doug Shaffer, is a North Marion graduate.

Pa. woman writes to band
Sends letters out giving East Fairmont Busy Bees and Honey Bees rave review

BY JENNI VINCENT - ​The Dominion Post - Oct. 25, 2002


FAIRMONT --Visitors to East Fairmont High School Thursday morning probably heard the Busy Bee Band and Honey Bees long before spotting them.  Spirits were running high --despite the damp, cold morning air -- as band director Earl McConnell Jr. urged the students to give it their all.


"Horns up! Alright, let's go. Come on, we can make it look better," he said into a bullhorn, watching intently as they began to rehearse a field show for one of the last football games of the season.

The words were barely out of his mouth before music spread across the parking lot below East Fairmont High.


That's the kind of dedication that caught the eyes -- and ears --of a Pennsylvania woman when the band performed last month at the Upper St. Clair Band Festival.  Tammy Seelnacht was so impressed with their show that she's since sent letters of appreciation to the band, McConnell and Marion County Superintendent of Schools Tom Long -- as well as to the local media.


"I was immediately in awe as East Fairmont marched onto the field. Their clean lines and awesome sound was something spectacular to behold," Seelnacht's letter reads.  "I felt as if I were watching a college band in their full glory," it continued. "A standing ovation by a pleased crowd completed their performance and put a wide smile on my face. Kudos to these young and dedicated Bees!"

2002 Upper St. Clair Band Festival - Busy Bee Band

The Busy Bee Band performs at the 2002 Upper St. Clair Band Festival

McConnell, who worked with his father before taking over for him in 1989, was happily surprised that someone he didn't even know would go to such lengths to sing the band's praises -- especially in such a public way.  This type of recognition has happened occasionally before, he said.  "Especially when we've played out of the area and someone has seen us perform for the first time, occasionally they will drop us a line -- which means more to us than I can tell you," he said.

"It's especially nice because the kids had done such a great job that day -- I was really proud of them. In fact, they received two standing ovations. So it's nice when someone else feels the same way and takes the time to tell you," McConnell said.


EFHS was the only out-of-state band to attend the Upper St. Clair festival, but that was done at the invitation of the event organizer who liked what he had seen when the Busy Bee Band had performed previously, he said.

Honeybees at Upper St. Clair Band Festival 2002

The Honeybees showoff their 2002 kickline at Upper St. Clair

As part of their show, the 185-member band (which includes the majorettes, known as the Honey Bees) performed favorites such as "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "Sing, Sing, Sing" which features the huge 55-gallon barrel drums, McConnell said.  Members of the Busy Bee Band drum section playing on the "barrels".


Going into a new environment is exciting for McConnell, EFHS teacher Tracey Linn who does choreography for the Honey Bees and their students.  "I kind of like feeling like we're going in as the underdog and then hopefully we surprised them," he said with a proud smile.


Just four years ago, the band traveled to California for an appearance in the Rose Bowl Parade. They've played Pittsburgh Steelers football games and have traveled throughout the eastern part of the country.

"This kind of shows that you don't have to be in the wealthiest community and you don't have to have a tremendous amount of school money in order to keep your program going," McConnell said. "And that's the beauty of our program because the community supports us so well."


Senior Rosanna Layman, who plays the clarinet and is an assistant band commander, said she was pleased to have give the audience something different.  "I guess when we first came on they may have thought we were just another band -- that we march the same way as the others. But when they saw us, they got really excited," Layman said.


Band Commander Joey Myers, who plays the drums, was especially pleased with the complimentary letter.  "I really like that she thought we were a college band, because that's quite a compliment," he said. "The reason we sound like a college band is because Mr. McConnell pushes us to play at that level. He wants us to do our very best."


Myers said the barrel drums are usually a big crowd pleaser.  "That's because they're big and loud, plus we put them right up front by the audience so they can see all of the crossovers and technical stuff we do. They are really neat," Myers said.

Busy Bee Barrels perform at 2002 Upper St. Clair Band Fest

The Busy Bee Band Barrels perform at the 2002 Upper St. Clair Band Festival

Chris Ward, a senior who plays trombone and is also an assistant band commander, joked that this kind of praise makes all of the hot, sweaty days at band camp seem worthwhile.  "I also like the traveling we've done. Being in the Rose Parade was a humbling experience, especially when we made that wide turn onto Colorado Boulevard because there were like a million people right there," he said.

