Lou Wigdor Retires After 40 Years of Writing About Isenberg - UMass News and Media Relations

Lou Wigdor Retires After 40 Years of Writing About Isenberg - UMass News and Media Relations Lou Wigdor Retires After 40 Years of Writing About Isenberg - UMass News and Media Relations Posted: 25 Feb 2021 12:13 PM PST Lou Wigdor, Isenberg marketing and communications, a well-known staff member in the Isenberg School of Management, has announced his retirement after 40 years with UMass Amherst. Wigdor has a strong interest in social science, having completed one year of an anthropology Ph.D. program at Rutgers before deciding to search for work in Amherst. "With that background, I probably had a greater tolerance for jargon," he says. "But it's diminished over the years." In the four decades since Wigdor joined Isenberg's staff, his colleagues have learned to appreciate more than just the articles and profiles he writes about. They count on him for book and music recommendations, as well as for his deep institut

Obituary for Beverly June Lobitz, Monticello, AR - Arkansas Online

"music degree online,online masters programs" - Google News

Obituary for Beverly June Lobitz, Monticello, AR - Arkansas Online

Obituary for Beverly June Lobitz, Monticello, AR - Arkansas Online

Posted: 20 Dec 2020 10:10 PM PST

Beverly June Lobitz, age 78 of Monticello, Ark., passed away December 16, 2020, at Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She was born June 20, 1942, in Leonardville, Kansas to the late Wilbur and Grace Larsen Sprecker.

She was a graduate of Kansas State University Graduate School. Beverly was a Music Professor at the University of Arkansas at Monticello with 46 years of service. She retired in 2018. Her love for people was only exceeded by her love for God, and she shared God's love daily with all the people she taught and came in contact with. She devoted her life to her students to whom she taught the art of music passionately. She loved them vigorously and encouraged them relentlessly. Beverly was a tireless servant of God and of the people he created. Her life was a testimony to God's goodness and a testament to the enormous impact she had in the lives of thousands of students and communities of southeast Arkansas.

Along with her parents, Beverly is preceded in death by her husband Lawrence "Larry" Lobitz; and a brother, Gaylen Sprecker of Kansas City. She is survived by her son, Brice Lobitz and wife Becky of New Orleans, LA; grandsons, Colton Lobitz and wife Gabby of Ponchatoula, LA and Tyler Lobitz of Baton Rouge, LA; sisters, Phyllis Nelson of Topeka, KS and Sandi Bennett of Oklahoma City, OK; a brother, Boyd Sprecker of Oklahoma City, OK; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and students that loved her dearly. Visitation will be at Stephenson-Dearman Chapel Tuesday, December 22, 2020, 12:00-3:00 p.m., with graveside service at 3:00 p.m. in the Oakland Cemetery. Online guestbook at www.stephensondearman.com.

Published December 21, 2020

P O Box 506, Monticello, AR
Find it at: Hwy 425 N.
E-mail: sdearman@ccc-cable.net
Phone: 870-367-2451

Our Rich History: The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky 'Christmas Top Ten,' music and media moments - User-generated content

Posted: 20 Dec 2020 10:10 PM PST

By John Schlipp
Special to NKyTribune

A number of Christmas tunes and holiday-themed movies are tied to personalities and places of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region. Some examples are classics, while others are more contemporary. No matter what time period, this "top ten" list should kindle some tender memories of Cincinnati Christmases past. Of course, this is by no means a comprehensive listing. Rather, the subsequent assortment of memories is merely offered as a "virtual gathering," intended to spread season's greetings, to reflect on numerous luminary ornaments of our region, and to enjoy a wonderful holiday and a happy New Year.

"Sing The Queen City" sign at the popular entertainment and sports zone called the "The Banks" of Cincinnati. (Photo by John Schlipp, 2020.)

