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Minstrel show was a huge success in Adena

April 14, 2011
By ESTHER MCCOY - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

The community in and around Adena is truly blessed with great talent in song, music performance and comedy ... well, even gymnastics if you counted Dennis Kinsey and Darrin Young's performance in the "Peter Pan's Flying Lesson" segment.

As you might have guessed, the Lions Club 61st-annual Minstrel Show was based on "A Wonderful World of Disney" theme.

I was biting my nails when Kinsey climbed a ladder, preparing to jump on an elevated board where Young was standing. This was to get Young airborne, return to the board and get his buddy launched. I let myself breathe a bit better when Dennis descended several rungs on the ladder before jumping. For a minute, I thought I was seeing "Wacked Out Sports," a program I watch when I can't sleep late at night.

Anyhow, Dennis jumped, and the board was rigged to break and neither one took off up to the Buckeye West Auditorium ceiling.

As John Parkinson, the interlocutor, announcer in our language, and a participant in all the minstrel shows throughout the 61 years, said, "I'm not sure that part will be in the program."

Getting back to the Disney theme, there were some truly beautiful songs performed.

Before his flying lesson, Darrin Young sang "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" from the "The Lion King" that I thought was very good. Jessica Harr looked the part of Cruella de Vil in a black and white hairdo, white fur coat and dazzling red shoes as she sang the song from "101 Dalmatians."

Marty Packer was dressed as an Indian maiden while singing "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas, and Mary Carter and Kathy Oxley took me back to the days of a young Haley Mills playing twins in "Parent Trap" when they sang and danced to "Let's Get Together."

Julie Erwin opened the show singing "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King," with the large chorus singing backup and young people in the front row moving glow-in-the-dark hula hoops in rhythm to the music.

The endmen did a hilarious version of "Heigh-Ho" as the seven dwarfs from the movie "Snow White." They joked about having 14 dwarfs in the beginning: Hairy, Scratchy, Tootie, Trumpy, Pointy, Drunky and Nudie males and Tiny the only female dwarf. Maybe Trumpy said "You're fired," and the last seven were eliminated.

Rich Steffl, who was one of the seven dwarfs in another skit, sang "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" from the first movie for me to cry, "Song of the South," when the little child got killed, and they were singing a funeral dirge while going to the cemetery.

Carrie George and Joe Jancura sang "A Whole New World," from Aladdin, and Mike Zonkoski sang "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan.

Dennis Kinsey and his daughter, Danessa, did a fantastic song of singing "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from Mary Poppins. Shucks, it was hard for me to even spell it.

I liked Rich Bolock's singing of "You've Got a Friend in Me," maybe because I have seen Toy Story at least six times.

Kelsey Fithen sang "Reflection" from Mulan, and there was a Winnie the Pooh skit with the endmen and all characters in animal costume. Drew Case and Darrin Young did a "Walter Goes to Disney World" skit.

Roger Warren sang "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio. Valarie Zamski sang "Beauty and the Beast" from that movie, and Joe Jancura, Julie Erwin and the entire cast sang "Golden Dream" from American Pavilion at Epcot for a moving ending, with a chorus member dressed in a bright red gown carrying out the American flag.

There is one number I didn't mention above because in my mind it was the hit of the night. Dr. Dan Jones, and he looks far too young to be a family physician at Harrison Community Hospital, sang "In the Jungle" from "The Lion King," with the backup of many members of the chorus. He was dressed like a lion and came down into the audience to sing part of the number. He was met by his very young daughter who was dressed as a lion cub. Whenever it was time to sing the last word of "the lion sleeps tonight," he gave the mike to her to sing. It was totally adorable.

John Parkinson introduced Lion dignitaries Tom Cahoon, district governor from Cambridge; R.J. Konkoleski of the Adena club, district governor first vice president; and Beth Johnson, district governor third vice president.

The show was dedicated in memory of Joseph Truini, the Adena Lions club president for two terms, with 42 years' perfect attendance, a Lions Club International Foundation honor roll member, a Melvin Jones Fellow, a Betty Coffey Award recipient, a member of 13 G Lions Hall of Fame and a long-standing cast member of the minstrel.

Also noted were Randy Bednarski, Lloyd Hutchison and Tom C. Shields, who were honored with Melvin Jones Fellowships, the highest accolade of the LCIF.

Bill Stephens and the Buckeye Local jazz band played for the warmup to the show. It was noted that the band members would be playing the National Anthem at the Pirates game April 26.

This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the club that makes donations to the Adena and Harrisville fire departments; girls softball, basketball and boys baseball leagues; Heritage Day; Adena Library; Boys State; Buckeye Local schools; Camp Echoing Hills events; Campaign Sight First I & II; Christmas baskets; Cub, Boy and Girl Scouts; Diabetes Research; eyeglass purchases, surgeries, vision machine and repairs; Harrisville Society of Friends; Jefferson County Soil and Water; flood relief; pilot dogs; St. Clairsville Lions charter; village needs, including Bedway Park; Adena Woman's Club; youth projects and many Lions state projects.

Job well done, Adena Lions, and all others who participated. You are the greatest.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and the Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at

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