a favorite for performer
- By REKA JELLEMA
- Holland Sentinal,
- Singer Ralna
English is no stranger to southern hospitality. But the Texas
born-and-bred belle believes that niceness is synonymous with
the Midwest."That wonderful Midwest hospitality, there's
nothing like it," gushed "The Lawrence Welk Show"
star in a phone interview from her Scottsdale, Ariz. home. "The
nicest people in the world come from the Midwest."
- Perhaps English's
high opinion of the region is why she keeps coming back to perform
at Tulip Time. She said whenever she appears at the festival,
she receives a warm and wonderful "welkom" from Holland
residents and tourists alike.
- "I love
that town and the people there," she said of Holland. In
fact, English said she couldn't wait to perform at Tulip Time,
hang out with festival president Mary Duistermars and check out
- The songbird
will join two other popular Lawrence Welk acts, accordion player
Myron Floren and marimba player Jack Imel, in two Tulip Time
shows. They will perform at 4:30 and 8 p.m. Thursday, May 9,
at Central Wesleyan Auditorium, 446 W. 40th St. Tickets are $20-$22.
- English began
performing as a youngster in Texas. Her professional career was
launched with a junior high school rock 'n' roll band in Lubbock.
- Soon she
was appearing on local television shows and making personal appearances
in surrounding towns where she would literally perform on the
back of a flat-bed truck in the middle of the town square.Her
career took off when she moved to Los Angeles and won gigs singing
in Las Vegas. When not performing overseas, she performed with
other entertainers, such as Jim Nabors, Steve Martin and Vikki
Carr at The Horn in Santa Monica. It was appearances at this
famous night spot that led to her long stint as a star of "The
Lawrence Welk Show."
- The Stars
of Lawrence Welk have a lot to celebrate, especially this year,
English said. Not only is "The Lawrence Welk Show"
the No. 1-rated syndicated weekly series on public television,
but the show has been on the air for 50 years.
Lawrence Welk Show' is the only show that's still in production
after 50 years," she said.
personality Larry King recently aired a special tribute honoring
Welk. English joined other popular Lawrence Welk stars including
dancer Bobby Burgess and Lennon Sister Janet Lennon on the show.
The Welk regulars were joined by Welk's son and grandson.
- It was a
lark, she said.
as we were walking out of the studio, I turned to Bobby (Burgess)
and said to him, 'What just happened?' It was like a whirlwind,"
she said of the show.
- English said
that King was curious to hear what it was like to be on the Welk
show, where all the performers were paid scale. He also wanted
to know what Welk himself had been like.
asked if Lawrence was after the ladies," English said. "We
all died laughing, because that's as far from Lawrence Welk as
you can get. He was very straight and narrow. The only woman
in his life was (his wife) Fern."
- The vocalist
is very proud of her involvement with "The Lawrence Welk
- "A lot
of us (who got our start on the show) are still going strong,"
- English herself
has joined three other Welk alumni to form a singing group called
the 4 Wunnerful Women. She and Ava Barber, Mary Lou Metzger and
Gail Farrell are having a grand time singing together, she said.
she keeps busy with charity work. English is an ambassador for
Childhelp, U.S.A., a nonprofit group dedicated to ending child
- But, performing
is still her first love.
has been my whole life, basically," she said.