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How does one describe The Glory Bugles, the slightly off-key gospel quartet that will hilariously entertain the Martin Methodist College Homecoming 2012 audience on Friday night, Feb. 17?
Various writers have called them, “the Goodmans on a bad day” … “the Stamps Quartet all stamped out” … “The Gaithers on acid … or with acid reflux.” What they have never been called is dull, boring or lackluster comic actors.
The audience members lucky enough to be in Martin Hall Auditorium when they take the stage at 7 p.m. will find out for themselves when The Glory Bugles perform “800 Miles Off Broadway,”
the Della Clayton Lee Cultural Arts Series event for Homecoming 2012.
Tickets are $7 a person, with all students (kindergarten through college) and members of the Martin Methodist College Alumni Association admitted free of charge. Seats can be reserved by calling 363-9815.
The Glory Bugles – Beulah Byrd, Queenie Delphine, Farley T. Byrd III and Dr. Harley Never, Ph.D – hailing from the fictional town of Box Springs, Tenn., are actually Bonnie Keen, Nan Gurley, Wayne Gurley and Stevan Pippin, four acclaimed actors and singers from the very real city of Nashville, and their melody-challenged gospel quartet has been making audiences laugh for more than 20 years.
It’s not just how the Bugles sing that brings out the good-natured humor, it’s what they sing … songs such as “If Your Hair’s Too Long There’s Sin in Your Heart,” “Hallelujah To Ya” and “If John the Baptist Used the King James Version (It’s Good Enough for Me).” Even more than that, it’s all the gossipy goings-on in Box Springs that impact their well-intentioned but ill-fated goal of becoming gospel music stars.
Just their day jobs, for instance, provides enough material to make an author such as Fanny Flagg salivate: Queenie Delphine is owner of the local dance studio, Taps and Tutus, and is director of the Box Springs Fine Arts Center; Beulah Byrd is a baton twirler, poodle groomer and cosmetologist for the deceased at the Imagone Drive-Through Funeral Parlor; her husband, Farley, is director of Sinus Affairs at the Box Springs Industrial Ammonia Plant; and Dr. Harley E. Never, Ph.D (which stands for Pig and Hog Doctor), is an animal psychologist affectionately known as the “Pig Whisperer” and curator of the Box Springs Swine Institute, Museum and Gift Shop.
Yes, Box Springs sounds very much like Garrison Keilor’s Lake Wobegone with a southern drawl, and “800 Miles From Broadway” has been described as “A Prairie Home Companion” meets “Greater Tuna” or “This is Spinal Tap” on a gospel music tour.
“We’re very excited about having The Glory Bugles as part of our homecoming fun this year,” said Grant Vosburgh, coordinator of the Della Clayton Lee Cultural Arts Series. “This talented foursome has been performing as The Glory Bugles for more than 20 years, on stages from assembly halls and church fellowship halls to regional civic theaters and TPAC in Nashville, and the reviews all seem to include words such as ‘hilarious’, ‘hysterical’, ‘side-splitting’ and ‘tasteful, clever satire’.
“We think this show will fit right in with the fun and entertainment of the college’s homecoming festivities,” Vosburgh said.