#10: The legendary KING Records of Cincinnati in 1959 released an anthology long-play album entitled Merry Christmas. Reissued last year in vinyl format, the KING series 680 album includes notable R&B artists such as singer and saxophonist Bull Moose Jackson performing "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and famous pianist and organist Bill Doggett playing "Winter Wonderland." The KING compilation also contains country singer Cowboy Copas performing "Jingle Bells," WLW television vocalist Ruby Wright performing "Santa's Little Sleigh Bells," and little eight-year-old Joe Ward's rendering of "Nuttin' for Christmas." Public radio WVXU of Cincinnati broadcasted "A King Records Christmas," hosted by Lee Hay in 2016. This special edition Around Cincinnati program features an hour of KING Record holiday gems ranging from R&B to Country tunes.

#9: "Oh Santa!" a contemporary song by Mariah Carey from 2010 was revised for use in her Hallmark Channel holiday movie entitled A Christmas Melody (preliminary working title Mistletoe & Melody). The film featured the Wyoming, Hyde Park, and Mount Lookout suburbs of Cincinnati as backdrops. Cincinnati landmarks included many Wyoming retail shops, Kilgour Elementary School in Mt. Lookout, and a few local homes. See John Kiesewetter's story at WVXU for images of selected Cincinnati backdrops.

The plot of A Christmas Melody presents a single mother (Lacey Chabert) moving back to her Ohio hometown (fictional Silver Falls), with her daughter (Fina Strazza). A music teacher (Brennan Elliot) assists her daughter in composing her own original lyrics to a finale tune for a community Snowflake Pageant. Drew Lachey (98 Degrees), and his wife Lea, trained young local backup performers for the pageant stage scenes. Despite its cliché "star is born" sentimentality, the film delights one's holiday entertainment appetite. It attracted nearly four million viewers for its premiere airing on the Hallmark Channel on December 19, 2015.

KING Records 45-rpm original record label of "Please Come Home for Christmas," by Charles Brown, 1960. (Provided)

#8: Considered by many as one of the most enduring animated holiday films, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, features a haunting theme song tied to Cincinnati talent. The original 1966 television cartoon is based upon the Dr. Seuss 1957 children's book of the same name. The theme song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," was composed by Albert Hague, a University of Cincinnati graduate. The lyrics were written by Theodor "Dr. Suess" Geisel, with vocals by Thurl Ravenscroft for the original television soundtrack of 1966. The soundtrack recording won the Grammy Award® for Best Album for Children. This enduring holiday classic has prompted numerous derivatives including a live action film, a stage musical, and a contemporary computer-animated film.

#7: Cincinnatian Nick Lachey and his vocal group 98 Degrees' holiday recording of "This Gift," adds another musical ornament to the regional Christmas tree of memorable melodies. A further tuneful holiday trimming includes the 2007 joyful choral performance of "All I Want for Christmas," sung by Team Cincinnati, directed by Lachey, for the Clash of the Choirs on NBC television. MTV News favorably compared Team Cincinnati to its choir challengers, claiming the Cincinnati singers were "more inventive and worked together better as a group." Director Lachey and the team's choirmaster, Dr. Steve Zegree, determined early on that their group had to demonstrate its versatility to truly compete. Its captivating a cappella performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble Bee," proved this, as it was the highpoint routine on Clash of the Choirs. Hear this phenomenal performance here.

The Cincinnati and Kentucky Post headlines of December 21, 2007 declared "We Win! Team Cincinnati, Lachey Brings Home the Trophy." The choir donated its $250,000 first prize winnings to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The Post referred to Lachey's choral group as "America's ultimate choir." The group won first place, as decided by public votes after four nights of live performances. Competitor choirs included Patti LaBelle's of Philadelphia, PA, Blake Shelton's of Ada, OK, Michael Bolton's of New Haven, CT, and Kelly Rowland's of Houston, TX. Such a coup for Team Cincinnati amplified support for Cincinnati hosting the World Choir Games in 2012. It was the first time the World Choir Games were staged in the United States. Recognized as "The City That Sings," a CincinnatiSings competition produced by ArtsWave is now a recurring regional corporate choir competition acknowledged as a national model for employee engagement by the Americans for the Arts.

