Archive for Thursday, December 22, 2011

Heard on the Hill: ‘Opera Is My Hobby’ to air for the last time on KPR Dec. 30; Brazilian ‘Apprentice’ winner made a few friends at KU; provost teaches us the second verse of the alma mater

December 22, 2011


Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• An institution at Kansas Public Radio is coming to an end, according to a statement from KU.

The program “Opera Is My Hobby” will air its last broadcast from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, on KPR. The show, which has aired weekly since Sept. 19, 1952, has been airing encore broadcasts since its host, Jim Seaver, died in March at age 92.

Seaver, who also taught Western Civilization and ancient history at KU, hosted the show since its inception.

At the time of Seaver’s death, it was the second-longest public radio program with its original host in the country.

The last show will feature Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, which is typically performed around the New Year holiday.

• I should give some Heard on the Hill kudos to former volleyball player Jana Correa, who won the Brazilian version of “The Apprentice.”

I really enjoyed talking to those who knew her well while she was at KU. I heard a number of great stories, most of which I could actually print.

Here’s one little detail that didn’t make it into the main story.

She helped professor Paul Sneed edit a documentary film on the “squatter town” of a major Brazilian city, and made fun of him for looking “like such a dope” while interacting with people.

And she led KU’s Brazilian Club. Erin Sheridan, Correa’s friend, told me how Correa had tried to get her to join the club after she stopped by a few club meetings. Still, Sheridan wasn’t sure about joining. That was until one meeting when she stopped by and Correa informed her she had just been elected secretary of the group.

The folks I talked to described Correa as a charismatic, outgoing sort of person who’s occasionally a bit loud and occasionally a tad imposing, but the kind of person who, for those that know her, tend to be on her side of things.

I like those sorts of people, and am glad she’s $800,000 richer today.

• I got a holiday greeting from Provost Jeff Vitter on Wednesday. And in it he busted out the second verse of the alma mater, which I forgot even existed.

That verse goes like this: “Far above the distant humming / Of the busy town, / Reared against the dome of heaven / Looks she proudly down.”

The song actually has a third verse, too, which goes: "Greet we then our foster mother, / Noble friend so true, / We will ever sing her praises, / Hail to old KU."

After each verse, you're supposed to sing the chorus, the part about lifting ever onward, crimson and the blue, etc. I don't remember ever being in any situation where I've heard all three verses sung, but it would be interesting (and probably a little long) to hear that someday.

• If KU isn't your foster mother, Heard on the Hill certainly can be, especially if you submit a tip to


thirdplanet 6 years, 5 months ago

what the hell is a provost, sounds like a made up job if i've ever heard one.

motercyclejim 6 years, 5 months ago

yeah what is it some kind of makebeleive job?!!!! lololol

cato_the_elder 6 years, 5 months ago

With the last regular broadcast of "Opera is My Hobby," a legendary radio tradition will be gone. Hopefully, KANU will continue to broadcast Jim Seaver's shows from time to time, perhaps on special occasions. Jim Seaver was a beloved, iconic figure at the University of Kansas, and has been very sadly missed by many in Lawrence and elsewhere since his untimely death earlier this year.

ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 5 months ago

My thoughts to the Seaver fans, and indeed he sounded like a great man. I'll admit -- I always thought that was a syndicated show nationally, because he seemed so polished and dignified.

But, in his place, I hope that KANU will broadcast something newer and fresher than classical music -- there is enough classical music dominating the rest of the timeslots. I used to think NPR stations played 90% classical music with some cool stuff in between, but on a flight back from Florida, I spoke with a woman from Tennessee who said the Nashville-area NPR station (which is also in a college town) plays very little classical, and fills time with fresh genres like country, folk, bluegrass, and rock. When I told her about the KPR station in Lawrence, a hip college town, she was shocked that it played so much classical.

Public radio offers such a cool opportunity -- for new, interesting programming without advertisements -- that I'd hate to see it wasted on classical music for 23 out of 24 hours.

MarcoPogo 6 years, 5 months ago

Maybe they'll fill 23 hours with "Right Between the Ears".

Bunny_Hotcakes 6 years, 5 months ago

YES! 23 more hours of painfully unfunny SNL ripoffs! What a capital idea. ;)

bevy 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes, God forbid anyone who wants to escape the 9999 other stations that play country, folk, bluegrass and rock should have anyplace to turn to other than the internet. Stop befouling the airwaves with Mozart and Bach. Put on some Snoop Dogg and Justin Bieber, for God's Sake!

