Archive for Sunday, December 10, 1989


December 10, 1989


The Kansas University carillonneur was the featured guest on a nationally broadcast public radio comedy show, which was heard live Saturday morning.

Albert Gerken, KU professor of music theory and music dance, was a guest on the show "Whad' Ya Know." The show was broadcast on public radio station KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Mo.

Gerken talked with the show's host, Michael Feldman, about Lawrence and what it was like to play the carillon, a 53-valve instrument located in the KU campanile.

"So, do you work on different riffs on the bells?" Feldman joked. "You don't pack your axe, I suppose, when you go on the road?"

"No, you have to play on the instruments that are available to you, which is rather unique because they're all different," Gerken responded.

LAWRENCE was the featured "town of the week," a regular segment of the show that last about 10 minutes.

The show's announcer Jim Packard, introduced Lawrence as "a town that has been burned more times than the Chicago Bears' defense."

"It was first called Wakarusa, then Yankeetown and New Boston, before settling on the name of its financial angel Amos Lawrence of Boston," Packard said.

"Not only did Lawrence provide funds to start the town, he is credited with providing seed money to open a presbyterian college on the high ground called Mount Oread overlooking the town. Today that school is the home the the Jayhawks Kansas University," he said.

"Lawrence was first sacked in 1856 by a pro-slavery posse and then again in 1863 by raiders, which destroyed most of the town's buildings. The ones that are left still show bullet holes caused by a disagreement between Sheriff Bat Masterson and a lynch mob," Packard said.

DURING THE "town of the week" segment, a resident of the featured town is called at random and Feldman asks questions that only a local person would know.

"Are you a good spokesman for Lawrence, Kansas," Feldman asked Gerken.

"I don't know, we'll find out won't we?" Gerken replied.

Gerken said KU and the many arts in Lawrence were two major attractions.

Feldman asked if the correct term for a carillon player was carillonneur or carillonist. "Was there some controversy about that in the business?" Feldman asked.

Gerken said the word carillon had a French root.

"Carion?" Feldman asked, "Isn't that what vultures eat?"

The weekly show is produced in Madison, Wis., by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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