Senior Crystal West, an assistant band commander who plays the flute and piccolo, said she knew from the start that being in the Busy Bee Band would take a lot of work and dedication.  Still, she never considered quitting.  "This letter is really nice and unexpected, but it makes you realize that people really do listen to you and enjoy our music. Plus it's exciting to know that we could compete with bands from these bigger schools," West said. "And I was proud that our style was a lot different than theirs."


David Carpenter, a senior who plays trumpet and is an assistant band commander, said his band days have helped prepare him for the real world.

2003 - 2004

For the second time, the Busy Bee Band & Honeybees traveled to the State of Ohio for a very unique and high profile Band Spectacular hosted by the Massillon "Tiger Swing Band"

2003 Massillon Tiger Band Review

September 20, 2003 - Paul Brown Tiger Stadium

Busy Bee Band at 2003 Massillon Tiger Band Review

The Busy Bee Band & Honeybees perform at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for the Massillon "Tiger Swing Band" Review in Massillon, Ohio on Sept. 20, 2003.

Busy Bee Band at 2003 Massillon Tiger Band Review
Busy Bee Band at 2003 Massillon Tiger Band Review

Queen Bee Kate McConnell and Band Commander Kevin Mick receive congratulations and plaque from Massillon Tiger Swing Band Announcer, Bob Wenzel

Busy Bee Band at 2003 Massillon Tiger Band Review

59th Annual Toyota Gator Bowl

January 1, 2004 - Jacksonville, Florida


Busy Bee Band & Honeybees in the 59th Annual Toyota Gator Bowl

Highlights from each day:

Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday

WVU Mountaineers Logo

The Busy Bee Band & Honeybees of East Fairmont High School recently participated in the 59th Annual Toyota Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida.  A January 1st tradition, the Gator Bowl featured the Maryland Terrapins and the West Virginia Mountaineers.  The Terrapins topped the 'Eers in the game by a score of 41-7.

The group departed for Jacksonville on Monday, December 29 on five Central Cab charter buses.  On Tuesday, the band was given the opportunity to practice their field show at a nearby high school before making a quick trek to the Atlantic Coast for some fun in the sun.  Tuesday evening, the Busy Bee Band & Honeybees joined other high school groups from across the country for a field show competition.

The morning of December 31 marked the first opportunity for the bands to meet to rehearse for the "Mass Band".  Following rehearsal, the band joined in the Winn-Dixie Hometown Gator Bowl Parade.  The Gator Bowl Parade is one of Jacksonville's finest parades, featuring the world famous Clydesdale's, colorful floats, high school bands, giant helium balloons, both college bands, cheerleaders, mascots and entertaining specialty units. The parade steps off in grand style at 1:00 p.m. as it makes it way through beautiful Downtown Jacksonville.

Wednesday night, the group joined all other participating bands for a New Year's Eve Party hosted by Bowl Games of America at the Prime E. Osburn Convention Center in Downtown Jacksonville and quickly returned to their hotel in preparation for the following day's Gator Bowl.

On January 1, 2004, the group returned to Alltel Stadium for a final rehearsal with the other groups.  At 12:30 p.m., a national NBC audience tuned-in for the Toyota Gator Bowl.  At halftime, the Busy Bee Band & Honeybees joined nineteen other bands from around the country as they entertained the 78,000+ in attendance at the game.  The group returned home on Friday, January 2nd.

Pictures from the trip can be found in the day-to-day highlights.  If you took pictures that you would like to be possibly used on the web-site or for the archives, please contact Mike Swisher.


Highlights from each day:

Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday

Busy Bee Band & Honeybees perform at the Iwo Jima Marine Corps War Memorial in Spring of 2004

The Busy Bee Band & Honeybees perform at the Iwo Jima Marine Corps War Memorial in Spring of 2004.  Full Story of 2004 DC Trip


Clyde Dodd cuts the ribbon to dedicate the new Veterans Memorial Plaza at East Fairmont High School. L-R. Mr. Hershel "Woody" Williams, Mrs. Bernie Dodd, Mr. Keith Holt, Mr. Clyde Dodd and Major Michael Morrison. .

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