Incidentally, if you want some cool folk, bluegrass and Celtic music don't miss Trail Mix on Sunday Evenings on KANU.

redwombat 6 years, 5 months ago

Ignatus I couldn't disagree with you more. KPR is the ONLY outlet for classical music for the entire state of Kansas and western Missouri. KCUR doesn't even play half of what KPR does. KPR does a great service to myriad people who don't want to get stuck listening to only country, hip hop, top 40 and the other crap that is on every single other radio station. KPR is also available to listen to live streaming on the Internet and simply because of the large amount of classical they play they have a nationwide audience that not ony listens but pledges for the sole reason that they do play classical 6-9 hours out of the day. KPR does have some great outlets for the kind of music you want to hear. You should check out Trail Mix on Sunday afternoons. Oh, and Nashville public radio also does live streaming, so if you want to listen to that and support that pease do

On the same but different subject. It saddens me greatly to hear of KPR's decision to discontinue the rebroadcasting of Opera is My Hobby. I have personally enjoyed listening to them and having the familiar presence of the good Dr. His work for radio, for opera for this community's education is beyond measure. KPR shouldn't be getting rid of the program.

ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 5 months ago

I appreciate your perspective, but sometimes I want to hear good music in my car, on the radio. And KPR is the ONLY outlet for good hip hop (at very few times), folk music, and country -- I mean hip hop, folk, and country not dominated by the Top 40, the-same-8-songs-every-hour business model used by every other radio station. Trust me, the kind of music heard on KPR is not found elsewhere, regardless of music genre.

While I agree I can hear and support Nashville's public radio, I'd rather stick to improving my own community radio station. It's not my fault that people nationwide don't have good classic music to listen to, but that's not KPR's responsibility. KPR's responsibility is to bring KANSANS what they'd like to hear.

My suggestion isn't to retool the whole KPR lineup. It's to give classical music 9/10ths of the KPR airtime, down from 19/20ths.

Lee Saylor 6 years, 5 months ago

Obviously you are missing the 6 hours of Jazz and 6 hours of news (weekdays). That makes classical music 1/2 of the time, not 9/10th.

MarcoPogo 6 years, 5 months ago

You're both off. According to the KANU/KPR schedule, classical music makes up 1/8 of a weekday's programming (9 out of 24 hours).

ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 5 months ago

Sorry -- I meant to say this in my other comment: I love Trail Mix! It's a great show. But why should Trail Mix get air a couple of hours a week, while classical music enjoys airtime for the entire workday, during the entire workweek?

Jennifer Dropkin 6 years, 5 months ago

Frankly, I find classical music to be a relief from the backdrop of jazz, country, and pop heard everywhere else, and I am grateful that KPR airs as much classical as it does. Northeast Kansas used to have a classical radio station in KXTR out of Kansas City--but that format got booted a number of years ago. I thought that KANU/KPR picked up the slack when that happened.

Jennifer Dropkin 6 years, 5 months ago

Hmm. Why did those caps drop? I'll try again: KANU/KPR.

Jennifer Dropkin 6 years, 5 months ago

Interesting. LJW, it's not me. What's going on at your end?

ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 5 months ago

They automatically un-cap certain words to take out the GUSTO of certain COMMENTERS. Like ALSO usually makes it, but when I tried KANSANS before it didn't work.

irunsowhat 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm OK with classical music. However, there is no need for it to be played ALL DAY. Yes, I am aware the news is on until 9am, and then there are brief news breaks throughout the day until 3pm. But come on, spice it up a little.

KUNC (Northern CO) is a great example. They play several types of music that are all enjoyable to listen to. I feel like the demographic here for folk, bluegrass and other genres are more than prevalent based off the success of Trail Mix alone.

Bottom line is this: KPR needs to take a chance and change up the rotations and musical selections they are playing. Who knows, it could increase their donations from listeners...

Frank A Janzen 6 years, 5 months ago

This guy, Provost Jeff Vitter, was on the stage at KU's convocation at the Leid Center in August, and it was mentioned that he has been here in Kansas for a year or so. When he spoke, at the end of his speech, to the assembled crowd -- close to a full house -- he said, "Rock Chalk." ...anything else?! He seemed not to know that Rock Chalk is always followed by "Jayhawk, KU" This is like Brownback's out-of-staters who don't know about Kansas traditions. I hope Provost Jeff Vitter has learned a thing or two since last August.

Phillbert 6 years, 5 months ago

Um, no it isn't always followed by that. "Rock Chalk!" by itself is a common greeting.

MPod 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes, Wilt Chamberlain, after having his number retired at the Phog a few years back, finished his speech with simply "Rock Chalk!" if I remember correctly.

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