#6: Earl Hamner's The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971) was a made-for-television movie. Hamner is most famously remembered as creator, producer, and narrator of the iconic, Emmy Award-winning television series, The Waltons. He graduated from the College of Music's broadcast department at the University of Cincinnati in 1948. Soon Hamner served as a writer at WLW radio before shuffling off to work in New York during the dawn of network television. His 1961 novel Spencer's Mountain, about his Appalachian family roots, inspired him to publish a sequel, The Homecoming, in 1970. The following year the sequel was adapted into a holiday movie for television, leading to the successful run of The Waltons television series from 1972 through 1981.

Ruth Lyons, original album cover of Ten Tunes of Christmas, 1958. (Provided.)

The original Homecoming movie is set on Christmas Eve 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. John Walton, the family's father, is forced to work far away from home, and the family worries whether or not he will make it home in time for Christmas. This sentimental drama introduced the familiar Walton characters that television viewers would admire throughout the 1970s. Hamner's WLW radio days in Cincinnati may be reflective as the radio played a significant role in many of the Walton scenarios, including the prominence of a radio set visually featured in the opening theme credits of the television series.

#5: The first time most folks recall hearing the melancholy "Please Come Home for Christmas," was likely the popular recording covered by the country rock band, the Eagles, in 1978. It was a wonderful surprise for me to learn years later that this R&B Christmas song was first recorded at KING Records in Cincinnati by Texas Blues singer/pianist, Tony Russell "Charles" Brown (1922-1999). Brown cowrote the song in 1960 with KING Records A&R (Artists and Repertoire) producer Gene Redd. While Charles Brown was performing at a club in Newport, Kentucky, the owner of KING Records, Sydney Nathan, asked Brown to compose a Christmas song similar to his earlier performances of "Merry Christmas Baby," composed by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore.

Initially "Please Come Home for Christmas" was a moderate holiday success in 1960, although it was more popular in Brown's home region of east Texas and nearby Louisiana. Eventually Brown's record went gold in 1968, selling a million copies and hit number one on the national Christmas singles chart in 1972. After the Eagles picked up the tune in 1978, it became an international sensation, soon covered by the likes of Bon Jovi, Willie Nelson, Mariah Carey, and Harry Connick, Jr. Moreover, the group 98 Degrees recorded it for their Christmas album entitled Let It Snow. "Please Come Home of Christmas" has also been commonly named "Bells Will Be Ringing," reflecting the church bell identifying tone (produced with tubular bells) often played at the start of many renditions. According to HipHopChristmas.com, Charles Brown is "the unofficial but undisputed king of hip Christmas music…whether praising his lover or lamenting his loneliness." Brown will always be remembered for his "Please Come Home for Christmas," inspired during his tenure in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Rosemary Clooney and costar Vera-Ellen, wardrobe test photo from White Christmas (1954). Courtesy of: http://www.rosemaryclooney.com/filmography/whitechristmas/

#4: Ruth Lyon's Christmas songs (such as "Let's Light the Christmas Tree," performed by Ruby Wright), as well as her philanthropic Ruth Lyons Children's Fund, continue to brighten the region's holidays. Ruth Lyons (1905-1988), a Cincinnati institution as a pioneer radio and television legend, invented candid daytime talk television with her 50-50 Club (1949-1967). The program attracted an audience of up to seven million via four WLW television stations, as well as WLW radio simulcasts. The midday talk program content was aimed at women homemakers while featuring Lyon's original songs performed on her broadcasts, often by her superb singing company including soprano Marianne Spellman, country singer Bonnie Lou, pop songster Ruby Wright, and entertainer Bob Braun of Ludlow, Kentucky.

Throughout the years, over $22 million in donations to the Ruth Lyons Children's Fund brightened the stays of children at numerous regional hospitals with personal gifts, cheerful decorations, playrooms and activity centers with books, computer games, and toys. Learn more about Ruth Lyons here.

