The night before April Fools Day found a mixture of talent and, well, foolery, on stage at Maryville College Wilson Chapel auditorium.
The talent and the foolish antics all combined to benefit the children of Blount County who need some extra help, some necessary time and attention. The 2007 April Foolies raises funds for United Way Success By Six, the Blount County Advocacy Center New Hope, and Helen Ross McNabb Centers ChildNet.
April Foolies brings sponsored groups to the stage for their "talent" show, adds the hilarity of Barney Fife (Sammy Sawyer) and friends, tops it off with celebrity judges willing to be bribed and great audience participation. Stuffing the buckets of each act with money is a sure-fire bribe for the judges as money talks where this fund raiser is concerned.
There were nine acts in the 2007 Foolies. Jerry at the Piano brought the talented Jerry Pietenpol to the stage, who mixed his serious compositions with a dose of the theme from the Pink Panther and ended with a dual rendition of Chop Sticks. Dan Dangerfield, "cousin of Rodney," was a stand-up comedic act by Dan Thurman that had the audience in stitches. The MC Steppers, a dance group from Maryville College, stomped, clapped and moved their way to the stage for a rousing performance.
Then it was time for some serious foolery. Funk-a-Licious, last years winner, started their segment with Mike White in running attire and Ralph Goodson in a dress, reminiscent of their acts from years past. Mid-song, however, Ralph announced he was tired of being the "woman" in the act and suggested he and Mike mix it up a bit -- 80s style. What followed were lip-syncing to some very funny numbers featuring the two courageous performers.
Bufords Atomic Outhouse was a trio of Scott Hinds, Kevin Gilbert and Mike Fields on bass, drums and guitar. Their music and clowning around had the audience filing down the aisle to fill their bribery buckets and eventually earned them first place.
Addicted to Love showed what the classic "little black dress" should never look like as female versions of Dave Bennett, Scott Graves and Terry Gardner wooed a suit-clad Bethanie Rinicker with songs that included "Dont Cha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me" and "Baby Got Back."
Cans of Ham -- David Dwyer, Bert Smith, Steve Dupree, Tim Self, Jim Myers, Waclaw Koneczny and Edward Harper -- performed a musical skit in Monty Python fashion that kept the laughter going. When the final act, Michelle, the Big-Boned Gospel Girl lit up the stage with her songs, twinkling tiara and baton twirling, the judges had to be glad their decisions on winners was in the hands of the audience bribes.
Playing to a packed house, the acts spared nothing on stage, and the audience was thoroughly entertained. Master of Ceremonies Walker Johnson, Barney, Zero (John Hitch) and Ernest T. Bass (Chris Monday) kept the fun rolling between acts.
The money is still being counted, but preliminary figures indicate
more than $9,500 was raised at the 2007 Foolies.