MORE OF THE CHAMPAGNE MUSIC MAKERS
BUDDY MERRILL guitarist was born Leslie Merrill Behunin in Torrey, UT on July 16, 1936. He started out with guitars and touring at a young age, with his father's country & western band to many honky tonk joints. In 1955, at the ripe old age 19, he joined the Music Makers with his spectacular guitar work, and often teamed with fellow guitarist Neil Levang, who joined in 1959. Left the show in 1974 to pursue solo interests and to work in his high-tech recording studio. Has done many scores for commercials, TV and movies with a few more live appearances as either a soloist or part of a band. Now semi-retired, lives in Southern California. You can find more stuff about Buddy at his webpage.
JOE FEENEY Irish tenor...was born in Grand Island, NE on August 14, 1931. He studied music at St. Benedict's College in Atchinson, KS where he appeared in many college productions and Omaha radio stations. He also won a spot on Arlene Francis' "Talent Patrol" show, and from then on join the Welk show in 1957 until the show itself ended in '82. Some of his most popular numbers on the show include, "Sweet Lelani", "Danny Boy" and "White Cliffs of Dover". He was the proud father of ten children, and one of them, son Chris, toured with him on numerous concert appearances. Sadly, he passed away in Carlsbad, CA from emphysema on April 16, 2008 aged 76.
TOM NETHERTON baritone singer was born January 11, 1947 to a army family stationed in Munich, Germany. Later his family relocated back to the states to the locale of Bloomington, MN. At 16, he did missionary work in Peru, also served in Panama during the Vietnam conflict before choosing his career as an entertainer.  Discovered by some of Lawrence's friends in Bismarck, ND....he joined the show in late 1973 and with his smooth voice and boyish good looks became an instant favorite....especially with the girls. Since the show, Tom continues to perform live, and has done his share of commercials and TV appearances. Still performing regularly out on the road for his legion of fans, he's appeared in Williamsburg, VA; Greensburg, PA and Goshen, IN in recent years.
AVA BARBER country singer, was born in Knoxville, TN on June 28, 1954. She first started out singing in her older brother's rock 'n' roll band...but then turned mostly to country, where she sang on a local country music TV show, state fairs and at the WNOX Auditorium on Saturday nights. It was there she met her current husband Roger Sullivan, the drummer, and the two married in 1972. In 1974, she joined the Welk show as the "Country Gal" while pursuing her recording career. She had a pair of hits, "Waiting At the End of Your Run" and "Bucket To The South." After her Welk days, Ava did television appearances, mostly on The Nashville Network and ran a theater in Pigeon Forge, TN with fellow Welk alumni Dick Dale for four years. Ava & Roger still lives in Knoxville, both own the "Steamboats" sandwich shop, and still makes hundreds of concert dates a year. You can find more about Ava by checking out her webpage!
CISSY KING dancer was born Claire Yvonne King in Trinidad, CO on January 3, 1946 and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. While attending the University of New Mexico studying recreation and physical education...she danced well and often in ballroom competitions and dance contests with her brother John King. That caught the eye of Bobby Burgess, who was in search of a new partner when Barbara Boylan left...she soon became Bobby's new dancing partner and joined the Welk show in 1967 where she dazzled audiences until her departure in late 1978. Now living back home in Albuquerque, Cissy regularly teaches youngsters dance at her school, takes part in local stage productions while dabbling in real estate along with the occasional live concert appearance with her fellow Welk alumni.
TANYA FALAN vocalist also known as Tanya Welk, born May 4, 1948 in Glendale, CA. Extremely talented at a young age, and by the time she reached high school, Tanya could play the drums, sing a note, cello, bass, drums and xylophone. She even had sung in a rock band that did gigs at Disneyland. She joined the Welk show on New Year's Eve 1967...and soon caught the eye of Lawrence's son, Larry Jr. The two married later that spring and later had two sons, Lawrence the Third and Kevin. She remained with the show until 1977, and two years later...she and Larry divorced. Today, she lives in La Tuna, CA with her second husband Kenny Roberts and is an interior designer.
JIMMY ROBERTS vocalist was born April 6, 1924 in Madisonville, KY. As a young man, while pursuing a singing career....he did a stint as a GI, and worked in a auto plant in Detroit. Moving to Southern California in the early 50s...he joined the show in 1954, a year before its debut on ABC, and his smooth presence with his delivery of songs such as "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," and "My Old Kentucky Home," made him an audience favorite...especially with the ladies. He also was paired with Norma Zimmer in numerous numbers over the shows' run. Sadly in 1999...Jimmy lost his battle with bone cancer, leaving behind a legacy of class, character and good songs by "Gentleman Jim."
KEN DELO vocalist and comic cut up, was born in Detroit, MI on December 8, 1938. After a tour in the army, he moved to Australia in his early twenties with Johnathan Daly as part of the comic act "Delo and Daly." After a successful run, he moved back to the US...appearing in bit parts in movies, TV shows and the nightclub gig until joining the Welk Music Makers in 1969. He soon emerged as the show's "triple threat," singing, dancing, acting (especially singing and having a chat with the folks in the audience.) A man of many talents, he was also a hypnotist and an author of two books, The Frozen Horror and The Ugly Little Christmas Tree. Ken passed away on February 8, 2016 from complications of pneumonia aged 77. He is survived by his wife Marilyn, his two children Kimberly and Kevin, and several grand-children.
GUY HOVIS vocalist was born in Tupelo, MS on September 25, 1941. Attending the University of Mississippi...he originally wanted to be an accountant, but soon found music and showbiz more inviting. While paying his dues in nightclubs all over Los Angeles...he married Ralna English in 1969, the next year...he joined his wife on the Lawrence Welk Show as one half of "Guy & Ralna" which was one of the show's most popular acts ever. Since Welk, he has remarried, recently to Sarah (Sis) Lundy last year, and had worked as State Director for US Senator Trent Lott (R-Mississippi). Today, he and Sis make their home in Jackson, MS and he still sings live, either as a soloist or with his ex-wife Ralna, and spends time with his daughter Julie.
JACK IMEL talent and producer was born June 9, 1932 in Portland, IN. Starting at age four, he began taking tap dancing lessons, that later led to other talents like comedy, playing the triangle, the ukulele and the marimba (xylophone). As a young man, he performed in clubs, concerts, talent shows, theaters and county fairs and later did a tour in the Navy. Joined the Welk program in 1957 with an abundance of energy and ideas, so much so that a couple of years later, Lawrence and executive producer Jim Hobson gave Jack duties of Associate Producer. He also was in charge of the show's road tours and did comedy skits with Jo Ann Castle, the Lennons and Mary Lou Metzger. Jack, the father of five, passed away on April 30, 2017 aged 84.
JIMMY ROBERTS
TOM NETHERTON
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