FRANKFORT — Frankfort is known more for gridlock than harmony, but on the final nights of the 2013 General Assembly there it was: a soft siren voice softly singing “Keep On The Sunny Side of Life.”
Just inside a tiny office just off the Senate floor, Bethany Fugal, 15, of Lawrenceburg, sat in her blue Constitutional Page’s Blazer, khaki skirt, a guitar across her crossed legs. On the couch opposite Bethany, her mother, Annette Fugal, strummed a mandolin while Roger Bondurant – a cameraman for Kentucky Education Television and well-known Lexington musician – played guitar.
Incongruent as the scene may have looked to someone watching the tense negotiations of legislators, it’s sort of a tradition. Former state Sen. and Republican Floor Leader Dan Kelly routinely retreated to his office to play “good old-timey music” during recesses and delays in legislative matters. Often accompanying him were Bondurant and Annette Fugal and one or more of her children.
It was Kelly who arranged for Bethany to work as a page in the Senate and who gave Bethany her first guitar lesson. Kelly is now a circuit judge in Washington County, but the Fugals are still making music.
Ask a few questions and the story gets more interesting.
Annette Fugal’s husband, Jens Fugal, works for the Legislative Research Commission. All of their 13 children play music. Kentucky is home but it hasn’t always been, though maybe the Fugals were destined to live here and Bethany destined to come under the spell of that old-timey music.
“Yes, I suppose it is both a genetic and spiritual connection,” Annette Fugal says of the family’s ties to Kentucky where they decided to put down roots – only to find their roots were already here.
The Fugals lived in Utah and California, members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints – Mormons as its members are popularly known. Among the Fugal children were twin sisters who took part in a National Institute of Health study of twins.