#3: A Christmas Story (1983) is a classic holiday satire, written and narrated by Jean Shepherd, a broadcast personality at Cincinnati radio (including WLW) and television stations between 1947 and 1954. Perhaps it's no coincidence that Shepherd's dark humor storyline of a young boy's small-town Christmas feels much like Midwest Cincinnati, as he was raised in Hammond, Indiana. A Christmas Story has become an amusing cult classic, as its stories are often compared with our own childhood holiday memories. New York Post columnist Lou Lumenick offers a revealing interview with Jean Shepherd and how his story "almost didn't get told" here.

#2: Rosemary Clooney (1928-2002) and Vera-Ellen (1921-1981), both leading ladies from the region, starred in the perennial Paramount movie musical White Christmas (1954) featuring an Irving Berlin score. Singer Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, spending her later teen years in Cincinnati, while dancer Vera-Ellen hailed from Norwood, Ohio. Rosemary sang with Bing Crosby, while Vera danced with Danny Kaye in White Christmas. Besides the classic title song "White Christmas," originally issued a decade earlier during World War II, Rosemary and Bing introduced a new Berlin ballad "Counting Your Blessings" which became a holiday favorite. Moreover, the storyline of the film is not entirely fictional, as it mimicked the real life story of the sisters Rosemary and Betty Clooney who got their start on WLW radio in the 1940s. Read more here.

Original 1934 sheet music cover of "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town," with lyrics by Haven Gillespie. Provided.

#1: Haven Gillespie's timeless lyrics to "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1934)," with music by J. Fred Coots, is the unanimous Cincinnati yuletide champion. It is the most enduring holiday family classic from the region. In 2016, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) claimed "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" as the most-played holiday song of the past half century. This seasonal standard has been recorded by hundreds of entertainers including Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, Neil Diamond, Bruce Springsteen, and Michael Bublé.

The lyricist of this now eternal Christmastime tradition was born in 1888 in Covington, Kentucky. With only a fourth-grade education, Haven became a printing apprentice, first in Chicago, and later returning to Covington to work as a typesetter for the Cincinnati Times–Star. Gillespie started writing ragtime and patriotic refrains before he advanced to Tin Pan Alley in the early 1920s. His timely tunes buoyed the nation through the Great Depression, World War II and beyond, including such songs as "Drifting and Dreaming (1925)," "Breezin' Along with the Breeze (1926)," "You Go to My Head (1938)," "The Old Master Painter (1949)," and "That Lucky Old Sun (1949)." Fellow Kentuckian Rosemary Clooney reprised one of his earliest tunes from 1923, "You're in Kentucky (Sure as You're Born)," orchestrated by Nelson Riddle for her Rosemary Clooney Show on television in the late 1950s. Clooney often performed "You're in Kentucky" during her renaissance period of live concert tours. For more about Haven Gillespie and his career, see a recent public television KET mini-documentary clip here.

Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have significantly contributed to our festive Christmastime culture through music and stories revisited every year. We offer a virtual holiday toast to our readers and their families and friends. Have a safe and healthy New Year!

John Schlipp is an Intellectual Property Librarian and Professor of Library Science at W. Frank Steely Library at Northern Kentucky University (NKU). He is the manager of the regional IPAC (Intellectual Property Awareness Cooperative). The IPAC supports the region's two designated PTRCs (Patent & Trademark Resource Centers) of Cincinnati and Kentucky including the Cincinnati Public Library and Steely Library's Digital Scholarship & Communications service at NKU Both PTRCs represent the US Patent & Trademark Office. PTRCs offers free assistance to everyone from inventors to musicians, to help one understand and utilize patents, trademarks, copyrights, and more.

We want to learn more about the history of your business, church, school, or organization in our region (Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and along the Ohio River). If you would like to share your rich history with others, please contact the editor of "Our Rich History," Paul A. Tenkotte, at tenkottep@nku.edu. Paul A. Tenkotte, PhD is Professor of History at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) and the author of many books and articles.


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