The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

July 21, 2013

10 years of follies fun for talented seniors

MERCER COUNTY — The first Mercer County Senior Follies was themed “That’s Entertainment,” and entertainment is exactly what the cast has been presenting for a decade.

Donna Murray, 81, of Sharpsville, is one of the founders of the follies. “It was a dream come true,” she said. “Every year the show gets bigger; every year it gets better.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary for the variety show, which will be staged at 7 p.m. Aug. 3 and 2 p.m. Aug. 4 in the auditorium of Hickory High School, Hermitage.

The Mercer County Senior Follies came about when members of Toast of the Town Tappers – Bonnie Banick, Marilyn Moss, Michaelene Sasala and Murray – performed in a senior variety show in Warren, Ohio. That show left such an impression that the dancers decided to start a senior follies across the border.

“We have that kind of talent in Mercer County. Why can’t we do a show every year like they do?” Murray and her three co-founders wondered.

“That’s Entertainment” captured the spirit of the whole idea. It was a total variety show with skits, solos and dances.

“The thought was people can do whatever they do best.” Murray said. “It launched us beautifully.”

For this year’s show, “Age is Just a Number,” there are two directors and three choreographers.

Julie Morris directs the choir and Murray’s daughter, Maureen Murray-Jaklic is the music director.

Linda Lucas, who has a dance studio in Sharpsville, and Eileen Ferrence, who has been affiliated with several community theater performances are two of the choreographers.

Although Lucas’ sister and frequent follies choreographer Bonnie Banick is not one of the choreographers this year, Murray said Banick’s going to get credit whether she wants it or not.

“She’s a very modest person. She’s done a lot this year,” Murray said. “She’s staged numbers and choreographed three or four numbers.” Banick is planning to retire and move with her husband to Lexington, Ky.

For the 10th anniversary show, Murray said the cast numbers about 100 people ages 50 through 90.

“We have an amazing amount of talent on a senior level,” Murray said. “We have so many things that are so outstanding.”

To start the show, the senior chorus sings, “I Just Wanna Celebrate.”

The chorus started rehearsing in March, and meets three to four times a week for two hours at a time.

“Our chorus gets better and better in terms of harmony; it’s fantastic,” Murray said.

Skits, songs and dances abound at the anniversary show, including music from Broadway shows, oldies and rock ’n’ roll music.

Murray is particularly excited about the senior chorus’ rendition of “Love Shack” by the B-52s for their production number.

“We’re really rocking it,” she said. “We’re singing and we’re dancing. We’re having so much fun.”

The absolute top attraction in the first act, according to Murray, is the medley, “Moments We Missed,” which pays homage to past themes of the senior follies shows.

A unique way to start out the second act is a performance by the seniors with Hickory High School drama students.

To close the show, the chorus and cast members perform “Forever Young,” a bittersweet closing but very appropriate, Murray said.

One of Murray’s favorite shows was last year’s “Salute to Dick Clark – American Bandstand.”

“We all agreed if we can top that one, we’d be miracle workers because that was one great show,” Murray said. “The most memorable to date.”

The Mercer County Senior Follies is a yearly fundraiser. The proceeds go to the Mercer County Area Agency on Aging to pay down the mortgage on Shenango Valley Senior Community Center in Hermitage, Murray said.

If the coordinators, directors, and cast of the senior follies have it their way, the show will go on for many more decades.

Murray said new people come in every year and that’s the way they want it.

More and more young seniors are signing up for the show and that’s what is needed to keep it going on.

“We all bond. If you spend that much time with people you get to know them and you care about them and they care about you,” Murray said.

So many seniors who have nothing to do could join the show and their lives would change, according to Murray.

She said they would become acquainted with so many people and have reason to get up and do things in the morning.

“I wouldn’t trade one moment of time,” Murray said, “It’s just amazing, wonderful.”

Tickets are available from cast members, at Shenango Valley Community Senior Center, or at the door for $10 each.

Text Only
Local News
  • News briefs from April 18, 2014

    ‘Nonspecific threat’ prompts evacuation

    Supreme Court refuses to hear couple’s appeal

    Lung Association offering free radon test kits

    April 18, 2014

  • Man admits to choking; rape case is dropped

    A Greenville man on Thursday pleaded down a rape case to simple assault and continued to deny that he committed any sexual crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge issues tabletop ads injunction against couple

    A judge recently handed down an injunction prohibiting a Sharon man, his wife and two companies associated with the wife from working in the tabletop advertising business within 100 miles of Sharon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Tech waste eyed for new contact

    The current Hermitage solid waste contract was designed to increase recycling while reducing the amount of garbage placed at the curb, and it has lived up to its promise.

    April 18, 2014

  • WaterFire Rekindled

    WaterFire Sharon has chosen themes for its festivals to be held on three Saturdays in downtown Sharon. “Elements” will be the theme July 19, “Origins” for Aug. 23 and “Motion” for the Sept. 27 celebration.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 17, 2014

    Man arrested for running from accident scene

    UPMC, Southwest eyeing security at hospital

    Crashes cause diversion of Interstate 80 traffic

    Court supports prison term in chase case

    Woman gets 5-10 years in crash that killed officer

    April 17, 2014

  • Officials pledge support to sewer project

    Publicly declaring their intention to donate county land to the Upper Neshannock Watershed Authority, Commissioners Matt McConnell and John Lechner said there’s no need for Commissioner Brian Beader to worry about the loss of the sewer project at the Interstate 80/Route 19 interchange.

    April 17, 2014

  • Griswold Avenue fire Neighbors tried to save victim

    As flames and thick smoke poured out of a Sharon house Tuesday evening, neighbors rallied to try and save the man who lived there alone.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman nabbed, sister sought in assault

    Southwest Mercer County Regional police have arrested a Hermitage woman for breaking into a home in Farrell and beating a woman and are seeking the alleged assailant’s sister.

    April 16, 2014

  • Despite good deeds, man going back to prison

    Linda K. Kretzer had nothing but praise for Raymond C. McKelvey.

    April 16, 2014

  • 15-year-old legal battle returning to county court

    State Supreme Court has let stand a Superior Court decision sending a landmark medical malpractice case back to Mercer County Common Pleas Court.

    April 16, 2014

  • Southwest mulls how to adopt study points

    Even though some members of the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department had little respect for a study of the department completed by a consultant, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. pledged to implement as many of the study’s recommendations as he could.

    April 16, 2014

  • Beader plans to resign, just not yet

    Democratic Mercer County Commissioner Brian Beader acknowledges that he intends to resign, but said nothing will happen until after he meets privately with the county’s judges next Thursday.

    April 16, 2014

  • Wildlife fund for park Aiding Buhl Farm animals

    Some of Steven Jubelirer’s fondest memories of his mother, Natalie, was when they would walk together in Buhl Farm park, Hermitage.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • News briefs from April 15, 2014

    Man charged with attack on his wife in Walmart

    Woman arrested for stabbing man with knife

    3 injured in pickup-motorcycle crash

    April 15, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Sharonheraldnewspaper Facebook Page