The Garden Bugs Rap Their Way to a Gold Medal


By Judie Holcomb-Pack

When Brenda Smith decided to enter the Piedmont Plus Senior Games in the performing arts division, she knew what she wanted to be – a honey bee! Brenda’s hobby is entomology (working with bugs). She enjoys giving presentations to students about her favorite bug, the honey bee, but what could she do to pull together a winning performance in the competition?

That’s when she wrote a song about honey bees to music by Black-eyed Peas, “Imma Be.” Brenda’ nickname is “Miss Bee,” so that seemed an appropriate song to sing. The only problem was … she couldn’t sing! But she thought she could rap it. Then the second problem arose … she was afraid to get on stage by herself.

Brenda soon talked her friend, Vicki Campbell, into being a back-up dancer as a butterfly, and they both convinced another friend, Martha “Ann” Covington to join the troupe as a ladybug. With Brenda as Miss Bee, and back-up butterfly and ladybug, they named themselves The Garden Bugs and started practicing their routine.

When they performed at the 2016 Senior Games/SilverArts performance competition, Brenda was shocked by the audience’s response – they went wild with cheers and applause! She had no idea they would receive such a positive response and it brought tears to her eyes. Not surprisingly, they won a gold medal for first place, giving them the opportunity to compete at the N.C. State Games in September 2016 to represent Piedmont Plus Senior Games.

In Raleigh, they added a featured performer, Miss Shirley who, at 76 years old, stole the show with her amazing talent as a dancing caterpillar. The troupe came in second place and won silver medals. As Brenda said, “It’s as close to Hollywood I have ever gotten.”

Since that time, The Garden Bugs have taken the “show on the road,” performing in the High Point Has Talent competition, where they were the only performers to receive a standing ovation from the audience. The Garden Bugs have plans to visit local nursing homes and retirement centers to entertain residents with their unique show. They also plan to offer simple workout routines for senior groups in the Triad, as well as continuing to perform as the Garden Bugs.

When she is not rapping about bees, Brenda is a substitute teacher and has taught drama to children in economically challenged communities since 1992 through her company, Play Play Production Drama Company. Vicki Campbell is a secretary for Guilford County Schools and loves music and dance, and joined the Garden Bugs so that she would be more active. Ann Covington works at Walmart and “loves hanging out with the group.” Brenda would also like to occasionally add a “featured” performer and is looking for interested seniors to join them.

When asked why she decided to compete in Senior Games, Brenda answered, “I want to motivate other seniors to get up and move!” She enthusiastically recommends to anyone over age 55 to compete in the Senior Games SilverArts performance competition.

She added, “Nothing is fun by yourself. You have to get some brave souls to go with you and go for it!”

For more information on The Garden Bugs or Play Play Production, email Brenda Smith at


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