Luther grad and nationally recognized musician Mollie Busta has been named the host of a new television show that begins airing in July.
Busta, a popular performer from the Jim Busta Band of Spring Grove, Minn., and SqueezeBox, a polka band based in Northwest Ohio, will lead the polka television show, "Mollie B Polka Party," on the satellite and cable based RFD-TV.
Busta is the daughter of Jim and Mary Lou Busta of Spring Grove, a 1997 graduate of Spring Grove High School and a 2001 graduate of Luther College.
Busta currently lives in Ridgeville Corners, Ohio, but will be home during the summer to perform with the Jim Busta Band at Nordic Fest, Thursday, July 28, for music in the park in Caledonia and Spring Grove and the Fourth of July celebration in Harmony, Minn.
"Mollie B Polka Party" is a one-hour program that will feature the nation's top polka bands and a wide variety of ethnic styles produced on location at music festivals from around the country. Along with her fiancé and SqueezeBox member Ted Lange, Busta also will serve as creative director to expand and improve RFD-TV's prime-time polka programming.
"Because Ted is so knowledgeable about the field and very passionate about it, I wanted to go into this huge project as a team. I will be the face in front of the camera, but he will do plenty of work with the bands before and during the shows," Busta explained.
The first tapings are in Wahoo, Neb. from June 13-16 at the Starlight Ballroom. More than 24 different bands will be recorded over the four days, including one- to two-hour sets by the Jim Busta Band and SqueezeBox.
Busta will introduce the various bands in addition to interacting with the on-site audience on the dance floor. Additional tapings are planned for 2011 in the Midwest and Texas.
"Mollie B Polka Party" premieres Saturday evenings at 9 p.m. starting July 2. It also will be shown Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Thursdays at 8 "We are so excited to have Mollie B bring her talents and knowledge of polka music to RFD-TV/RFD HD," stated Patrick Gottsch, founder and president of Rural Media Group Inc. "Mollie's passion and enthusiasm for polka music is infectious, and I have no doubt that our large polka-loving audience is going to embrace Mollie's fresh approach and new ideas to take polka to the next level that RFD-TV's viewers have been requesting for quite some time now."
"I am so proud to now be a part of the RFD-TV team", Busta said. "In many ways, I believe that I have been training for this opportunity nearly all my life. Over the past 10 years, no television channel has done more for polka music than RFD-TV. Ted and I, along with the support of polka bands from all corners of this great country, look forward to helping RFD-TV take polka music into its next decade."
A second polka program, modeled in a "Battle of the Polka Bands" format, also is being organized by Busta and Lange and will be launched on RFD-TV later in 2011. Tapings for that program will take place at RFD-TV "The Theatre" in Branson, Mo. The television viewing audience will be invited to vote for their favorite polka band each week, with winners moving on to additional rounds on the show.
A grand finale, with the top two bands performing live on RFD-TV, will conclude the competition.
Branson Christmas special
Also planned is a "Mollie B Christmas Special," which will be taped at the RFD-TV Theatre with a live studio audience and will showcase Busta playing multiple instruments in addition to singing.
"To have my own Christmas show in Branson is really a dream come true," Busta commented.
Her parents are planning a bus trip to Branson to watch many Christmas shows there in addition to Busta's "Mollie B Christmas Special."
Contact Jim and May Lou Busta at firstname.lastname@example.org or (507) 498-5896 if interested in making the trip.
On stage since 3
Busta received her bachelor's degree from Luther in music (voice and trumpet). She was a soprano soloist in the college's production of Handel's "Messiah" and Mozart's "Requiem." She received her master's degree in instruction from St. Mary's University of Minnesota.
Busta has performed polka music at the Library of Congress and Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington, D. C. and for Iowa Governor Chet Culver's inauguration gala. She was named favorite female vocalist of 2008 and 2009 by the United States Polka Association.
She moved to Ohio to join SqueezeBox. When she's not working on her new show or with her bands, Busta teaches 45 voice and piano students on a weekly basis out of her home.
She first performed on stage with her father at the age of 3 and by the time she was 8, she was chording on the keyboard with the Jim Busta Band.
She performed many roles in musicals at Spring Grove's Ye Olde Opera House in Spring Grove; her favorite was Maria in "Sound of Music."