Anderson Senior Follies perform at Alexander Hall
The Anderson Senior Follies returned to Fort Gordon and performed a high-energy, uplifting show for service members and civilians Oct. 17 in Alexander Hall. The free program paid tribute to the men and women of the American armed forces.
The company of singers, dancers, actors, and comedians from Anderson, S.C., performed back in 2007 for the first time at Fort Gordon. Many of the cast served in the military and all the performers are age 55 and older.
“For us it’s a huge honor to perform at Fort Gordon,” said Annette Martin, the Anderson Senior Follies director. “It gives us an opportunity to perform for our military heroes and give them something back for all they do.”
The cast gives 100 percent during the shows. “No matter what you ask the seniors to do, they give it to you and more,” Martin said. Every year the company creates a fresh, new show; sew hundreds of costumes; rehearse 50 new songs and dances as well as comedy skits.
This year’s show opened with the whole cast singing the chorus line of “One Singular Sensation.”
Throughout the program there were lots of comedy, skits, singing, tap and line dancing. During the show several male cast members representing the United States in the Olympics performed synchronized swimming in a makeshift stage Olympic-size pool. A drill sergeant put a group of male performers through drill and ceremony marching movements using lawn chairs instead of rifles.
In one scene, seniors raced around the stage on rollers skates while others rode land waves on surf boards and a few skillfully spun hula hoops to the tunes from the Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun.”
Several young Soldiers rose from their seats in the audience and participate during the “Y.M.C.A.” song by the Village People.
Lee Greenwood’s song, “God Bless the USA”, brought everyone to their feet. Soldiers waved their arms and sung along.
“ They are wonderful,” said Joan Franco, a visitor and resident of Philadelphia.
Before exiting Alexander Hall, many Advanced Individual Training Soldiers assigned to the 551st Signal Battalion, personally thanked the performers. “Hooah!” said Pvt. Timothy Banks. “It was awesome!”
“I loved it! “ Pfc. Torri Johnson said.
“It was more than I expected,” Pvt. Lawrence Jones said. “It really motivated me.”
The company celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The seed for Anderson Senior Follies was planted in 1989 when Dr. Mark Hopkins, then president of Anderson College in South Carolina, passed his follies idea along to Dr. David Larson, then director of the Anderson College Fine Arts Center. The company has appeared on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” Disney World and Epcot Center. They have also entertained on two Caribbean cruises and Congress presented them with the “Shining Light” Award for humanitarian service.